Chemo Skin
  • Chemo Skin happens to some patients as they undergo treatment for cancer
  • Chemo skin manifests itself as dry, sore, sensitive, itchy sometimes flaking skin

Chemo Skin

We know all about chemo skin-do you? Patients know to expect nausea and possibly hair loss as chemotherapy side-effects but it seems that they are rarely told about the impact that chemotherapy and the side-effects of chemotherapy have on their skin and nails. Chemo skin doesn't happen to all going through treatment for cancer but it happens to enough for skin care for cancer patients to be an important part of overall care.

Chemo Skin

There are many changes that occur during chemotherapy and skin changes are the one that women talk to us about most often.  Chemo skin occurs during treatment and manifests itself as dry, sore, sensitive and itchy skin. Other skin conditions such as ‘radiation recall’ rashes may occur long after chemotherapy has ended.

What is Chemo Skin?

Chemotherapy drugs target fast replicating cells as tumours grow rapidly and chemo drugs kill the tumour cells. However, skin, nail, lip, hair and digestive system cells are also fast replicating cells. Many chemo drugs cannot distinguish between tumour cells and other fast replicating cells and so attack all, sometimes leading to issues with skin, hair, nails and digestive tract health.

What can you do about it?

As the chemo skin arises as a side-effect of treatment for cancer, little can be done to prevent it. However, many things can be done to mitigate the effects. Soothing, moisturising natural oils and balms are reported to stop itching and moisturise sore, dry skin. Products containing Calendula have been found to improve moderate to severe dermatitis1

Chemo Gal tells us more about the side-effects of cancer treatment and gives some ideas about what to do about them.

chemo skin, chemo skin solutions, radiation damaged skin, mouth ulcers during chemo, nail damage during chemo, cancer treatment and damage to nails, hair loss during chemo


Defiant Beauty

Defiant Beauty is a complete skincare range, including products for facescalp and body. Cancer treatment can result in dry, sensitive, flaking and itchy skin. One client under-going treatment for Ovarian Cancer told us that every time she got undressed there was a big shower of flaking skin. She described it as her whole body having dandruff. She also told us that the itching was driving her mad. We recommended Defiant Beauty Itchy Skin Oil and Defiant Beauty Smooth Skin Balm. Both soothe and moisturise the skin, our clients tell us that itchy skin becomes a thing of the past. So many clients have vividly described the symptoms of their chemo skin

'it was like my whole body being covered in a nettle rash that was under the skin. I didn't have it all of the time and never knew when it would start. I desperately wanted something to stop the itching and soothe my skin'. SW Wolverhampton

I was thrilled to receive my little pack of goodies when I got home from work today and immediately hot-footed it round to my sister's house. C was diagnosed with breast cancer about 8 weeks ago and is having some aggressive chemo. She often neglects her skin so I really wanted her to try your products so that she can feel the best she can, even on the dark days.

We were both really impressed with the nail serum but the immediate big hit was the Itchy Skin Oil. C had been wearing her wig all day and was scratching away at her scalp when I arrived. A few drops of Itchy Skin Oil brought immediate relief! SF Cheshire

Defiant Beauty by Jennifer Young is a specialist skin care range developed for cancer patients as they go through treatment for cancer. Often chemotherapy and radiotherapy damage the skin making it sore, sensitive dry and itchy. Our skin care advice for patients is evidence based and fully referenced.

We listened to cancer patients, cancer survivors and cancer care specialists when they told us about 'chemo skin' as a side effect of cancer treatment. We took advice from lead nursing staff about the ingredients that we shouldn't use, we did lots of research about the best ingredients to use and we tried and tried our products. We asked others to try them and we listened when we were told about the very special and very specific skin care needs of those under-going treatment for cancer. 


  1. Thomas, R., 2011. Lifestyle and Cancer The Facts: Learn how to live stronger for longer. 2nd ed. s.l.: Health Education Publications, p. 210.

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