Online Learning Center

Managing Skin Changes


Managing Skin Changes

You and your doctor may have a treatment plan in place to treat your CTCL and help relieve your symptoms. But there are other things you can do to help yourself feel better.

  • Oral medicines and topical creams
  • Talk with your doctor about over-the-counter and prescription medicines that may help relieve skin discomfort, such as heat sensitivity, dryness, cracking, flaking, or severe itching.   These include cooling lotions, creams, and antihistamines.


Symptom Treatment




Lotions and Creams
Severe itching Antihistamines and other medicines



Baths and skin care

Oatmeal baths may feel soothing to your irritated skin. You can buy oatmeal bath products at your local pharmacy. Bathing or showering in lukewarm (not hot) water with mild soap or cleanser also helps soothe the skin. Bubble-bath products and after-bath powders may cause your skin to itch more, so it is best to avoid using them.  Rinse yourself completely and pat (do not rub) your skin lightly to dry. Applying moisturizer after bathing is very important. It can help care for your skin and prevent dryness and itching. Talk with your doctor or nurse about a moisturizer for you.

Try switching to a very mild laundry detergent. Some commercial detergents and fabric softeners may irritate sensitive skin. Try adding vinegar (1 teaspoon per quart of water) to your laundry rinse cycle. This helps remove all the soap from your clothes, which also may help lessen skin irritation.

Wearing loose-fitting, lightweight clothing can help cut down on skin irritation and itching.



Itch relief
Try applying ice or a cool, damp washcloth to areas of your skin that are especially itchy.  Rubbing your skin and applying pressure to the skin are better for your skin than scratching.  Talk with your doctor about medicines that may help relieve itching, such as antihistamines or antianxiety medicines.

Sun protection
Too much sun can be damaging to one’s skin.  Use sunscreen. Wear a cap or hat with a brim.  You also may need to wear long sleeves and long pants year-round. If you receive light therapy as part of your treatment, your doctor may tell you to wear UV-blocking sunglasses.  For some people with CTCL, small amounts of sunlight may be good for the skin. Talk with your doctor to learn if this is right for you.

English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

This is an automatic translation service and therefore the
Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation is not responsible
for any potential translation inaccuracies.