Guest Blog | Radiotherapy Skin Care
Jasmin is the proud creator of Jasmin Jones Skincare to help with the effects of radiotherapy. Jasmin is an experienced Therapeutic Radiographer with a BSc in Radiotherapy and Oncology and has also gained an MSc level in Healthcare Leadership and Management. Jasmin shares with us how and why she developed her own radiotherapy skincare range as well as providing us with some tips on how we can look after our skin during radiotherapy treatment.
Introducing Jasmin Jones
I am a Therapy Radiographer. I treat radiotherapy for cancer patients, but radiotherapy can also be given for non-cancerous or benign treatments too. I first came across radiotherapy in school at a careers evening, it was the healthcare avenue I was looking for, caring, rewarding, and yet technical too. I started this career over a decade ago, and soon realised my patients were coming in using the incorrect skin care, or worse using products that would worsen their side effects and I'll go into this in detail further on.
Radiotherapy is an accumulative treatment, meaning it can take a week to two weeks to have any side effects, if any at all. However because of this build up it can take time for the body to recover once you have finished treatment.
How radiotherapy can affect the skin?
Radiotherapy related burns or dermatitis can happen during your radiotherapy treatment, however it does depend on the area that is being treated and the type of treatment you are having. Your Therapy Radiographer will guide you with this.
Erythema - is the pinkening of the skin and this is one of the first stages of a radiation burn - similar to sun burn. A patient can moisturise this area, to encourage the skin to keep nice and supple and to minimise breakage, which in turn may increase infection.
Dry Desquamation - is when the skin starts to break and this is more likely to happen near the neck area or folds of skin where there is heat and friction which increases skin breakages. This is where you will need a barrier cream.
Which products to avoid during radiotherapy?
During treatment individuals aren’t able to use certain products which can be quite rich, thick and heavy. Examples are:
- Imperial Leather
The reason being, it can trick the machine into thinking there’s an extra layer of skin there due to the thickness or the ingredients in the product itself.
Why are thick creams a problem during radiotherapy?
If you trick the machine into thinking there’s an extra layer of skin, it can increase your side effects and worsen the stages of a radiation burn. In a nutshell, the machines we work with are Linear Accelerators. They use high energy X-rays to treat a targeted volume. It is radiation that has been created from an electromagnetic spectrum to then hit a tungsten target, which creates high energy X-rays. It treats the specific area that needs to be treated and we give a small dose each time, sometimes over a number of weeks.
The radiation treatment you will receive depends on your diagnosis and the stage and grade of tumour, (some cancer’s may have been removed by then). We create a treatment plan specifically for each patient.
Skincare products specifically for radiotherapy treatment.
As I mentioned earlier, many patients come in for treatment using incorrect products and we have to tell them to stop using them. It was this moment I had an epiphany to start my skin care, from the knowledge I had learnt.
The skin can be highly affected by radiation. The reason for this is the skin has a high turnover rate, meaning the cells are constantly evolving. It is because of this sensitivity that radiation affects the epithelial cells at a very fast rate. However it is also because of this the skin can also recover well and may only take a few weeks to heal.
Radiographer and Dermatologist partnership
I partnered up with a dermatologist in the North East of England, and I knew what ingredients to use, and knew how to use them. I just needed a skin care range for our patients.
From the beginning the ingredients had to be simple, no jargon or no elongated words, no one needs this complication in their life. We set about creating a different range and I came up with our original 3 products: Aloe Vera Body Lotion, Blackcurrant Daily Hand Lotion and Conditioning Lip Balm.
How do Jasmin Jones products help with radiotherapy?
Our Jasmin Jones cream has been designed specifically for individuals going through radiotherapy treatment and can soothe and hydrate highly aggravated skin. All of our product ingredients have been carefully selected;
- Water - a simple ingredient to hydrate and to keep the skin supple and clean.
- Blackcurrant also has soothing properties - for high turnover cells such as use on the hands.
Having been designed by healthcare professionals, a Therapy Radiographer alongside a Dermatologist, I have been able to carefully pick ingredients that don’t get aggravated by radiation or chemotherapy. After years of research, we are pleased with our small range which is suitable for all the family as well as highly radiated skin.
With all the work healthcare workers do, Jasmin Jones gives a percentage of the profits back to local charities, such as Force and Cardigan Cancer Care.
CancerPal Care Boxes
At CancerPal we carefully select products that are specifically designed to support cancer patients and are working in partnership with Jasmin Jones to include her body lotion in some of our new range of carefully curated radiotherapy Care Boxes.
If yourself or a loved one are going through chemotherapy or radiotherapy, Jasmin Jones skincare products could help. We also offer a wide range of additional products to help ease the awful side effects of cancer treatment in the CancerPal Marketplace as well as a range of Care Boxes full of products to help manage the side effects of cancer treatment.
For further information about Jasmin Jones products, please visit her website www.jasminjones.co.uk Jasmin can also be found on Twitter @jasminjonesCol1 and Facebook @jasminjonesltd and Instagram @jasminjonescollection
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