Can I use scented body creams/moisturisers during chemo


I have just started chemo (4 cycles of EC then 4 weeks accelerated Tax).  I’m unsure whether or not I can use scented body creams, hand creams etc during chemo, or whether that will generate problems and aggravate my skin.  I have recieved some lovely scented gifts from generous friends and I would love to use them.

Any advice gratefully received.

Thanks in advance

Karen x

Hi Karen,


I was given some lovely hand creams and moisturisers and used them throughout chemotherapy without any issues. Chemo can affect skin and also our sense of smell and taste but I think that as long as you are ok with them it will be fine to use them.  It is really important to moisturise nails. I hope all goes well for you!


OAD xx






Hi Karen,


Are there any essential oils in these products? I did ask my consultant about aromatherapy massage and was told that some oils which were to be avoided as my cancer was fuelled by estrogen.


This webpage mentions tea tree and lavender.


“Lavender and tea tree oils have been found to have some hormone -like effects. They have effects similar to estrogen (female sex hormone) and also block or decrease the effect of androgens (male sex hormones). Applying lavender and tea tree oils to the skin over a long period of time has been linked in one study to breast enlargement in boys who have not yet reached puberty. It is recommended that patients with tumors that need estrogen to grow avoid using lavender and tea tree oils.”


Some patients are advised to use products on their hair / scalp (in particular) that don’t have too many chemicals in them.


My main problem in chemo (FEC and then T) was that nothing smelt as it should and some of my old products added to the sickness and vomiting I had all through most of my cycles. The conditioner I used in particular still makes me sick if I smell it now and it’s been 9 weeks since my last chemo.


The only smells that were “true” were rose and citrus.


Food was a big problem. Most things smelled awful and tasted worse.


I changed overnight from having oily skin to very dry skin through so it may be that all these generous gifts may be even more welcome.