Changes to your nails

Some treatments for blood cancer may change the usual look and feel of your nails and can cause discomfort. There are ways to manage this to reduce discomfort and improve the appearance of your nails.

Following treatment, nails can also become damaged, causing them to become fragile, weak or ridged, in some cases falling off completely during chemotherapy.

To many people the thought of losing your nails can seem frightening, however if taken care of properly you can try to reduce the discomfort and make sure your nails return to their healthy state. You can also try out techniques to hide the damage and the changed appearance.


What you can do

1. If you are suffering from damaged nails you should avoid applying false nails as this can cause more damage and in some cases can cause your entire nail to fall off.

2. Keep nails short to reduce breaking of fragile nails. You should also use a specialist nail strengthener.

3. To reduce the flaking of dry nails, you can use a specialist nail oil to try to hydrate them encouraging them to not break so easily.

4. If you suffer from discoloured nail beds, you can disguise this by using a darker nail varnish over the top.

5. For ridged nails you should also use a hydrating nail oil and try using a dark glittery varnish to try to camouflage the ridges.

6. To help general nail problems, applying natural nail oil regularly from the beginning of chemotherapy can help to control the nail-related side effects of the treatment.

7. There are also reasons to suggest that cooling the nails whilst undergoing chemotherapy can help to reduce nail damage and side effects. This can be done through the use of cooling gloves and slippers, which involves wearing on the hands and feet for up to 45 minutes at a time before they have to be re-cooled.


Published: Feb 2016

Next planned review: Feb 2018