Skin and Nail Changes

Let your physician or nurse know if:

  • Your skin is itchy, dry, red, or hurts.
  • Your nails are dark, yellow, or cracked.

For minor skin problems:

  • Be careful what you put on your skin.
  • Use only mild soaps that are gentle on your skin.
  • Use lotions and creams. Ask your nurse when to use them.
  • Don’t use products on your skin that have alcohol or perfume in them.

Ask what products or brands you should use on your skin.

Protect your skin from the sun.

  • Try to stay out of the sun.
  • When you are outside, always wear sunscreen and lip balm. Or wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a hat with a wide brim outdoors.
  • Don’t use tanning beds.

Treat your skin gently.

  • It may help to take short showers or baths in warm water. Don’t take long baths in hot water. Pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it.
  • Dusting your skin with cornstarch may help. Put it in the folds of your skins such as under your arms, behind your knees and under your breasts.
  • Shave less often, or stop shaving if your skin is sore.
  • Skin changes, such as darkening, may be seen during radiation. Your TCI care team may suggest you use aloe vera gel or provide you with another cream if you experience any sores on your skin.

For minor nail problems:

  • Keep your nails clean and cut short. Check with your nurse before you get a manicure.
  • Wear gloves when you wash the dishes, work in the garden, or clean the house.
  • Check with your nurse for products that can help your nails.

Call your TCI care provider if:

• You develop sudden or severe itching

• Your skin has a rash or hives

Questions to ask your TCI care team:

  1. What problems should I call you about?
  2. What brands of soap and lotion are best for me to use?
  3. What should the SPF (sun protection factor) be in the sunscreen and lip balm that I use?
  4. Would a special oatmeal bath help my skin itch less?
  5. What products can help my nails?
  6. When will these problems go away?
  7. After treatment, how much longer will I need to use sunscreen? 

“I was glad to learn that most skin and nail problems go away after treatment. For now, my nurse told me about a lotion, to help my skin feel better.”