Skin and nail care play an essential role in both prevention of lymphedema in those patients at risk of developing this condition, and in the management of existing lymphedema.
Patients who already have, or had lymphedema are susceptible to infections of the skin and nails. Lymphedematous tissues are saturated with protein-rich fluid, which serves as an ideal nutrient source for bacteria and other pathogens. Lymphedematous skin also tends to be dry and may become thickened and scaly, which increases the risk of skin cracks and fissures.
Suitable ointments or lotions formulated for sensitive skin, radiation dermatitis and lymphedema should be applied before the application of lymphedema bandages while the patient is in the decongestive phase of the treatment. Once the limb is decongested and the patient wears compression garments, moisturizing ointments should be applied twice daily.