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Save Your Skin Series: Rash

skin-careWelcome to the Save Your Skin Series, by Morag Currin.  In the coming weeks, Morag will expertly walk us through the issues that we may encounter with our skin as a result of cancer treatment. Please feel free to email your questions or comments.


Part One:  Save Your Skin Series


Today’s topic is:  Rash – acne-like rash on scalp, face, neck and decollete (chest) and upper back.   Morag is joined by special guest Jeanna Doyle.


This papular/pustular rash resembles acne, however, it is not acne, and it will not respond to acne medications.  It can itch and hurt, and can leave slight reddish marks on a lighter skin, while darker skins may incur dark spots known as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.  It occurs in about 80%-90% of people who have been treated with biological (targeted) therapy drugs (EGFR inhibitor drugs) such as Erbitux, Tarceva, Tykerb, and with some cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs such as Cytoxan, Taxotere, Taxol. This rash occurs within the first one to two weeks in 90% of people who have been treated with these drugs.

Management of cutaneous side effects:

A fragrance-free gentle cleanser can be used prior to application of topical corticosteroid and intake of antibiotic, and can be followed by a rich moisturizer and sunscreen, before the rash manifests.   Continue with this regimen during treatment.


Side effects from some of the drugs that help combat this rash:

Corticosteroids can present with side effects such as acne, thinned skin, thinning of bones, fluid retention, excess facial hair, easy bruising, adipose tissue at base of neck/abdomen.   Avoid contact where corticosteroid drug has been applied to avoid absorption. Antibiotics such as Tetracycline require use of sun protection.  Topical antibiotics can also irritate and dry the skin.  Pain relievers may be prescribed if pain is experienced from this rash.  Everyone responds differently to pain relievers which can include itching on the skin, drowsiness or dizziness, bruising and bleeding and possibly fluid retention.


Management of Physical Appearance

The airbrush technique proves superior for makeup application on irritated skin or skin rash. During application, a fine mist of product is lightly sprayed onto the skin without direct contact from hands, brushes or sponges. The sheer application allows the skin to breathe, offering a more natural look that minimizes instead of masking the condition. Minimal to no direct contact with the skin offers protection from further irritation.


When airbrushing is not an option, mineral powder applied with a large soft stippling brush works well. Applied sparingly, this technique produces sheer coverage which neutralizes the skin condition and has the effect of an airbrush.


The application of liquid makeup on irritated skin or skin rash is not advised. Liquid makeup requires complete coverage and direct, frequent contact with the skin, which may further exacerbate the problem.


Always follow the described protocol for cleansing when using an airbrush or stippling brush. Additionally, consult with your oncologist to confirm whether you can receive makeup services.



DISCLAIMER: It is important that a person be referred to a dermatologist who specializes in dermatological issues resulting from cancer treatment.




MoragCurrinMórag Currin is a highly sought-after esthetic instructor with more than 19 years of spa industry experience and more than 10 years of training and training management experience. 

She pioneered the Oncology Esthetics® advanced training for spa professionals and has set the standard in Canada, US, Australia and New Zealand.  She is also the author of Oncology Esthetics: A Practitioner’s Guide (Allured Books 2009) and Health Challenged Skin: The Estheticians’ Desk Reference (Allured Books 2012).

Her students learn to incorporate adjustments to spa treatments specifically for people undergoing cancer therapies, and other health issues.

She continues to travel the globe with her training and expertise, helping to raise the bar in the spa industry and to open the door to all people regardless of skin type or health issues.

A contributor to many consumer and business magazines, her work has appeared in numerous national and international publications. Currin currently serves on the advisory committee of the Skin Inc Magazine Board, and the International Society of Oncology Estheticians.

Going beyond the world of esthetics, Mórag continues to reach out to those suffering from a variety of health challenges through Equine Facilitated Wellness (EFW).


JeannaDoyleJeanna Doyle:  LC MAP OE: Master Cosmetology License with certifications as a Medical Aesthetic Provider and as an Oncology Esthetician trained in corrective make-up and airbrush make-up techniques has worked in office with Plastic and Reconstructive surgeons as well as with Dermatologist and Oncologist with a strong background in fashion and advertising for print television and film. Jeanna is the founder of Suite HOPE (Helping Oncology Patients Esthetically) an initiative that provides education and support to female cancer patients with the esthetic changes that occur due to cancer treatment.


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3 Responses to Save Your Skin Series: Rash

  1. Pingback: Oncology Esthetics DEV – CKN – Save Your Skin Series: Rash by Morag Currin and Jeanna Doyle

  2. Martin says:

    Hi Karen, this information helps me a lot to get rid of this skin problem and I have been very thankful to you for providing this solution. Keep updating thankyou.

  3. focace says:

    This is great information, I will share it.

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