Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

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dry skin advice during chemo

Posted by

Hi everyone

could anyone give me advice on the best products to use for dry skin and scalp during chemo

I was born with a rare skin condition called Ichthyosis which leaves me with permanent dry skin

and I use skin cream from the GP but since chemo my skin is getting even more dry but worse is

my scalp which is dry and constantly itching the problem is as I have a full head of hair it's hard to

rub oil or cream on does anyone know the best shampoo,oil or cream to use during B&R treatment

many thanks


Posted by

Hi Simon, I am sure that some of the others will give you some help but I would double check with your Specialst Nurse and even your GP as you do have a pré-existing skin condition and and this should be taken in to consideration.

I had a skin Lymphoma for many years so the main products I used were Hydromol Emollient Cream and Dermol 200 shower cream all available on prescription and remember you should not be paying for your prescriptions.

Mike - living my new life and trying to make a difference

'Some journeys take us far from home. Some adventures lead us to our destiny' C. S. Lewis

SCT    NHL    T Cell     Community Champion

Posted by

Hello Simon,

Apart from the skin how is your treatment going?

You have touched a subject close to my heart.

I have eczema which flares up at odd times. Like you am on B & R

And after my first cycle my skin flared up on various parts of my body and my scalp oh so dry and all around and in my ears.

None of the things I normally use had any effect. Can't tell you how much money I have spent trying different lotions and potions!

I can only tell you what I have learnt and which things I have found to help. Please bear in mind though that we do have different conditions.

First thing I found out was to avoid any product that has Sodium Laurel or Laureth Sulfate in it. It strips the oils out of your skin most shower/bath/ shampoo products have it in, even some that are suppose to be for sensitive skin.

Anything with alcohol in it. Cetearyl alcohol is again in a lot of products produced for skin conditions but it can irritate some, it is difficult to avoid though.


Eucerin do have a shampoo and a leave on scalp lotion for dry scalps.

I have used both, the shampoo is ok it does have myreth Sulfate in it which is suppose to be gentler than Laurel Sulfate. I didn't find the scalp lotion any help for me though.

Neutrogena T gel do a shampoo for sensitive scalp which I have found to help.

There is a company Sulcura which produce natural products which are Sulfate free. I have tried both their shampoo and conditioner which were ok.

The thing that has really helped though is using pure coconut oil. I know you said you have a full head of hair, which is nice, you may find it thinning with treatment though, but coconut oil will get through.

It is solid so you do have to dig out what you need from the pot and warm it up till it melts. I stand it on a radiator! When it liquid just stick your fingers in it and push your fingers through your hair and onto your scalp. Keep doing that until the roots of your hair and scalp are covered in the oil. Get your fingers onto your scalp and massage your scalp. Even better get someone to do it for you.

Wrap your head in a towel and leave on as long as you can the heat from your head will help your scalp to absorb the oil. The longer the better.

You can then wash your hair with shampoo, this where I would use T gel. The oil will come out and you won't be left with greasy hair but it does help moisturise your scalp and protect it from the shampoo. I also use a conditioner which I massage in and wash out.I use Simple.


I know some people say covering yourself in various emollients and soaking in a bath helps, tepid not hot.

Personally I would shower. I find it better to use an emollient and shower using the emolient as you would shower gel/soap as I find it keeps the emollient on your skin.

Then add some more after you come out of the shower.

The things I found to help were Cetraben they do a daily wash cream. I use it on my face.

They also do an ointment which is lighter than some ointments which tend to be thick and sticky.

But the one thing that has got my skin under control is Morrison's own

Intensive Moisture Lotion for sensitive skin. It's only £1. I use it the same way as shower gel/soap. Wet my skin, smooth it on all over, then rinse off. I then smooth more on after drying off. Pat, don't rub. It's quite creamy,not sticky and goes into your skin. Put it on at night as well as the warmth of your body will help it go into your skin.With continued use it seems to build up a barrier on your skin which is what you want.

At £1 it's worth a try

Whatever you use the above will apply and will take time and perseverance to take effect.

Your CNS nurse will also be able to make suggestions.

Sorry this is so long hope it helps, I’m sure others will suggest more products. I can only say what has worked for me.

All the best


Posted by

Hi Ann

nice to speak to you again hope you are well. My treatment is going ok the first round was just bendamustin unfortunately after 10 days my neck locked up and my temperature shot up to 39.2 and I was admitted to hospital for 10 days with suspected viral meningitis it turned out to be sepsis and I just managed to make it out for Christmas phew. The second round I had a reaction to the rituximab my chest started aching all down my arms my teeth and chin started throbbing and I came out in a rash on my chest head and face the treatment was stopped for an hour then carried on at a slower rate and this seemed ok. the third roun seemed ok at first then had a reaction again to rituximab slowed it down again but left me feeling as though I had a sinus infection for a few days but ok then my specialist is pleased with the results so far as my night sweats have now stopped my lymph glands seem to have shrunk and my IGM level has gone down from over 30 to 13 so definitely worth all the side effects bring on round 4 on 28th of Feb.

Thanks for the info on skin and scalp great tip about the coconut oil will try that. I have a prescription cream from the doctors for my skin it contains some kind or acid compound I have tried cetraban my wife has it for her hands as she has scleroderma an immune illness (thats another story) the cetraban doesn't seem to soak into my skin very well but I am using baby oil at night this seems to help I have just bought Nizoral shampoo today so will try this

sorry for waffling on

take care Ann


Posted by

Hi Simon

You waffle on as much as you like.

Well you have certainly been through the mill. I have been extremely lucky up till now.

Good news about your IgM, mine is about the same. I have my last B

next week but still have 3 more R to go. It's interesting how different hospitals treat. Mine wouldn’t give R until IgM was down to 20. 

I know someone else who said they have trouble with there sinuses after treatment.

Just out of interest do you know how long they flush your veins out for after the B?

Good luck with the Nizoral, I was going to try that at one time but not sure why I didn't now. Think I was a bit wary of it not sure why now!

Check the ingredients and make sure there's nothing too harsh in it. You want to keep moisture in your scalp.

Let me know how you get on.

Good luck with your next cycle.

Take care


Posted by

Hi Ann

when I have the bendamustin I think they flush my vein for about 10min

hope this helps and because I seem to spend all day on rituxamab my bendamustin has been out of the fridge for a while so it doesn't hurt going in however on the first round when it was just the bendamustin it was straight out the fridge and into my are that was quite painful.

I'm not sure but could they not try the canula at the very top of the chest might be worth asking I have heard chemo can sometimes be given this way.

best wishes


Posted by

Oh that's interesting as I think they only did it for 3 mins last time.

The first day it was getting close to the unit closing and I did feel it was all a bit rushed. I told her it was sore so she flushed through with a syringe and that arm seems ok.

I have spoken with the chemo unit and expressed my concerns, she was very good, they are contacting my consultant again. 

She did suggest having a port put in but would like to avoid that if possible as I only have 1 Benda to go, but still have 4R and all the blood tests!

Will see what happens.

Keep well, let me know if the Nizorel was successful.


Posted by

Ann the 4 R should not give you any pain so if you can manage the next B without a port it may be better, though you veins may not think so, where I was treated it was not unusual for patients to finish their treatment on the haematology ward when the day unit closed at 6.30, it happened to me once and a couple of other sessions were very close calls.

again worth asking how they deal with it, speeding up and creating issues for the patient (if that happens) should not be what its about, back to duty of care.


we all know this is a roller coaster ride, where we ride blind, never knowing where the highs and lows are

Posted by

Hi Simon,

Afraid I can't help with the scalp issue; however, with R-CHOP and HD-MTX the back of my hands became red and sore and the hospital-supplied cremes and lotions did little to help. If Asper-Creme with lidocaine is available on your side of the pond, I'd try it, as it has been wonderful for me.

Good luck,


Posted by

That's what I was thinking John, I’m still hoping they will decided to dilute it down more or flush through for longer.

Although I fear one of my veins may have packed up, it's quite hard and it feels like there is a smal lump there. I have told them, it's not swollen or red.

My unit closes at 5pm, thank goodness I have morning appointments this time!

Sorry Simon we have hijacked your skin question.