PURPOSE: Although topical agents are often provided during radiation therapy, there is limited consensus and evidence for their use prophylactically to prevent or reduce radiation dermatitis. METHODS: This was a multi-site, randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded study of 191 breast cancer patients to compare the prophylactic effectiveness of three topical agents (Curcumin, HPR Plus™, and Placebo) for reducing radiation dermatitis and associated pain. Patients applied the topical agent to their skin in the radiation area site three times daily starting the first day of radiation therapy (RT) until 1 week after RT completion. RESULTS: Of the 191 randomized patients, 171 patients were included in the final analyses (87.5% white females, mean age = 58 (range = 36-88)). Mean radiation dermatitis severity (RDS) scores did not significantly differ between study arms (Curcumin = 2.68 [2.49, 2.86]; HPR Plus™ = 2.64 [2.45, 2.82]; Placebo = 2.63 [2.44, 2.83]; p = 0.929). Logistic regression analyses showed that increased breast field separation positively correlated with increased radiation dermatitis severity (p = 0.018). In patients with high breast field separation (≥ 25 cm), RDS scores (Curcumin = 2.70 [2.21, 3.19]; HPR Plus™ = 3.57 [3.16, 4.00]; Placebo = 2.95 [2.60, 3.30]; p = 0.024) and pain scores (Curcumin = 0.52 [- 0.28, 1.33]; HPR Plus™ = 0.55 [- 0.19, 1.30]; Placebo = 1.73 [0.97, 2.50]; p = 0.046) significantly differed at the end of RT. CONCLUSIONS: Although there were no significant effects of the treatment groups on the overall population, our exploratory subgroup analysis suggests that prophylactic treatment with topical curcumin may be effective for minimizing skin reactions and pain for patients with high breast separation (≥ 25 cm) who may have the worst skin reactions.