Definitive advice on skin

Hello folks

I am so confused about this rads threatment so I hope ladies who have been there and done it can help.

The nurses at my rad department have told me to put nothing at all on my skin - not aqueous cream, aloe vera, nothing - while I am having treatment. Yet everyone I speak to says they use aqueous cream morning and night. The nurses seem to feel that very few people experience damage, burning or flaking.

I have had two treatments so far, and it tingled a bit like sunburn last night (unless this was my imagination). So far, have not out anything on it as instructed.

I am very fair and I burn in the sun very easily, and I am desperate to avoid this happening as the skin on my chest happens to be very nice and soft! I don’t want to wait until the damage is done and then have to start slapping the cream on.

Much confused, hope you can help.

Hi flyright

I am sure you will receive lots of helpful advice and support from other users, but in the meantime, you may find our factsheet a helpful read. It covers information and advice on skincare during treatment.

Here is the link:

Kind regards



I am on my 18 out of 20 rad today and have used Aqueous Cream from 2 weeks before I started them. I have fair skin and I am slightly sore not too uncomfortable, but I think it would have been worse without the cream personally. Good luck with your rads.

April x

Hi flyright,
I,m also having rads at the moment,will be going for my fifth today. I haven,t had any redness or soreness yet just tingling. No it,s not your imagination! I described it to my husdand that it was a bit like putting your boob in a micro-wave oven for 30 seconds! I feel like there,s something going on inside but there is nothing on the outside.
I was given aqueous cream but no clear advice on usage. I think they just want me to put it on if it starts getting sore. They did tell me that if I used it that i was to make sure it was rubbed in well.My hospital will also let you use recommended deodorant from the drop-in centre. It hasn,t got any aluminiun in it. But no soaps or other perfumed products.
I think that advice does differ between hospitals so it is difficult to know what to do for the best.
But I suppose it,s sort of like sun-burn, if it gets red put some cream on it.
Best wishes for the rest of your treatment.

I agree with April. I use simple shower gel (actually its Tesco’s own and half the price) no deodorant or anything else except aqueous cream. I have bought Boots own version of E45 (again, a fraction of the price of the real stuff - a true bargain hunter, me!) and used it throughout my rads. I have had 10 so far and although my lily white skin is turning a nice colour of hot pink, it isn’t sore. I too am very fair and burn like mad in the sun. My radiographer suggested keeping the cream in the fridge so its nice and cool. Tried that last night and it is good. I can’t see what harm aqueous cream would do??


I have just finished 29 rads - 25 from 4 angles and 4 boosters to tumour site.
After the 1st couple of weeks I got the tingly feeling but that wore off and no external damage.
About 3rd week in I started to get a little bit pink - it was at this point that the hospital issued me with aqueous cream and told me to use it 2-3 times per day and to make sure it was well rubbed in. I got right to the end (2 boosts to go) and the skin on my collarbone started to break down… by the rads session the following day the skin under my arm (jsut at the crease between armpit and body) started to splpit a bit… I was referred to the nurse at the rads unit who applied intraset gel and dressings. Was re-dressed after my final session on Tuesday and given a bag full of dressings and gel etc. Told to continue with the aqueous cream on the non-split skin and apply the gel and dressings to the split areas. Advised to go see my practice nurse in a week to have her check my skin and to get more gel/cream/dressings etc.

At planning session I was told no perfumed bath/shower products, baby or simple soap/shower gel …no deo, perfume on wrists but not neck etc etc

I asked about pitrock deo - had read about it on here - and asked if I culd use it for the day of my friends wedding - was told OK for 1 day but make sure completely washed off before next rads session, basically my rads unit had a policy of not recommending anything that they had not tested themselves.

My breast area and underarm are sore - more pain inside the tissues than the burnt skin and the lady who did the boosts said that it is quite normal because basically the damage that we can see on the outside shows the level of damage to the inside, and since I did not have chemo my rads were started relatively soon after my surgery so all the tissues and muscles ect were just starting to try to heal themselves when the rads kicked in and started to irritate them.

Hope this is of some help… and I know when you read it it makes rads seem like hell on earth … but I fund them not too bad and the problems are not too major.

Anything else - just shout

Hi Flyright

I have fair skin too. At Barts they told me to use the acqueous cream and nothing else. I used it night and morning and hardly burned at all. They did say no smellies at all during rads and for a least a month afterwards. They were keeping an eye on the skin all the time and I met others there who were gien something else if they had a problem. But they were pretty firm about no E45, bio oil etc. In your shoes I would use the acqueous cream.

Good luck!


Thanks everyone, what great advice. I am going to use a thin layer of aqueous cream morning and night (my sessions are at lucntime), well rubbed in.

For the lady who is having rads close to surgery (I am too - surgery was only 4 weeks ago) my onc told me that the sooner the rads start after surgery the more effective it is, so I was prepared to put up with that.

I didn’t know that! I started my rads 6 weeks after surgery, so I am pleased for that information.

Hi Flyright

I had my rads at the Western General in edinburgh. Having read all the threads on here before I started I assumed I had to plaster myself with something!! However when I went for planning session, they too advocate that you should not use anything on the area undergoing radiation.

I was given strict instructions at the start not to use any creams/deodorants etc and was advised that they would check my skin each week and if necessary would give me cream as and when. I am fair (or I was when I had hair lol) and burn very easily.

I had 20 sessions and started to turn pink around day 14 - but apart from the ‘tingling’ had no real problems. Hence I wasn’t given aqueous cream until my last treatment, and was told to use it liberally every day for a fortnight. By 2 weeks after the rads sessions had finished I was a much deeper shade of pink/red and my skin peeled slightly (like mild sunburn).

I finished rads on 20 March - and now the area from my neck to just below bustline is a nice lightly tanned colour!

Margaret x

hi all, just taught id add my bit of info lol
i had 25 rads and 5 boost never want to see that place again had such an awful time
anyway i was told not to use anything no creams no soaps no nothing only this now il no il give ye a laugh this is what i was told to use as deodorant…
1/2 cup of cornflour and table spoon of bread soda and sive 2 together
and for under my boob where it got sore i was to dab cornflour alone on it to dry it upseeminly the corn flour dries it up and the bread soda gets rid of the smell lol

obviously every place has different policies what the nurse said to me was that the products could intefere with the radiation
but to be honest if i had known about that cream i would have used it as my skin really broke down
so just go with what is best for you
lots of hugs

Hi Breda sorry to hear about your skin being affected - how horrible for you. The cornflour treatment just sounds crazy - I’d rather stink thanks!

I am doing ok (7 treatments) but it is starting to tingle after treatment now so I guess before long I will have some side effects. Ho hum.

At Leicester Royal Infirmary they give you a tube of aqueous cream to use from the start.

the reason there are different views on this is that there’s been no research showing that any particular skin regime works or not.

In my view if you are going to burn you will regardless of what you put on your skin. I did the Barts thing religiously, they accused me of not following it which annoyed me.

My skin only got better after I stopped having radiation

my view is that radiation damages skin