11 Tips for Better Nail Care During Chemotherapy

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Clip your nails short. Imperfections show up less in short nails.

Don't cut your cuticles. Use cuticle remover cream or gels and push your nails back gently.

Don't bite your nails or cuticles, particularly on the hand on the same side as your affected breast. If you have a hard time stopping, consider wearing thin white cotton gloves around the house to help you break this habit.

Massage cuticle cream into the cuticle area daily to prevent dryness, splitting, and hangnails.

Wear gloves while doing chores such as washing dishes. Excessive exposure to water can lead to fungal infections of the nail bed.

Wear nail polish to help keep nails strong and protected from the environment (and looking nice, too). If your nails are very dry or falling off, you might want to consider a nail moisturizer instead of polish.

Dry nails can become weaker or more brittle during chemotherapy treatment. To take off polish, use non-acetone-based remover — it is less drying than acetone remover.

Don't use acrylics or other nail wraps. Fake nails can trap bacteria that may cause infection.

Bring your own instruments if you have a professional manicure, regardless of how the salon cleans theirs.

Ask a professional manicurist for more information on daily home care to keep your nails healthy and strong.

Alert your doctor to any signs of inflammation or infection.

Up next: 6 Tips to Ease Skin Sensitivity

Learn more about nail changes that can happen during chemotherapy.

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