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Topic: Skin Cream during radiation

Forum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During, and After —

What to expect from treatment and ways to cope with side effects.

Posted on: Jul 27, 2007 08:21PM

CarrieDee wrote:

Figured I would post this as a separate topic so people wouldn't have to dig to find out the information.

What was the best cream/gel used during radiation?

I was just given a sample of Radiogel- has anyone used this?

I tried the Aquaphor and found it sticky and my skin actually felt more itchy after I applied it.

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Oct 15, 2007 11:21PM SandiBeach57 wrote:

Hello CarrieDee,

I am two weeks out from 28 radiation treatments to left chest wall/axillary nodes with mastectomy. I started with radiogel and was monitored daily for skin changes. It provided good moisture to my skin. I also supplemented with the gel from the aloe vera plant.

When my skin started to "weep", I was switched to Biafine. At the end of treatments, my skin was red and was moist - but no significant pain and it looked like a bad sunburn. One week after completion of treatments - everything became worse. I had huge ulcerated areas, raw exposed skin, yellow-green mucosy drainage, terrible pain. (My daughter said it looked like a big red stop sign!). I was switched to vaseoline covered sterile gauze and Telfa nonadhesive pads and prescribed Tylenol 3.  After one week, the damage has peaked and I have switched back to Biafine with nonadhesive pads. Throughout this whole process, I did expose my skin to the air when possible and washed very gently. 

It does get  better and I hope you find the best skin treatments for you.


DCIS 2006, 2007, bil Mx, rad, tamox, ER+PR+, grade 3. STAGE IV 2016 liver mets, pulm tumor emboli, IDC, ER+PR-, Her2- (1+IHC), grade 3, AC to IL. 2020 progression, liver mets, IDC, ER+PR+, Her2- (0 IHC), grade 3, Xeloda
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May 30, 2008 04:29AM darah58 wrote:

Hi there,

I know that some of it was just luck, but my skin held up very well through the 30 treatments.  It looked red at the end of six weeks, but that was about it.  I used calendula cream 3/4 times daily (but never less than four hours before tx).  I got mine at Whole Foods markets, but you can also find it online.  I used NatureWorks and Boiron -- they both worked well, it was a question of which was available.  Good luck!


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Jun 28, 2008 02:03PM therese71 wrote:

Hi Theresa,

I am interested in trying the cream from Hungary.  I just started radiation on Wed (3 treatments to date) and am already feeling some heat and my nipple is very tender.  I am only using aloe vera.

Please share how I can get ahold of this cream!

Thanks so much,


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Jul 13, 2008 05:35AM Lucky wrote:

Hello everyone

I am halfway through 33 radiation treatments.  My radiation started just 3 1/2 weeks after having bilateral  mastectomys, so I am also still healing from that!  I have not "bonded" with my radialogist as I have with my surgeon and oncoligist so I dont get much feedback from her when I have questions or concerns.  Unfortunately I have always been a sun lover and now am finding that I cannot be in the sun at all....even with my chest covered I start to itch....doesnt help that where I work most time I am not in airconditioning so I sweat.  My radiologist has advised that I can ONLY use aquafor...but it is greasy and sticky and the petroleom base worries me. I am just starting to turn red and my chest has broken out.  I am really worried about burning and blistering as this will affect my wearing a bra ( with those "damn" fake boobs which remind my of the old stretch armstrong dolls from the 80s) and what permenant damage will happen to my skin.  I am looking forward to any help or advise from those of you that have already been through this radiation process and what you did to help yourselves.  Hindsite is a wonderful thing!!

Thanks in advance 

Lucky! Dx 7/5/2007, 5cm, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 15, 2008 01:14PM joni424 wrote:


My mom has just started a 33 session long treatment therapy. Her rad onccolgist is giving us free samples of Aquaphor to take but I'm worried that it's not the right option. She has major sutures that can't be broken open. I would be very interested in trying the cream that you have used. Could you give me some info on getting this asap? I hope you are doing well and so appreciate all of the advice. Doctors can be very cold sometimes. Thanks, Joni

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Jul 15, 2008 02:14PM billiegirl wrote:

This will sound crazy and would not be recommended by MDs. My burns were horrible! Being a retired nurse, I KNOW I broke every rule in "the book", but I tried doing what I was told...which was to use Aquafor or keep the area clean and dry. Phooy! I had exit burns on my neck and back and open, oozing raw blisters  from the neck to belly in front and under my arms and down my sides for 3 months!!! Burns were so bad that they had to stop radiation 1 treatmeant earlier than plan. I made a concotion of the Green Banana Boat Sunburn relief gel(poured out of spray bottle), a big glob of antibiotic ointment and a gob of Diaperine Baby Diaper Ointment. Stired it up in a clean jar and slathered over my burns (took Vicodan or tylenol 1/2 hr before.Covered each open area with a vaseline dressing that I got from radiation onc.) Then wore a clean camisole and let it stick to me.. I had 3  camisoles for the purpose that I washed daily with a little bleach  in the wash and then dried them in the dryer. Pain was unbelievable for the 1st 5 min  after application but it always got better because the Banana Boat had a numbing agent. Never got any infection and eventually healed up, much to my surprise. Its been 3 1/2 years and I hardly even have scars! I know my Onc would have "locked" me up if he'd known what I was doing!    Billiegirl
Billiegirl Dx 9/21/2004, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 31/31 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 26, 2008 03:53AM az8n wrote:

I have 12 days to go for my IMRT. 

From 3 yrs ago, I have been using Renew from Melaleuca company and so far I am doing good, skin-wise.  On the consultation day, I asked what the doctor would recommend, if any, in terms of creams.  Response was none so I continued with Renew. 

My doctor saw some redness just last week but no blisters.  No pain on the outside but I can feel occassional pain from the inside (more like shooting pain - doctor said, it was normal to feel that).

On a different occassion, I asked the nurse what cream they suggest but she said nothing in particular, use what you have been accustomed to but to avoid putting anything 4 hrs prior to rads.

I asked about Aquaphor but did not really say that she recommended it, even the rad oncologist.

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Jul 26, 2008 04:05AM irishdreama wrote:

I used plain old aloe vera gel, and my PS said she's never seen anyone's skin look so good so soon after radiation. But everyone's body responds differently to everything!

Chemotherapy 1/27/2007 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 7/25/2007 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Radiation Therapy 9/4/2007 Dx 12/22/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 4/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/1/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 3/1/2012 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 7/23/2012 Lymph nodes Radiation Therapy
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Jul 26, 2008 04:14AM snowyday wrote:

Used the clear 100% Aloe Vera Gel, felt really cooling and worked well.

PN Dx 5/24/2007, ILC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 26, 2008 04:28AM donnajrn wrote:

I am 19 treatments in and have no redness, sometimes it is a little pink just after the treatment but by the next morning it is normal.  I used udder cream from the start (I know it sounds weird--wait til you read the jar!) and when I started to see some pinkness I put calendula cream on before dressing.(kept a small container in my purse)  The radiologist was very pleased with how good my skin looks.  I also made sure I drank lots of water, I read somewhere that your skin does much better when you are well hydrated.

I agree, each person needs to find the right formula for them.  Looks like there are a lot of options.


Dx 4/1/2008, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Oct 31, 2008 03:29AM Jo_Ann_K wrote:

Someone posted to use "Alra"  so I bought the deodorant and gel since it was made specifically to prevent radiation side effects.  The deodorant is made with all natural ingredients and has no metals in it. It seems to be working. 

The Alra lotion was created by a dermatologist whose wife went through radiation.  It is supposedly highly recommended by MD Anderson Hospital.  I bought it on and it arrived in 5 days. I'm supposed to use it right after treatment and two other times a day.  I'll let you know if it works, but I can't imagine that it won't.

The cost was very reasonable as well.


Jo Ann from Maryland Dx 9/5/2008, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+ Surgery 10/1/2008 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 10/22/2008 Breast Hormonal Therapy 1/9/2009
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Nov 20, 2008 11:16AM Northstar wrote:

This is all really helpful, since I'm only on day 3 of radiation and have 30 left!   I have had suggestions from many people of a lot of different things and I bought the following, hoping one or all will work:   Aquaphor, Calendula lotion/oil (Boiron was recommended), Palmer's Cocoa Butter Lotion, Emu oil, and almond oil.    I told my radiation oncologist that I was really worried about the burn, so she is very conscious of it.   She said we could take a break for a few days if necessary. 

The nurse said I should put it on when I come home, before bed (I use the Aquaphor then), and as soon as I get up (my appt. is at 2:15, and she said the lotion should go on six hours or more before it). 

I have been not using soap on that side when I shower, but may switch to baths if necessary. 

DX 8/15/08, ILC, 5.1 cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, Oncotype DX 11.
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Nov 20, 2008 01:07PM Jo_Ann_K wrote:

Today was the 14th treatment. My skin is very light and from the first day of radiation, my breast skin turned pink. However, the ALRA cream applied immediately after the treatment, after my morning shower, and before bed at night has been a miracle.  My skin is soft and intact. I'm using ALRA deodorant on that side too, which seems to be working and is keeping the tender underarm skin intact as well. I've been using Dove soap, unscented, and it's kept my skin moist as well.  All these things add up. Dx 9/5/2008, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+ Surgery 10/1/2008 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 10/22/2008 Breast Hormonal Therapy 1/9/2009
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Nov 21, 2008 12:36AM Westie wrote:

Had 25 rads and 2 'boosts' so far.  Use a cream called Glaxall, recommend by rad techs.  Chest looks like a bad sun burn with the odd blister--no pain.

Dx 3/22/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 0/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 27, 2008 01:57AM Westie wrote:

Looks like you are selling something on these boards...I don't feel good about that.

Dx 3/22/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 0/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 6, 2008 12:51AM srissman wrote:

I have new silicone implants but have to have have radiation because they found residual DCIS during my exchange surgery.  Anybody out there experienced rads with implants?  susie

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Dec 8, 2008 06:16PM - edited Dec 8, 2008 06:16PM by rickster

I have just completed one week of radiation with no major side effects or problems.  When I met with the nurse the first day of treatment, she recommended that I get a special cream designed specifically for radiation patients called Miaderm (it contains both calendula and aloe vera, please see more at  This cream was developed by radiation oncologists specifically for patients undergoing radiation to minimize side effects and promote healing. It costs about $25 per 4oz tube from them, but my doctor made arrangements with one of the Walgreen's pharmacies in Bellevue WA to stock some for his patients (they also sell it for about $25 per tube).  I am not trying to sell this and am too new to the process to comment on its effectiveness, however, since no one had mentioned it, I thought I would throw it out.  It is recommended that you use it 3 - 4 times per day, and can use it up to three hours prior to treatment (my nurse advised that if you order 3 tubes, they will ship it for free and estimated that a woman would likely go thru 3 tubes during their radiation treatment).  So far, I have been applying it in the early morning, then take my tube with me and apply it immediately after treatment and then re-apply it prior to going to bed. 

If anyone else has used this or heard of its effectiveness, I would be interested in hearing your comments. For those that are looking for something to try, I hope this might prove to be a good option for you.

 Wishing you all the very best!  Rickster

Rickster Dx 7/8/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/4/2008 Lumpectomy: Left Chemotherapy 9/1/2008 TAC Radiation Therapy 11/15/2008 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 1/5/2009 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Dec 9, 2008 06:26AM Tucheta wrote:

I am half way through radiation and no major problems with my veeeery light skin. I am using a Calendula cream from Aboca (an Italian company) immediately after each treatment, and emu oil twice per day (once when I get home from work and once before going to bed). 

The Calendula cream from Aboca is an organic ointment including St John's wort oil, Jojoba oil and Aloe vera gel. Here is a link:

But probably any Calendula cream has the same effects.

I like both this calendula cream and the emu oil because they are not greasy or sticky, they are quickly absorbed and don't damage my clothes.  

Dx 1/8/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 2/13 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Dec 9, 2008 06:40AM jpalmer wrote:


I have implants and I am a little more than half way through my radiation treatments. My skin is doing well. I use My Girls Radiation Cream. IT is an all natural calendula based cream which was formulated to protect the skin during radiation. My doctor and nurse are happy with the way my skin is holding up. I get Bolis, which is plastic sheet that is placed over the breast to draw the radiation dose closer to the skin. My skin is slightly red now that I am at this point in the treatment cycle. With Bolis, that is common. The team thinks my skin looks really good. You can order the cream online. It is It is approx $25 for a good sized jar.

I have one tip, don't forget to apply cream under your armpit as well as over your shoulder. I was focusing on my "boob" and neck area, but these were starting to get red and itchy. Now that I am using the cream there, it is much better.

Good luck!

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Dec 9, 2008 11:26AM lisettemac wrote:

I used Weleda Calendula lotion, provided by the radiation doc's office.  Here is a link:

I hated the smell of it!  Yell

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Dec 12, 2008 01:12PM Northstar wrote:

I had a bilateral mastectomy on Sept. 5 and started radiation on Nov. 17.  I've had 18 treatments so far, and will have a total of 28, plus 5 boosts at the end.   At this point I have a slight burn, but not much, and I'm hoping it won't get too much worse.    This is what I've found works (for me at least):

--Start moisturizing a few days before treatments begin.

--Use Aquaphor at night and one of the following the other two times during the day (for a total of three times, about 8 hours apart):  cocoa butter cream, emu oil, almond oil, calendula cream or ointment. 

--I scheduled my appointment at 2:15 in the afternoon, so that I could put on moisturizer as soon as I got up and that would be at least six hours before treament, as they recommended.   

--Before I got dressed after the treatment, I used moisturizer.

--Before bed, I put on a heavy layer of Aquaphor and put a t-shirt I didn't care about over it.  Aquaphor messes up your clothing, so I'm wearing it only at night unless my skin gets a lot worse.

--When I showered at night, only every three days, and put on a heavy layer of Aquaphor.   Then I stood with my back to the spray, so that it wouldn't hit my skin.  I didn't TOUCH my skin (no washing, etc.).   This was to keep it from getting dried out.    I dried the area with the cool setting on my hair dryer.   Then I put on more Aquaphor before bed.

--Since I know that the effects of the radiation last two-three weeks after treatment stops, I'll moisturize during those weeks, too.

I'm pretty happy with how things are working out so far, but then I was completely hysterical about getting a burn since in college I had such a sunburn I had to be hospitalized for a week.  Northstar

DX 8/15/08, ILC, 5.1 cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, Oncotype DX 11.
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Dec 31, 2008 02:34AM Northstar wrote:

When I still had 8 or 9 treatments left, my skin started to turn very red, so my onc decided to go to the boosts and leave the rest of the treatments (3) to the end, to give my skin a rest.   It was most red in my armpit and started to peel.   I used Aquaphor just under my arm (so I didn't get my clothes messy) and Palmer's Cocoa Butter on the rest.   The boosts are just to the scar area and electrons, not photons, so the effect is less.  I haven't had any severe pain, just a little discomfort, like a sunburn, on the reddened area.   So far, so good.  I think being scrupulous about putting on moisturizer three times a day helps a lot. 

DX 8/15/08, ILC, 5.1 cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-, Oncotype DX 11.
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Jan 8, 2009 04:37AM 07508125 wrote:

i am starting rad next week.  Could any of you wear bras during rad?Undecided 
Dx 11/11/2008, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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Jan 9, 2009 09:16PM oldlady wrote:

My dr. gave me something called Sween Cream.  I am still beet red, tan and peely at the location.  The elastic on my bra has rubbed raw spots on my torso just below and above the irradiated breast.  I cannot go loose during the day IYKWIM so I will just have to deal with it.  I am really tired but I also attribute that to the frequency, distance, hour (morning commuting time in a major city), as  well as the actual radiation. 

 Chemo was actually a breeze compared to this....

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Jan 11, 2009 05:21AM klp wrote:

07508125....I've been wearing a bra since the beginning of my radiation..I have 12 more to go out of 33. I use Emu oil after each rad treatment and before I go to bed. Don't see any redness, soreness or anything unusual. I am also not fatigued..still walk my dog each day and go to Curves 3 times a week...glad to be finished with the treatment only because of driving in each day though not far.

Lumpectomy,SNB, 33 rads Oncotype DX chemo!!!! Started Tamoxifen and stopped almost 3 years later.. Dx 10/10/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 11, 2009 05:57AM apple wrote:

i had 30 treatments and am very fair.  my doc said my skin faired excellently and asked what I used...which was absolutely nothing except for one time when I applied aquaphor.. which made it itchy kind of.  guess I was lucky to not have any sensation on that skin.. it is absolutely numb from the surgery.

peace and love, apple - ..... Mary Magdalen Dx 4/10/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 4/9 nodes, mets, ER+, HER2+
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Jan 21, 2009 12:30PM plainjane64 wrote:

Wow...I so WISH I had read this a few weeks ago.  I have completed 20 sessions(as of last tues then had an all out melt down and proceeded to almost rip my rad onc a new one). When I asked if we could skip to the boost she suggested a break.  I am supposed to resume in the a.m. but keep looking at the dark ugly skin that feels like sandpaper and am wondering if it will always look and feel so awful, or be so permanently fibrotic.  Or if I'll ever be able to wear an open neck shirt or have my next boyfriend even touch me.  I have been swollen, uncomfortable, then pink, turning to red, then progressed to almost purple, blisters, couldn't wear a bra or anything else and VERY miserable.  Have had issues sleeping. Missed 3 days of work last week. And feel my biggest mistake was trusting my rad onc who assured me I'd be able to carry on normally. I honestly question if this wasn't a huge mistake as I had a very difficult time deciding on this vs bilat skin sparing mastectomy....and now haven't a clue if that or any sort of cosmetic procedure will ever be possible. I am typically a very upbeat person but have lost my mojo......and haven't even started the hormones..........  Ready to slash my wrists

xoxo, jenniferjane Dx 10/18/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 23, 2009 03:09AM Sosmom wrote:

plainjane64 - I am wondering how you are doing now - have you finished rad?.  Right now I am trying to decide between radiation or to do mastectomy w recon.  I had my lumpectomy on Dec.19.  I am trying to get appointment with PS to see what the outcome of a mastectomy w/ immed. recon would be for me.  I am supposed to start rads on March 19, but I can cancel if I decide on mastectomy.  They said not to use anything on the skin expect for glaxal base or unscented lubriderm. I am confused!

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Mar 10, 2009 08:54PM - edited May 6, 2009 07:57AM by soaplady1950

This Post was deleted by soaplady1950.
Dx 10/22/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage I, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Mar 12, 2009 03:56AM peeps1111 wrote:


I used Jean's Cream, emu oil, ALRA lotion and the My Girls' Cream.  My skin only turned pink even though I am light with freckles.  One unexpected benefit of using the creams is that my lumpectomy scar is just about gone.  I had surgery at the end of July so I think that is quite remarkable. I kept the Jean's Cream upstairs next to my bed for at night, I kept the ALRA in the car for right after rads and I kept the My Girls' Cream in the bathroom for use during the day.  The emu oil I used once a day after I started getting pink.  Two weeks after rads, everything was back to normal. 


Dx 6/20/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-

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