Starting Rads on 13.02.12 edinburgh - confused about creams

Can someone help me out there, I am about to start my rads on monday at Edinburgh. I had surgery in Dec 12 and since then i have only used simple soap, simple sampoo & aqueous cream. I thought i was all set to go but I am sure my mind is starting to get pickled, maybe it is being at home. My rads are in the afternoons ( 16 treatments) but can i use my aqueous cream in the morning before I start to travel or do i stop using it and only start to use it if my skin starts to get sore.

Good luck with the rads. In answer to your question, slather it on as often as you can, now, during and after. Aloe Vera gel is also very good - but obviously check with the hospital.
Hope all goes well x

Hi RupertsMum
I’ve done 13 sessions out of 18 and have been using aqueous cream three times a day. Once after I shower in the morning, once after rads and once when I go to bed. I did check it was OK to apply cream before rads with the radiologist (my appt are normally AM) and she said it was fine. I have also switched to a natural deodorant although I am not using on the side that’s being zapped. I use Sanex Zero shower gel to wash and will switch to a natural paraben/petroleum free cream once I have finished being zapped.

Some people also use or only use Aloe Vera gel but it must by 99% one. Some claim to be but aren’t so check carefully. My lovely radiologist suggested Holland and Barrett as the best choice.

There is a Feb rads thread if you want to read or join the gang…let me know and I’ll bump it up for you. All in all my rads are going well, no breakdown of skin, bit sore and kinda tired somedays.

Hope this helps, as with most of the treatments the reality not as bad as our fertile imaginations would have us believe. hope all goes well on 13th…Zax

Hi RupertsMum,

I had 20 sessions of rads last year, May through to June following surgery and chemo.

The clinic gave me a big tub of aqueous cream and a tube of aloe vera. I kept both in the fridge for extra coolness and slathered them on numerous times during the day, after my shower in a morning, couple of times during the morning, after coming back from the clinic and into the evening as well. The more you use the best it is for your skin.

The only thing I was told was not to use them within an hour of a session, but as I was travelling into London for treatment from Essex, it took me over an hour to get there, so that wasn’t a problem.

I must be honest I carried on using ordinary deodorant and an underwired bra so was in the bad books for that, but didn’t suffer much discomfort and within a week of finishing the slight redness has disappeared and now you wouldn’t even know to look at.

I also spent most of my time in the garden last year getting sun which I was told not to do, but it doesn’t seem to have had any lasting effects and am off to California in 4 weeks and will be sunbathing then.

It won’t be as bad as your imagine, I found the worst bit was going in for it every day and it was taking a chunk out of my day every day for 4 weeks.


Edinburgh do not like you to use aqueous or any other creams… There is no proven benefit from using cream but there can be so detriment for using the wrn kind if cream so Edinburgh just take the view no cream!

If however you skin does start to get very burnt they will give it but has to be pretty red and broken before they will give it but it’s also very unusual for it to get so red and broken.

Some people like to use cream as I feels like you are being proactive… But basically if your skin is going to burn It will do so regardless of using aqueous cream or not… But having had two lots of rads at Edin and going for planning to see if I need it a 3rd time I do still find a bit of cool cream in the evening quite soothing.

If you are going to use lotions and potions avoid perfumed ones.

They usually give you an info booklet before rads start and also on the day of your first one they go over it all again with you and they have a rads nurse who sees you about once a week just to check how your doing and you get a review from the onc about halfway through and again near the end.

Think I’m due to be haing my first when your having your last… On 5th march… I’m due to be in LA1 about 2pm.

Lulu xxx

Ditto what Lulu said- I had my rads at the western and was told no creams, no deod during rads, but as much as you like when all of the rads sessions are over. My skin was fine with that- red but not broken. Al x

Hi all, I am also due to start rads on 28th at Western General in Edinburgh, they said no shaving, no deoderant and no creams. Lulu I would be interested to know what cream you use to ‘sooth’ your skin?

Go well,


Lisa when I do use any cream it’s aqueous… What they sometimes will say its ok to use it but wash it off before going for your rads… But I only used it if and when my skin went red and not before hand… I think sometimes they make a protocol to cover the daftest person rather than saying to the dafties don’t use your Avon moisturiser… They just say nobody use anything… But probably is more of a psychological thing that we feel we are doing something to make us feel better by putting on some aq cream.

Lisa if your in Edin there’s a few of us meet up monthly for lunch, drinkies, laughs, chats and sharing our experiences… Our welcome to join us too… Will bump the Edin thread.


At Northampton and Oxford For many years it was recommended that no creams were used and the skin was kept dry. Very few people had problems. As soon as Aqueous cream was considered to be ok patients started to think it would ok try their own creams, lotions, potions, and problems did occur more often.
I slapped Aqueous on at bed time and let it sink in overnight. I avoided soaking the area in fact I did not wash it
( dirty thing) I had no redness even although I had an intensive three week treatment cycle. I did however take a small dose of Asprin every day . It helps with sunburn so I thought it might help with Radiotherapy inflammation. Something worked and my skin is absolutely fine.

use your cream all the time i would suggest i had 16 treatments and its a routine you get into of detaching yourself from your body for the treatment ask for a gown to cover your decency

Thanks Lulu, apologies for the delay in replying but have been up north on a wee holiday. I would really appreciate the thread and meeting up with others in the same situation.

Many many thanks.

Lisa x

This is our meet up thread Lisa

Wouldnt it be easier if all hospitals gave the same advice. I have a printed booklet given to me today saying use aqueous cream to moisturise the skin.

I am taking part in some in-house research in using fragrance free deodrant during the treatment, as they now believe it makes no difference, we shall see!

Just finished 3 weeks of rads and had no burning or red marks at all. I used 100% aloe vera gel my homeopath told me not to use aqaucous cream. I use aloe vera plant when sunburt abroad and its fab for burns. I would stress if you want to try this you need to get 100% concentrate easily available on the net. I think Holland and Barratt sell it but it might be 98% but sure that would do. Good luck.

I start rads in Edinburgh on March 26th. The oncologist suggested aqueous cream and does not like aloe vera at all. I would use what seems right for you as long as you check.

I’m having radiotherapy at the WGH at the moment and again iv been told no cream… My skin is fine so far after one week of zapping… Will see how it is in 3 weeks time though lol

There seems to be a huge variation in advice on creams etc., although I think on one of my internet trawls I found that the Royal Marsden had actually done some research.

Anyway before I started radiotherapy I did a trawl, and had been recommended aqueous cream or E45. Aloe Vera not mentioned but seemed to be good so I went and bought the 99.9% pure from Holland and Barrett - took a bit of searching for but it comes in a green plastic tube like a facial wash tube.

Initially I used some aqueous cream and a bit of aloe vera a couple of times a day and nothing in the morning before treatment. After my 4th treatment I was busy and actually didn’t get to the creams until a few hours later and was shocked to see that I looked like I had sunburn in quite an extensive square that ran right round my side and included the scar from my sentinel node biopsy. I then decided on the following regime which seems to have kept things under control, and although I go pink after each treatment it has faded by the following morning. ( My treatments are all morning.) I put aqueous cream on when I get dressed ( about 2 hours before treatmet.) I take my aloe vera with me and put it on immediately after treatment when I get changed. I then put aqueous on as soon as I get home. Another aloe vera before the school run, more aqueous about kids bath time. I have been bathing not showering while having rads and don’t wash the treated area with anything other than water. Then more aloe vera or aqueous before bed depending on how I think things are looking. I am sure it is the aloe vera that reduces the pinkness. The treated area is darker than my surrounding skin, but so far no break down, and I have had 12 treatments. The radiologists did ask what I was using and I told them aloe vera and aqueous cream, and they didn’t tell me not to use the aloe vera. I also don’t put deodrant on until after treatment on that side as the edge of the treatment area touches my lower armpit. But deo washed off in bath at night. The most affected areas are the edges of the treatment area, ( this is common apparently.) However I did not realise how big the treatment area was so the edges didn’t get any creams until they reacted. So worth checking exactly where the edges of your treament area are I reckon.

I’m allergic to perfume so have always used unperfumed products. I was told no perfumed creams and no deodorant at all and only to use Simple or Johnson’s Baby Soap. I don’t like Simple because it’s made with animal fat and Johnson’s Baby Soap has perfume! So I carried on using Tesco unperfumed vegetable oil soap, amd my usual E45 (Endless Moisture, but they do it in both fragraced and un-fragranced so watch out). I was complimented by both my onc and breast surgeon on how good my skin was and the onc even asked me what I used as they were doing some research. I moisturised all over my trunk and arms every morning and evening as part of my arm massage routine. However, I was surprised how easily I got burned when I came home on a sunny day and sat outside for 30 mins with a cup of coffee. That was the only trouble I had.

Hope it goes as well for you all.