Scars from radiation and sometimes chemotherapy can be some of the longest lasting, and most distressing, reminders of your fight with cancer. In this day and age there are many dermatological advances to minimize the look of scars, dark spots and other skin irregulaties, and laser therapy is just one of them. Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Jeanine Downie weighs in:
Deal with any scarring immediately! It sounds counterintuitive and most people assume a scar should heal completely before any cosmetic treatment, but the newer and fresher the scar, the easier it is to manipulate and fix. PLUS you may end up needing to have more treatments, and therefore spend more money if you wait.
Skin changes from chemotherapy: you may notice that your chemo cocktail has caused permanent dark spots, broken blood vessels or that your skin looks more sun damaged than before treatment. The Excel V laser is excellent for these. It rejuvenates the skin and is safe and effective for all skin types.
Scars from radiation burn require something a little different. I use the Fraxel Re:Store laser in particular. Your doctor may prescribe a strong topical antibiotic (and sometimes even an oral antibiotic) before treatment, and in general you can expect your treatment to take at least 6 sessions.
4. Don’t want to be zapped? A prescription cream like Biafene can really help with radiation scarring if you don’t want to use lasers, and it’s usually covered by insurance. Make sure whatever treatment you choose to use a gentle cleanser on the area. Good drugstore brands include Dove, Cetaphil and Aveeno.
5. Finally, don’t forget that the main source of skin damage and scarring is the sun: sun protection is an absolute must regardless of ethnicity! Use sunscreen with an spf of at least 30 every day, rain or shine. Some good ones include Skin Medica Daily Physical Defense, Diorsnow UV Shield White Reveal Moisturizing UV Protection SPF 50, and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, SPF 55.
Always check in with your medical team before trying any new treatments.
Advice from Jeanine Downie
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Dr. Jeanine Downie gives the lowdown on lasers Scars from radiation and sometimes chemotherapy can be some of Read More