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Side Effect: Skin flaking

What is Skin flaking?

Skin flaking is a condition where the skin sheds or peels off in small or large pieces. It is usually caused by a loss of moisture in the skin, leading to dryness and irritation. Skin flaking can occur anywhere on the body, but is most common on the face, scalp, hands, and feet.

What does Skin flaking look like?

Who gets Skin flaking?

Patients with cancer undergoing radiation therapy or chemotherapy can experience damage to the skin, causing dryness, irritation, and flaking.
Some targeted therapies that can commonly cause skin toxicities, including flaking skin, include:

EGFR inhibitors:

VEGF inhibitors:

MEK inhibitors:

mTOR inhibitors:


How to prevent Skin flaking

How to treat Skin flaking

Treatment options for skin flaking in patients with cancer may include:

Common medicated creams that are used include ammonium lactate and salicylic acid.

In more severe cases, the causative agent may need to be stopped and use of topical steroids may be necessary.


Behroozian T, Goldshtein D, Ryan Wolf J, et al. MASCC clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and management of acute radiation dermatitis: part 1) systematic review. EClinicalMedicine 2023:58:101886.

Valentine J, Belum VR, Duran J, et al. Incidence and risk of xerosis with targeted anticancer therapies. J Am Acad Dermatol 2015;72(4):656-667.

Created: April 26, 2024 Updated: April 26, 2024