Can I Go Out in the Sun if I'm Going Through Chemotherapy?

Take Care of Your Sensitive Skin and Still Enjoy Summer Activities

Portrait Of Happy Young Woman On Beach
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While you're undergoing chemotherapy, it can be very hard on you both emotionally and physically. A break or vacation can be a huge help while you're going through treatments. However, chemotherapy can cause your skin to be extremely sensitive. It's important to take precautions to protect your skin and prevent complications. You can still join friends and family in outdoor fun, but you will need to be extra careful when you’re exposed to the sun.

Some chemo drugs will make you more photosensitive, meaning that your skin is more susceptible to irritation and sunburn. Other non-chemo drugs that you may be on during or after treatment can make you sensitive to sunlight, too. Once you are finished with treatment, this risk returns to normal. But while you’re still undergoing chemo, be sure to take extra good care of your skin.

Tips to Prevent Summer Sunburn During Chemo:

  • Avoid the Strongest Rays: Try and stay out of the sun while it is at its strongest, typically between 10:00am and 3:00pm. During that time, stay under an umbrella or enjoy indoor activities.
  • Use Appropriate Sunscreen: Don't reuse last year's sunscreen; it can lose its effectiveness. Instead, use fresh sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply liberally and reapply every few hours to make sure your skin is protected. Even if your sunscreen says its water-safe, reapply after taking a dip in the pool or the ocean.
  • Protect Sensitive Areas: Don't forget to cover sensitive areas like your nose, tops of your ears, and your scalp. These areas are often neglected and can get deep burns from the sun. Use a lip balm with SPF in order to protect your lips from the sun as well.
  • Embrace Summer Styles: Protect your skin with clothing and hats. Since sun protection is taken more seriously now, you'll find many stylish options for hats, tops with SPF, and flowing skirts and pants. Wear a wide brim hat and a long sleeved top for maximum sun protection.
  • Stay Hydrated: It's important for your skin and your overall health to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water while outside to help keep your skin properly moisturized.
  • Get Vitamin D (in Moderation): Vitamin D can be a great help for your health, especially when you have breast cancer. It's important to get some sunlight to get adequate amounts of Vitamin D, but only in moderation and with some preparation.

Which Drugs Cause Extra Photosensitivity?

Chemotherapy and breast cancer can be a huge strain on your body as well as your mind. It can be exhausting, frustrating and draining. A trip to the beach or a poolside vacation can be a huge help for your emotional state. There's no reason why you can't enjoy these activities just because you are undergoing chemo treatments. If you take some precautions to protect your skin, you can have a relaxing and safe vacation and a good break from your treatments. It's a great opportunity to destress and forget about breast cancer for a little while.

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