In addition to the already scary diagnosis of cancer, taking care of skin after radiation treatment can be a touchy process. Plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. James Beckman, wanted to make it simple, gentle, and effective. He developed this routine not only for those being treated for breast cancer, but for ANY area of skin receiving radiation therapy. In this post, Dr. Beckman explains what radiation therapy is and how it affects the skin and why his protocol is an excellent choice for care. \nRadiation therapy (or radiotherapy) is commonly used for the treatment of malignant tumors as either primary or adjunct treatment. The ionizing radiation from the tumor therapy causes damage to other normal structures at the same time, depending on the radiation dosage used and the patient’s age and overall health. Most of the effects on the skin are predictable and to some extent expected. Cells that are exposed to oxygen receive the most damage. This is due to the ionizing potential of the radiation energy causing free radicals in the presence of water, which then damages the DNA of cells to limit future replication. Epithelial surfaces, especially skin, have a predictable sequence of changes.\nThe radiation treatment, itself being a type of injury, causes inflammatory changes, much the same as seen in electrical or other burn injury. The acute changes involve a redness and soreness within one week to 10 days of onset of treatment. The skin may even blister or break down during the radiation treatment. Nearly all skin side effects heal with time. The problem lies in the end result of the healing leaving permanent damage to sweat glands or oil glands in the skin resulting in dryness and a leather-like consistency. A thorough explanation of basic radiation therapy and mechanisms can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/radiation_therapy.\nIt is a known fact that L-lactic acid has an effect on acute burns of any kind to decrease the effects of the injury. If the Theraderm Fruit Acid Exfoliant (10% un-buffered lactic acid) is applied within 4-6 hours after receiving a severe sunburn, thermal burn from touching a very hot object, or being splashed with hot grease while cooking there will be no resultant redness, no blister formation, no pain the following morning, and no delayed peeling of the skin occurs. This protection from the effects of injury is due to the well-known ability of lactic acid to both enhance the immune system and diminish the inflammatory response.\nTheraderm’s OPC Reparative Gel utilizes three powerful antioxidants, OPC, Lipoic Acid, and vitamin E to trap free radicals formed by the radiation treatment process. It contains aloe vera for its wound healing and soothing effects. And it contains a large amount of hyaluronic acid to act as a very effective humectant for pulling water into the skin surface cells.\nTheraderm’s Eternox Peptide Crème has three important active peptides to stimulate growth promotion of new fibroblast and keratinocyte cells while at the same time stimulating increased collagen production from existing fibroblasts.\nThe Theraderm Extreme Dry Skin Therapy has natural lanolin in a 20% concentration to accurately replace and restore a natural lipid barrier to preserve water retention and to moisturize the skin. These products form the nucleus for a radiation treatment regimen of skincare to restore skin to near-normal condition in the radiation treated area. Therapon has formulated a specific skin care protocol for use following radiation therapy.\nTherapon Post Radiation Treatment Skincare Protocol\nLess skin damage will occur during the radiation treatment if this Therapon protocol can be implemented two weeks prior to initiation of radiation therapy. If this is not possible the regimen may be implemented at any time during or after the treatment process to prevent excessive skin dryness and/or irritation from the therapy treatments. For most patients this regimen greatly enhances comfort as well as the quality of life.\nSeveral short, simple steps are utilized in the morning and again in the evening to allow optimum correction of the post-radiation skin damage. The use of the Theraderm products may begin (or resume) the day after the first radiation treatment and should be used daily thereafter. It is advisable to consult with your radiation therapy physician as to whether or not to use the products on days of radiation therapy treatment.\nA.M. Regimen\n1.Wash radiated skin area gently with Theraderm Cleansing Wash and soft cloth.\n2. Apply Theraderm Fruit Acid Exfoliant with fingertips in an even, thin layer over the affected area.\n3. Apply a thin layer of Theraderm OPC Reparative Gel.\n4. Apply a thin layer of Theraderm Eternox Peptide Crème to skin.\n5. If severe dryness or flaking is present apply Extreme Dry Skin Therapy.\nP.M. Regimen (before bedtime)\n 1.Wash radiated skin area gently with Theraderm Cleansing Wash.\n2. Apply Theraderm Fruit Acid Exfoliant with fingertips in a thin layer (evenly) over the affected area.\n3. Apply a thin layer of Theraderm OPC Reparative Gel.\n4. Apply a thin layer of Eternox Peptide Crème to skin.\n5. Apply Extreme Dry Skin Therapy to affected area each evening as needed.