Chemotherapy takes a toll on your nails. Plus, if you've had underarm lymph node dissection (with mastectomy or lumpectomy), taking care of the nails on your affected hand may prevent lymphedema.
What chemotherapy does:
1. Dries out and makes your nail more brittle.
2. Your nail may even separate from the nail bed. Be extremely careful with hand hygeine; developing an infection in the exposed nail bed or underneath a loose nail may lead to lymphedema.
3. Cuticles will become loose and dry.
4. Nails will develop lines corresponding with chemotherapy treatment
What you can do:
1. Clip your nails short. Long nails are harder to keep clean and beautiful.
2. Don't cut your cuticles. Push them back gently or use cuticle remover cream. Don't let manicurists cut your cuticles, either. Keep the cuticles well-moisturized - they are your fingers' defense against germs.
3. Wear gloves when doing chores that expose your hands to water, such as washing dishes. Excessive exposure to water may lead to fungal infections.
4. Don't wear acrylics or other fake nails. These can trap bacteria on your nail and lead to infections.
5. If you get your nails professionally manicured, bring your own tools.