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Radiation Therapy Burns - Relieve pain and allow the skin to heal naturally without scars.

Updated on November 6, 2017
Peter Geekie profile image

A retired pharmaceutical and industrial chemist, author and historian specialising in military events.

Radiation Medicine and Therapy
Radiation Medicine and Therapy
Radiation burn
Radiation burn
Diagram of Sun
Diagram of Sun
Nuclear fission or explosion
Nuclear fission or explosion
Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy
Results of severe sunburn
Results of severe sunburn
Very unwise sunburn
Very unwise sunburn

We are all exposed to radiation in various forms, both natural and from electrical devices, for most of the time. This occurs from the sun during the day or on holiday, natural radiation (Radon from granite stone), microwaves, TVs or computer screens and cell phones, to a lesser extent.

However, there are occasions when some of us are unlucky enough to suffer from cancer or similar and have to undergo radiation therapy. Exposure to concentrated radiation sources, X-rays (also known as Roentgen Rays), Cobalt therapy and the like can have an unpleasant side-effect of radiation burns to the skin localised to the area treated.

Firstly we need to determine what kind of radiation you've been exposed to. Common sunburn is the most experienced type of radiation burn and is due to exposure to ultraviolet-B rays that burn the tissue (sub-dermal) under the skin. This burn is usually characterised by an overall red inflammation on exposed parts of the skin. As with any other burn, sunburn can be a first, second or third degree, with the worst burns raising blisters and leaving scars after healing. Sunburn feels hot and painful and the best way to successfully treat sunburn is to help the heat escape by cooling the burned area.

When undergoing medical treatment there will be specific patterns of burns from radiation therapy. Radiation burns from therapeutic X-ray and radiation treatment appear specifically where the radiation has penetrated the skin to attack the target cells. A red, inflamed area appears, often with small sores scattered surrounding the target zone. Although the care taken in medical radiation has improved greatly, patients who must have repeated treatment or X-rays often develop these burns.

There is no one single approach to dealing with these burns, but a combination of treatments can help enormously.

I will start with a formulation known to be able to help counteract the effects of radiation therapy. It is known as “Dr Westlake’s Formula”

Mix 3.5gms of sea salt with 100ml distilled water. Put into a 10ml dropper bottle 2 drops each of the following Bach Flower remedies: Cherry Plum, Gentian, Rock Rose, Star of Bethlehem, Vine, and Walnut and Wild Oat. Top up the bottle with the sea salt solution. Ingest 2 drops 3 or 4 times each day or add 10 to 15 drops to a bath.

Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory and 500mg 3 to 4 times taken daily (preferably starting before the treatment) can help. Indeed taken after the initial dose of radiation can help eliminate some of the burns and blistering associated with radiation treatment.

Aloe Vera gel for chronic radiation burns is an established treatment, to stop keratosic development and even reverse the keratosic tendency of typical chronic radiation burns if started early and continued

Another simple natural treatment for burns is to make a soothing aromatherapy mist — use 2 drops each of Neroli and Lavender essential oil in 2 ounces of distilled water, spring water or Aloe Vera juice. Put in a spray bottle and mist over burns. In addition, if you have an Aloe Vera plant you can just break off a leaf and gently rub the gel into the burnt skin. Do not do this if the skin is broken or bleeding.

Blue Yarrow oil treatment. To make an aromatic mist: Use a 2 oz atomizer spray glass bottle add distilled water. Add 5 drops each of therapeutic grade essential oil of Yarrow, Blue Tansy and German Chamomile. Allow this mixture to stand for a minimum of 2-3 hours. Shake first and spray a light mist across the radiation burn area. Repeat 3-4 times each day, or as needed for pain relief and to help the healing process. This treatment can reduce the pain and swelling for many patients with first and second-degree radiation burns.

This is an expensive oil but if you add Helichrysum essential oil to your atomizer misting bottle blend it will improve the efficiency of the basic radiation burn treatment formula.

Essential oils – make up a light massage oil using German Chamomile, Blue Tansy and Lavender therapeutic grade essential oil in coconut carrier oil. Apply very gently to the burnt skin and the coconut oil will be quickly absorbed.

Emu oil has a history of helping burnt skin heal more quickly when applied gently to the area, as does Rose Hip Oil.

Tamanu oil is a remarkable topical healing agent, with skin healing, antineuralgic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic and antioxidant properties. Again apply gently to the affected area.

As with thermal burns or scalds, a therapeutic quality Lavender Oil applied directly to the burn will take away the pain, reduce blistering and stop any infection.

Sometimes the burns will become infected. However, the oils mentioned will stop the infection although your doctor may wish to use a course of antibiotics.


Essential oils to avoid when you have cancer:

Aniseed, Basil , Bay, Clove, Cinnamon, Fennel, Ho leaf, Laurel, Nutmeg and Star anise.

Essential oils to avoid when you have estrogen (oestrogen) dependant cancers:

Aniseed, Citronella, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Lemongrass, Star anise, Verbena

Essential oils to avoid when you have skin cancers and melanomas:

Bergamot and all sun sensitizing oils (mostly citrus)

As a general rule avoid excessive exposure for extended time to the sun and work with the doctors re nuclear medicine.

I hope this has given you some help, but in all cases discuss the matter with your doctor if you have any doubts or you experience any reactions or irritations.

Radiation Therapy

Have you undergone radiation therapy and suffered burns ?

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© 2012 Peter Geekie


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    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 4 months ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Christine,

      I was so sorry to hear of your mum, cancer is hard enough without the extra pain. Painkillers are essential, but natural remedies can give great relief.

      kind regards Peter

    • profile image

      Christine 4 months ago

      My mum has skin cancer but the treatment is causing a lot of soreness which is distressing her. Having read your hub I will try some of the treatments suggested as her doctor can only prescribe stronger and stronger pain killers.