Health & Wellness,  My Breast Cancer Journey

The Chemo Rash – The Unexpected Side Effect Of Treatment

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Of all the side effects that cancer treatment brings with it, the chemo rash is something that most have likely never even heard of.

It’s Just Acne, Right?

Not long after my first round of cancer treatment with Herceptin, Prejeta, Docetaxel & Carboplatin in September of 2016, did the mother of all side effect start to appear. My face quickly became covered with what appeared to be painful pimples.

My first thought was, oh on top of everything else I have a bad case of acne, so I switched to using an acne cleanser every morning, thinking that would send these horrible bumps packing. Well, instead of making the situation better, it made it worse. Areas, where there were no bumps, got really dry, and the bumps seemed to get better instead of worse.

If Only It was Just Acne:

At my next doctors appointment she took one look at me and diagnosed me with a chemo rash, likely a result of the Prejeta drug. Although I knew I shouldn’t touch the bumps, they hurt so much that I took to trying to “pop” them to at least relieve the pain that they caused. This of course was cause for concern by my doctor, as I was opening my skin up to infection, so she prescribed a topical ointment to apply to the affected areas called Clindamycin.

Dealing With This Thing Called a Chemo Rash:

I still had to work throughout my treatment in order to maintain my health insurance, as well as keep some form of a paycheck coming in to help pay the bills. This rash made the daily task of going to work very difficult. While I knew it was a rash caused by my treatments, to the unknowing eye it just looked like a bad case of acne, and I hated the ideas of the strange looks I would get from people I passed in the hall. I could have covered it with makeup, but I felt that would end up doing more harm than good, because the makeup would just end up clogging up areas that were already inflamed, and the last thing I wanted to do was do anything that would cause me to suffer from this rash for any longer than I needed to.

A Quest For a Natural Cleanser:

Prior to my Breast Cancer diagnosis, I had started pursuing the homeopathic/natural route to curing a variety of ailments. Nux Vomica for nausea, Arnica for pain and general healing, as well as a plethora of other remedies that had been used for centuries prior to the arrival of modern medicine, and the chemical concoctions that are the common form of treatment. I knew I could not be the only one who had ever dealt with this type of rash, so I embarked on a quest to find a natural cleanser that would put an end to this painful rash once and for all.

After countless Google searches, I happened across a company called Beterre. Right away, I was very interested in the products they had to offer because their goal was to use all natural ingredients, and one of the companies founders was a two-time Breast Cancer survivor herself who had developed these products to treat the side effects of cancer treatment. I took a look at the ingredients, and the biggest positive I found was that they contained Arnica, which is a powerful natural remedy for healing. Although the products offered from Beterre were not exactly cheap, nothing natural ever is, I could not tolerate the rash any longer, so I knew I had nothing to lose by giving them a try.

Classified as products designed for Dry Skin, I ordered the Deep Moisture Repair for Face, All in One Facial Cleanser, and the Deeply Nourishing Body Moisture Cream. Although I tend to be a bit skeptical about the effectiveness of any product prior to use, I held out hope that these items would be the answer to all my issues.

Clear Skin Returns:

My order arrived promptly, and right away I took to using the facial cleanser with my Clarisonic every morning with a sensitive brush head since my skin was so very irritated. After cleansing, I would then apply the Deep Moisture Repair for face and held out hope that the natural ingredients would help heal my skin. Within a few weeks, the rash began to subside, which made me quite happy.

I used these products religiously throughout my remaining five rounds of chemo, and the rash never returned. Of course, my doctor inquired as to what I was using, and when I told her, I was, of course, met with skepticism since it was a natural product that was delivering the results, and modern medicine tends to look negatively down on anything natural, as that is not where their training resides.

Sadly, it seems that since the initial writing of this p0st, the Beterre skincare products are no longer available for purchase, which is sad because they were high quality and worked quite well at helping to heal the chemo rash. If I happen across a replacement, I will share it here and if you happen to have a product that you love, please feel free to share in the comments below.

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