Chemo Rash - Your Questions Answered

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More About Chemo Rash

Chemotherapy rash/Chemo acne /EGFR Rash/Acneiform Rash

There are lots of names for this unpleasant condition – the outcome is the same, sore pus filled pimples and blisters on the face, scalp, chest and back and buttocks1.

Chemo acne is the most common side-effect of one of the common treatments for cancer, being experienced by 50-100% of those going through treatment2, more specifically 65-90% of patients experience this unwelcome consequence of treatment for cancer3.  

Chemotherapy rash can be severe enough to affect the quality of life and can, in extreme cases, result in the treatment being stopped4. The pimples and blisters can be painful and itchy5.

I am not a doctor and I am not giving medical advice. You should always speak you’re your medical team when experiencing new, changed or concerning symptoms.

If your team know of your EGFR rash or other skin changes and are happy for you look after your skin, read on.


A Routine

I describe a skincare regime, ideally it should be caried out morning and night and the first step (cleanse) should be done twice. The same routine can be carried out on any area of the body. This is considered to be a facial routine but I often suggest a ‘facial’ for other areas which are experiencing a chemo rash.


The Defiant Beauty Collection

The Defiant Beauty Collection was formulated to help address acneiform rash.

The products can be used on back and body acne as well as facial acne.

Defiant Beauty Cleanse & Moisturise

Many people associate acne with oily skin and so use harsh, drying product. The causes of chemotherapy acne are very different to, for example, teenage acne, but, in neither case will an astringent product help. 

Acned skin is often oily but the over production of oil can be caused by harsh, drying products triggering an over production of oil.

This cleansing balm, our most gentle,  It contains some of our ‘less oily’ oils and butters. We aim to return balance to the skin by providing it with some ‘good’ oils, so reducing the over production of ‘sebum’ (the oil naturally produced by the skin) commonly associated with oily skin.

The balm should be massaged onto the face and removed with Defiant Beauty Exfoliating Sponge.

Defiant Beauty Cleanse & Moisturise can also be used as a face mask, simply leave it on for longer before removing with the Defiant Beauty Exfoliating Sponge. The balm becomes extra moisturising when left on the skin for a while.

The soft butters coupled with healing Calendula6 in this gentle cleanser can help to take away some of the inflammation and soreness around the affected area.

Defiant Beauty Exfoliating Sponge

This 100% natural sponge functions as a gentle exfoliator, gently removing dead skin cells from the surface of the face.

Defiant Beauty Hydrating Facial Spritz

This spritz is a key part of the chemo acne treatment. It should be sprayed onto the face after Defiant Beauty Cleanse & Moisturise. The spritz should be left to dry. This spritz has both healing and anti-bacterial properties.

Well  Being Beauty Sandalwood & Neroli Moisturiser

Apply a small amount (warmed in clean hands before application) after cleansing and spritzing.

Defiant Beauty Itchy Skin Oil

If your chemo acne is itchy, you may wish to use Defiant Beauty Itchy Skin Oil as a moisturiser – start with one drop warmed in clean hands before application. If you need more, you can add another drop.

If needed, you can apply small amounts of this light oil throughout the face.

Defiant Beauty Pillow Spray

Many experiencing  EGRF acne rash and breakouts notice that some areas are more prone to spots than others. It is likely to be as a result of a build-up of bacteria on pillows, sheets, night wear and towels. This anti-bacterial spritz should be sprayed onto bed linen and night wear every night. Bed linen should be changed at least once per week, towels daily and, in the case of back acne, clothes should be worn no more than twice before washing.

Silk Pillow Case

I cannot tell you how welcoming a silk pillow case can be. It is soft, smooth, cool and fabulous. This is the final step in looking after your sore chemo acne areas.


General Advice

Chemo Acne is nasty. It is caused by cancer treatment, not by the usual factors implicated in skin challenged by acne and spots. No matter, it is still important to look after your skin, giving it the best chance it can have to reduce the impact of the cancer drugs. There follows general advice. 

I suggest

  • Washing make up brushes frequently
  • Keeping the hair away from the face
  • Using cotton wool instead of flannels and sponges
  • Avoiding touching the face
  • Avoiding touching pets with your face

In addition, make a note of the areas in which acne appears and consider the reasons for this – is it on parts of your body that touch the sofa (I meant your back and arms), or on the side of your face that always touches the pillow? If so, Defiant Beauty Pillow Spray might help (you can use it on the sofa too).



  6. Basch, E., Bent, S., Foppa, I., Haskmi, S., Kroll, D., Mele, M., Szapary, P., Ulbricht, C., Vora, M., Yong, S., 2006. Marigold (Calendula officinalis L.): an evidence-based systematic review by the natural standard research collaboration. Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy 6, 135–159.