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Side Effect: Dry Skin

What is Dry Skin?

Dry skin, also known as xerosis, is a common skin condition that occurs when the skin loses moisture and becomes dehydrated. Sometimes this is because the skin has been damaged and is not able to retain moisture.

What does Dry Skin look like?

Dry skin can cause a variety of symptoms, including itching, flakiness, redness, cracking, pain, and roughness.

Who gets Dry Skin?

Dry skin can affect anyone, but some people are more likely to have it than others. Factors that can contribute to dry skin include aging, genetics, low humidity, cold weather, hot showers or baths, harsh soaps or detergents, poor nutrition, dehydration, and certain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, and eczema.

Certain cancer treatments can also cause dry skin, these include:

How to prevent Dry Skin

A few effective measures to help prevent dry skin include:

It is important to discuss any potential side effects of cancer treatments with a healthcare provider, as they may be able to recommend strategies for minimizing dry skin.

How to treat Dry Skin

Treating dry skin in cancer patients typically involves using topical moisturizers which can help restore hydration to the skin and reduce itching and irritation. In some cases, prescription-strength moisturizers or other medications may be necessary to manage severe dry skin.
It is important for patients with cancer to discuss any skin concerns with their healthcare provider, as they can provide individualized recommendations based on the person’s specific needs and medical history.


1) Deutsch A, Leboeuf NR, Lacouture ME, et al. Dermatologic Adverse Events of Systemic Anticancer Therapies: Cytotoxic Chemotherapy, Targeted Therapy, and Immunotherapy. 2020. 2020 ASCO Educational Book

2) Fabbrocini G, Cameli N, Romano MC, et al. Chemotherapy and skin reactions. Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research. 2012;31:50

Created: January 4, 2024 Updated: January 23, 2024