Depending on what treatment you are undergoing, you need to know your skin is going to change & therefore what you do to your skin needs to be revised as well.
It is recommended not to use soap or detergents on your skin during treatments (I support never using these on healthy or challenged skin), as according to research from the US [i] these will break down your barrier function.
I can hear you saying “my what” – let me explain from the beginning. Waterproof, stretchable, adjusts to internal and external temperature changes, washable, repeatedly & routinely repairs cuts, burns and tears – amazing huh, welcome to YOUR skin.
Your barrier function (also known as your hydrolipidic film and acid mantle) is an invisible viscous fluid, it maintains and protects the overall health of skin and hair. It is comprised of > Sebum is secreted by our sebaceous glands and this oily substance is our skin’s own moisturiser. > A salty watery mixture is secreted by our sweat glands. > Skins’ microbiome secretions (skin[ii] microbiome refers to the microorganisms which reside on the skin. Many of them are bacteria of which there are around 1000 species). These together form your skins barrier function and it has a pH level ranging from 4.5–6.2 pH, [iii]slightly acidic and acts as a barrier to bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants which may penetrate the skin.
Our skins pH, barrier function and microbiome are magnificently and powerfully connected – so it makes sense illness, medical treatments, pollutants, pathogens, detergents, soaps, cleansers (I could go on and on here) can affect the critical work our barrier does in and on our skin. It also makes sense we need to preserve or do our absolute and very best to preserve your barrier function from diagnosis, through treatment and recovery. It is ALL about your barrier.
Read more at Anticancer Drug Agents & your skin, Radiation Damaged Skin and Oncologic Surgery (hyperlink these titles please)
[i] “Effects of soap and detergents on skin surface pH, stratum corneum hydration and fat content” by the Department of Pediatrics, University of Vienna, School of Medicine, Austria. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9407174 (accessed October 12 2017).
Be strong / Be kind / Be yourself