Cream during radiation

Hi all

Just started rads to breast, axilla and supraclavical in neck and my Radio Oncologist does not want me to use any cream as it will wipe off his marks. I live outside the UK and tatoos are not used here, just many, many painted lines in what smells like iodine. He informs me that skin (not just radiated breast skin) does not need cream and that the cream industry is an unnecessary industry that women buy in to…

What are the recommendations in the UK? I’m getting the impression that most people use cream. Has anyone not used cream and their skin had been ok?

Anyone know of a cream that is less likey to wipe off the marks?

I’d like to get the imfornation just incase I get a problem so your input is appreciated.




I’ve just started radiotherapy this week and I was told to use aqueous cream. I have two tiny tattoos, and they put felt tip marks on each day, and they don’t mind if they get rubbed off with the cream.

Bit difficult if you have no tattoos, as they would have to measure you up every day.

Ann x

I’ve just finished rads (wednesday)and was advised to use aqueous cream to wash and prepare the skin but nothing else. Towards the end of the time (3 weeks plus 5 booster sessions) my skin started to open and I was told to not use anything at all but to let the air get to the area.

Also when I had the booster sessions I was drawn on every other day with permenant marker as no tattos in that area. (still got bright green marks all over me today 3 showers later.

Good luck


Where I had rads ,we are told not to use cream as it has been shown to be of no benefit. i.e if you are going to burn ,you will regardless of slapping on cream or not.I think its maybe more of a psychological benefit as we feel we are soothing our poor pink skin with cream but it makes no difference.
Good luck

Thanks for your input!


I didn’t have tattoos - the radiotherapy team had a template which they made by drawing the lines they would need for each stage of treatment onto sheets of acetate.

The reality is that most of us will sweat off the marks or rub them off with the clothes we wear. Are you also told not to shower or use soap or shower gel? Or do the marks remain on with all of those things?

I don’t get on with aqueous cream which is the standard recommendation at the hospital I went to, but I used an aloe vera-based gel, which did help to soothe the burn. My skin held up for 25 treatments without breaking (and as a larger breasted patient I was told I was sure to have skin breaking). The RT staff kept asking me what I was using (surprised at how well it had held up). As soon as the skin started breaking (after I’d finished my RT course) I stopped using anything and concentrated on keep the skin clean and dry.

During treatment, I used to try to keep the area as cool as possible. My RT team gave me some geliperm squares, which I kept in the fridge - these helped but the heat generated by the treatment can mean they lose their cold too quickly. I also used a flexible icepack well wrapped up (pillowcase, and a hand towel) and spent as much time as I could with the area bare to the air. Possibly the cooling effects of the gels, and my flexible ice pack were more effective than the gel at keeping my skin in good order.

Good luck with your treatment!

I shower but the marks come off easily so I don’t use shower gel…just let it get slightly wet and dab dry. They repaint on Fridays and whenever necessary which is usually once more in the week, and whenever they do the CT scan for checking the position.

I’ve had 18 treatments and so far only slightly pink, altho intermittenly sore inside. Skin feels dry and pores are enlarged. I was told the skin in the neck area would be the most affected as it is the thinnist and also under the arm where there is skin to skin contact, but so far so good. Seven plus boosts to go, hoping it will hold up!

Hope you’re all healed from the RT.


I really think the aqueous cream helped me, by soothing the itchy skin. Unless you are advised against it, I would recommend using it several times a day.

Ann x

a while back i posted a research study which showed no real benefit from cream in terms of skin burning, although it may have a soothing effect if you have a burn (but dont know of any research that disputes or supports this)…

my unit is the same as dots and we are told no cream, no shaving, no deo to treatment side and only to use something like simple soap or gel for washing… which is what i have used ever since i was diagnosed the first time round almost 4 years ago.

i think generally if it makes you feel better then use it but dont worry about not using it.

Lulu x


Yes, we were told no shaving or deodorant and only pure soap, but then I only ever use that anyway, as the perfume irritates my skin. It would be helpful if they all advised the same, though. I have just finished 15 plus 4 boosters and used the aqueous cream. Fortunately, so far, I don’t have any problems other than the skin being a bit itchy, although as the radiotherapy continues to work after the treatment has finished, I may be speaking too soon!

Ann x