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radiation burns to neck

Posts: 12
Joined: May 2010

Can anyone advise the best way to care for the radiation burned skin on the neck? Using Biafine. Also, Dr advised DOMboro soaks and Vitamin E. Is it best to remove dead skin? The pain is about "8" about 7 days out from the last treatment. Is it best to let it scab?

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Mine just turned dark and peeled similar to a bad sunburn. I just took warm showers and soft clothes to help get rid of the old skin.

Some have more sever peeling and seeping burns. Some of those use Aquaphor, and even Silvadene.

I'm sure some others will chime in on there preferred remedies.

Hang in there, only a few more to go....


CLRRN's picture
Posts: 127
Joined: Jun 2010

Hang in there....my partner used hydrogen peroxide wipes or put hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and sprayed to clean the area. Once dried, he applied Silvadene to the areas broken down (open areas) and aquaphor to the areas not open. Once cleaned he covered w/non stick pads and wrapped with gauze (kerlix). The burn areas were rubbing on his collars-we cut some shits so he could leave the neck open to air but if we went out, he dressed it up with the wrap. Both sides of his neck look amazing now. He is 6 weeks post radiation. Still looks "tan" on his neck but that's it. Outside heals first then the inside.

Mike was on a duragesic patch for pain and that worked great. He's almost off the patch-tapered down from 100mcg and now on 25mcg. Yeah!!

Stay Strong!!!

staceya's picture
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2010

It is very important that you get a wound care consult, or have your doctor to check if you should, if the wounds have any depth to them or they develop a thick or yellow waxy looking scab. They will give you further advice on whether you need to remove the dead tissue, sometimes healthy tissue cannot heal without this removal. I did have to see wound care team and to remove the dead tissue.

Greg53's picture
Posts: 848
Joined: Apr 2010

I rated my pain about the same as you - an "8". Mine was pretty bad going from a severe burn to blisters and open sores then to dead skin. I used aquafor and did not like it, but I guess it worked because the burn lasted less than 2 weeks. Stacey makes a good point to get a consult on this.

After I went thru mine, I had someone recommend using aloe vera and lavendar oil. This person swore by the lavendar oil as a cure all for any and all exposed sores. Haven't tried it yet, but might be worth looking into.


miccmill's picture
Posts: 248
Joined: May 2010

Glenn had seeping burns covering the entire area that was being radiated. They sent us home with a huge tub of Silvadene which we were told to just paint on.

I was surprised at how quickly the burns healed but like you, Glenn rated his pain at an 8. He said it was more painful than what's going on inside his throat.

Swear by the Silvadene.

Landranger25's picture
Posts: 208
Joined: Nov 2009

I used the green aloe vera sunburn gel that had the lidocaine in it. Stings when you apply it but very quickly soothes the pain. Used it every night when I went to bed as I had one spot on the back of my neck that they must have used quite a bit to get the radiation through to my tumor. By rad #33 bled and scabbed and very painful. The aloe did the trick for me. Good luck.


johnlax38's picture
Posts: 136
Joined: Aug 2010

Hi Chantil,

There is a prescription lotion that works wonders called Xclair. Ask your doctor or nurses about it, it comes in a pack of three tubes. I got terrible radiation burns around week 6 or my 8wk treatment schedule. I could not turn my neck, it hut to put my head on my pillow at night etc... Xclair takes the "heat" out and helps sluff off that old dead skin. Don't pick at it per say, let it peel up on its own and lightly brush over it with your hand. This may hurt but it gets the dead skin off. I also found using a tissue during the wiping helped too.

Xlcair...look into it. I swear by it :)

Posts: 363
Joined: Feb 2010

We used Domeboro soaks. soaked some 4x4s and placed it on my neck and let it soak for a while and when they were removed and the dead skin that was ready came off.
During treatment about my third week, the hospital had some form of cold bandage that was kept in the freezer, forgot name, that took some of the burning away.
Post treatment I had pretty close to second degree burns, my wife used aquaphor and wrapped my neck in saran wrap to keep the moisture in. Best Wishes & Prayers

davidgskinner's picture
Posts: 81
Joined: Dec 2009

Silvadene worked for me. I agree that the Radiation Oncologist or someone should be helping you with finding the pain remedy that works for you. Pain that bad should be taken care of. No need for heroics. And it is not going to get better in the next couple of weeks...
However, once the radiation effects stop you will be surprised how quickly the outside heals.

Posts: 18
Joined: Jul 2010

We were told not to let the skin scab!! It could cause scarring. You need to keep the skin moist. We put on antibacterial ointment such as neosporin or bacitracin or a generic after using saline solution soaked paper towlettes to clean the skin. No rubbing. Just apply the soaked material and leave in place for about 15-20 min. Remove - then apply the ointment and leave the skin open to the air.

At nite I repeated the soaking process. However I felt My husbands neck needed to be protected from rubbing on the pillow so I applied the ointment to 4x8 inch teflon bandages put those on his neck then on top of that I put surgical bandages and wrapped the neck in gause.

So during the day only ointment at nite ointment plus bandages. It took about 3 weeks to heal.

The teflon bandages can be ordered thru your pharmacy. We got the saline solution thru the radiation dept.

The cold bandage dave referred to feels good and cost $10.00 each. Ok if getting them in the hospital but expensive to use at home.

With this process we used my husband had no pain. The only discomfit was during the cleaning and bndaging process. The key is making sure the bandages don't get dry and stick to the skin. I highly recommend using the non stick teflon bandages.

Hope this helps.

Bigfuzzydoug's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: Jul 2010

So this may sound like a dumb question... but while you get your neck microwaved and you're getting to a nice "medium-well" texture, how do you handle shaving? That's gotta suck. I know my wiskers are the consistency of brillo.

Oh and this question is mostly just for the men. If there are any women on the board that regularly shave their neck and are having problems from radiation therapy, well... I would say you may have had some other problems to begin with. ;-p

stevenl's picture
Posts: 587
Joined: Jan 2010

Hey Doug,

Between chemo and the radiation you lose hair and it stops growing on your face, neck and the nape of your neck in back. Thus no shaving. What a relief huh? I almost completely lost my mustache but it is back now as is all the rest.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

I was pretty much smooth as a baby....LOL, which was interesting when it returned.

Anyways, unfortunately the first to return (in my case were those old pesky gray hairs in places you'd rather never come back).

Then like Steve says, actually my beard is a lot less than before, and the underside of my throat and neck on the right side (main radiation side) is non-existant....

It took awhile for about the bottom 1 1/2" on the base of my hairline in the back to grow, and it's still pretty thin back there.

LOL, OK, another uncomfortable post with my wife's photo posted up...


johnlax38's picture
Posts: 136
Joined: Aug 2010

You have to shave, wow. The radiation was my razor, I have not shaved for 3months, its great. My docs said if I do shave use electric and not a razor.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

I'm 14 months out now....during radiation I idn't have much of any to worry about either.

debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

chantil, I used Aquaphor and got immediate relief. Good luck.

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2004

Love Aquaphor

sally kay
Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2010

my neck was totally raw from radiation burning but my daughter would come every day and use aquaphor and a q tip and peel the dead skin off and use more aquaphor...i healed up very nicely with no scars or discoloration to the skin

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2004

Hope that all is well since 2010. Going through BC since October 2011. Just finished my last radiation today! Had severe 2nd and 3rd degree burns and blisters on the entire breast and under the arm. I was in total agony. It was bleeding, weeping, and burnt skin coming off. I am big busted so it was hard to let the breast air dry completely and even then when it did , when I moved it cracked and opened up again. Long story short, if you have radiation burns, go to Walmart and purchase Aquaphor! This is the most soothing and healing thing. One time use overnight and it was 50percent better. It will stain so wear old t shirts. I asked my radiology oncology team about this and they said this was a great item. Also, I soaked about 15 minutes in very tepid water at night to help take some of the heat away. I hope this helps everoe out there. God bless all!

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Is another to check out.... It's used for sever burns, I've read it is exceptional.

As for Aquaphor, my rads MD gave me a lot of samples. But I didn't care for it..too thick and kind of greasy to me. But I know that it has helped others.

Hope all is well for you now.


Posts: 38
Joined: Jan 2012

Here in Luxembourg they gave me a new treatment with a red laser which they put over me for 20 mins a day for the first week and then twice a week after that. After each session my neck would be bandaged for a few hours with Flammazine cream under it (a silver-based anti-burn cream). After 2 days of treatment it was already better. after a week all redness had gone and up to the end of my treatment I never had another problem.
I thought at the time that it was a kind of miracle as I worried alot about the burns after seeing pictures of others under treatment.
Never heard about this anywhere else though. In my opinion it should be available wherever radiation therapy is carried out.

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