Protecting the New Skin You're In: Post-Efudex Tips
Last updated: April 2023
Efudex is a big deal. Despite what many of us hear from prescribing physicians--it’s can be a real ordeal. From the itching and burning sensation during treatment to the withdrawal-type effects of the healing stage, Efudex brings with it a long list of questions. It is difficult to believe that a cream applied to the skin can be so powerful and cause the mind to spin with questions. One question I have seen asked over and over in online forums involved healing after Efudex.
Healing after Efudex: your tender, new skin
If you are using Efudex now or gearing up to start treatment, you will soon realize that the area following treatment is nothing like it was when you started. Healing after Efudex can be hard! You may, in fact, wonder if your skin will ever look normal again. While it takes some time, several weeks to a few months for most, your tender new skin will slowly return to normal.
I've finished my Efudex treatment. What's next?
Your doctor may or may not address the next steps with you. From discussions I have had with friends and other skin cancer patients, it seems we all receive varying levels of advice for healing after Efudex. Some doctors will go into explicit detail about what to expect after the last application, and others tend to leave things with, “You’ll have nice new skin hopefully free of precancers.” Many of us fail to hear what we need to do to protect that new skin as it heals. The following steps can be taken to take treat your new skin:
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!
I can’t say enough about sunscreen. I prefer mineral sunscreens to chemical-based ones, and using sunscreen to protect your tender new skin is a must. This area will be sensitive for a while, and the last thing you want is a sunburn on an area you just worked so hard to get healthy.
Your skin may tend to be dry and flaky for several weeks once you start the healing after Efudex. Find a nice, mild moisturizer that won’t create an excess amount of oil on the skin. Don’t be surprised if you see a pimple or two pop up in the treated area during healing. I have noticed that my skin is much oilier while healing and moisturizing. I prefer Vanicream Lite Lotion to all others and use it several times throughout the day for several weeks following my last application of Efudex.
Have any persistent, long-lasting pimples checked by your dermatologist as skin cancers can take many forms.
Don’t pick! We have heard it all our lives, but it’s very true. Picking at any sore or scab can lead to unwanted scars. Your skin, though it may be scabbed over in many places, will heal nicely if treated gently and protected. Resist the urge to pick at the scabs the healing process creates. Moisturizing should help reduce the roughness of the scabs and help you focus less on the urge to pick at them.
The more you protect your healing skin, the better you will feel. Try wearing a cap, scarf, or UPF clothing to cover your nice, new skin. The healing stage moves fairly quickly once you make it past the first week post-treatment, but the redness and tender feeling can persist for a while. Keep your skin covered when venturing out. You will greatly reduce the risk of sunburn and protect it from accumulating new sun damage.
Your skin after healing from Efudex is fragile!
Keep in mind, redness will likely persist, and you may want to baby that area for a good while. Healing after Efudex can be emotional, difficult, confusing, frustrating, and uncomfortable. When in doubt, give your doctor a call. Your medical providers can answer questions that arise post-treatment. You put a lot of work into healing--protect your investment!
Tell us about your experience post-Efudex and how you protect your new skin! Leave a comment below!
Do you sunscreen in the fall?