Megavoltage x-ray beams exhibit the well-known phenomena of dose buildup within the first few millimeters of the incident phantom surface, or the skin. Results of the surface dose measurements, however, depend vastly on the measurement technique employed. Our goal in this study was to determine a correction procedure in order to obtain an accurate skin dose estimate at the clinically relevant depth based on radiochromic film measurements. To illustrate this correction, we have used as a reference point a depth of 70 micron. We used the new GAFCHROMIC dosimetry films (HS, XR-T, and EBT) that have effective points of measurement at depths slightly larger than 70 micron. In addition to films, we also used an Attix parallel-plate chamber and a home-built extrapolation chamber to cover tissue-equivalent depths in the range from 4 micron to 1 mm of water-equivalent depth. Our measurements suggest that within the first millimeter of the skin region, the PDD for a 6 MV photon beam and field size of 10 x 10 cm2 increases from 14% to 43%. For the three GAFCHROMIC dosimetry film models, the 6 MV beam entrance skin dose measurement corrections due to their effective point of measurement are as follows: 15% for the EBT, 15% for the HS, and 16% for the XR-T model GAFCHROMIC films. The correction factors for the exit skin dose due to the build-down region are negligible. There is a small field size dependence for the entrance skin dose correction factor when using the EBT GAFCHROMIC film model. Finally, a procedure that uses EBT model GAFCHROMIC film for an accurate measurement of the skin dose in a parallel-opposed pair 6 MV photon beam arrangement is described.
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