Have you ever heard of 'your hands are your calling card'? Then it is good to know that certain chemotherapy is not so nice for your nails. In this blog we want to reflect on 10 tips to keep your nails as good as possible during chemo.

Your nails can also be damaged during chemo Taxotere, Taxol and related chemo with taxanes as the main component cause the most problems. However, the side effect varies; your nails may discolor, become brittle and dry or, on the contrary, soft and weak.

This makes it difficult to keep them whole. Depending on the effects on your nails, it is referred to as breaking off, crumbling, peeling, splitting and possibly also losing weight. This applies to both hand and foot nails and can also be painful.

The sooner you know if the chemotherapy you need can damage your nails, the better. Then you can take preventative measures to prevent the worst. So ask your doctor or nurse!

1. Your nails recover very slowly

After your chemotherapy has stopped, it may take a long time (1 year) before your nails will be themselves again. Keep this in mind when you decide whether or not to do something about it during your treatment. Care therefore remains important. For example, use the Jennifer Young nail mask. Click here to view it

2. Avoid wounds on your nails

Good nail care is especially important with lymphedema. Well, you might not think that 1-2-3, but wounds on your nails can infect. Especially because chemo lowers your resistance. When your armpit glands are removed or irradiated, wounds on your hands increase the risk of infection. Avoid wounds, the following tips will certainly help you.

3. Cold protects

The colder your hands and feet are during the administration of the chemo, the less its effect on your nails. Some hospitals have cooling gloves available for this. Alternatives that you can arrange yourself are icepacks or dip in cold water. Always discuss this with your nurse first.

4. Nail hardener is usually NOT the right remedy

The most well-known 'solution' is nail hardener, but please be aware of this and read the following carefully first. Only if you get weak and flexible nails from chemo is nail hardener without formaldehyde but with calcium a solution. In all other cases (breaking off, crumbling, dry) the formaldehyde, which is found in many nail hardeners, only makes your nails brittle. So don't!  Formaldehyde will make your nails lose flexibility and they will break and split faster. With a stiff and rigid nail plate, the nail will break or crack sooner.

The transparant top and base coat of Jennifer Young, can be a solution, because it doen't contain formaldehyde.

5. Nail oil for dry, brittle nails

When chemotherapy causes splitting and breaking nails, they primarily need hydration. That means good and often grease your cuticles and nail surface (3-4 times a day!) And use as little nail polish remover as possible (without acetone). Also don't forget the nails of your feet. In the webshop we have Jennifer Young's Nail Oil, works very well and takes care of your nails: Click here to view the nail oil

6. Or a nail mask for dry and brittle nails

If you have dry or brittle nails, extra hydration is needed. In addition to nail oil, a nail mask can be a solution. You have to let the nail mask absorb for about 10 minutes, but you only have to apply it once a day. It stimulates nail growth and hardness and is demonstrably effective with brittle nails. It makes the nails stronger and prevents the nail from splitting.

7. Gel nails during chemotherapy ?

Our advise, don't do it, because of the higher risk of infection. The nails easily harbor dirt and this gives a bigger infection risk. And infection we want to avoid, especially with lymphedema.

8. Protect sensitive nails

Your nails can become sensitive and especially hurt when touched and bumped. Impact can also cause a nail to become loose or let go. It can help to wear patches around your fingertips as a cushion.

PLEASE NOTE: always use patches with a wound pad so that it does not stick to your nail itself! First put a gauze on it and only then the plaster is a safe solution. Wearing thin cotton gloves can also help.

9. No more nail biting

Now is a good time to stop nail biting. This makes the damage to your nails worse and the wounds that can be caused by biting infect faster than normal.

10. Take care of your nails daily

That is not a luxury but a necessity during your treatment. In addition to the tips above, you can keep your nails clean and in good condition this way:

  • keep your nails short (not over the tip of your finger or toe)
  • avoid cutting fraying cuticles
  • rub your nails, cuticles and hands several times a day with a nail oil, nail mask or special hand balm (especially before you go to sleep)
  • wear protective gloves when washing dishes and gardening to prevent wounds and infection

Do you have any tips against side effects from chemo that are useful to you? Help others with it and pass them on by responding to this message. Thanks in advance on behalf of all readers!