Discoloured Nails

JrcnJrcn Sunshine CoastMember Posts: 16
edited August 2018 in Health and wellbeing
Hi all,  

Just after some advice regarding discoloured nails due to the effects of Chemo. I have heard that either painting your nails with a dark colour can help, especially protecting them from the sunlight or just painting them with a clear moisturising varnish.
 Not sure which path to go down, any advice is much appreciated.

Thanks x


  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,039
    Hi Jrcn. I had TC chemo and painted my toenails with black nail polish. My last infusion was in mid-March and two weeks ago I lost my two big toenails and another one! Who knows? Maybe if I hadn't painted them I would have lost more.

    I used the clear on my fingernails a bit but in the end I didn't worry about it. Most of them got brown markings, they all lifted, got a ridge for each infusion and now that the brown damage has reached the top, are splitting and breaking. But I didn't lose any.

    I don't know if that's any help but that was my experience. Good luck! K xox
  • Kiwi AngelKiwi Angel Sydney, NSWMember Posts: 1,898
    I had TC chemo and painted my toenails a dark colour and then went to a nail salon and got black shellac put on my fingernails - I got it changed once during the course of my chemo and Im now 2 months post chemo and my nails seem to have survived.  they did make me put my hands in these horrible freezer mitts when I was getting one of the drugs too.
  • DoodooDoodoo Member Posts: 374
    Eek. I was told to paint mine with nail strengthener. Now I’m wondering if that is enough 
  • JrcnJrcn Sunshine CoastMember Posts: 16
    Thanks ladies for your advice I really appreciate it...its really hard to know what to do as there doesn't seem to be a straight answer as to what works. I'm om Paclitaxel atm with 10 treatments down and 2 to go, so really trying to hang in there hoping the nails won't get any worse.
  • FletchFletch Adelaide Member Posts: 102
    Hi all, just had my first chat with oncologist 2 days ago. 
    She will not let me paint or shellac my nails! No cold mittens or cold caps either !  Not fair! 
    I was gonna try everything , now Im not allowed ! Ugh !
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,039
    @Fletch How come?!!
  • FletchFletch Adelaide Member Posts: 102
    Kmakm, My Hospital doesn’t have any of the cold option machines. Painting/shellac nails was a no no because the onc needs to see how my nails are going!   I understand if there is not cold cap machine then I can’t use it but how come I seem to be the only one that can’t try saving my nails!    Typical really, I am more worried about my nails than my hair! 
    So glad I can vent on here. Thankyou.
  • FletchFletch Adelaide Member Posts: 102
    Hi Jrcn, Go for it ! Try everything! Best wishes to you for the rest of your treatment.xxx I only have to have 4 rounds, I realise how lucky I am. Look after yourself!
  • Brenda5Brenda5 Burrum Heads, QldMember Posts: 2,247
    I avoided direct sun as much as possible and wore light white cotton gloves when I had to be out. I kept the nails short and well trimmed. I avoided doing lots of hand washing of clothes or dishes. It takes months for the chemo lines to grow out.
  • JrcnJrcn Sunshine CoastMember Posts: 16
    Thanks Fletch, will do. All the best to you also and yes please vent as it helps everyone! I have one round of chemo to go next week...yay!!! In regards to the nails I've decided not to paint them and keep things natural and going to use Essential Oils to try and keep the nails healthy etc. xx

  • JrcnJrcn Sunshine CoastMember Posts: 16
    Well after a couple of weeks using Essential oils my nails are looking much better and it doesn't look like I will lose any! The colour is improving and looks like colour is growing out. Hope you girls are travelling ok xx
  • FletchFletch Adelaide Member Posts: 102
    Hey @Jrcn, so glad to hear. Is that the same for your toe nails ?if u dont mind me asking!
    I have also been venting on another thread about losing hair...turns out the hair loss has emotionally broken me more than anything! But back to nails....my nails are still strong after round 1, happy with that!
    I painted my toe nails dark and removed it before i see the onc this morning. Lol. I am pouring in the almond oil on both from body shop. 
    Which oils do you use ?
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,039
    edited September 2018
    @Fletch @Jrcn My nail damage with TC ocurred out of sight in the nailbed where the nail starts. It slowly grew into view, one horizontal ridge for each infusion. This was in addition to mid-nail crescent shaped discolouration. All my fingernails lifted but none came off. My last infusion was the 8th March and now the damage has reached the end of my fingers where the nail hits clear air. They're too weak to survive so they have all broken! I'm kind of pleased because it means soon I won't be reminded of chemo everytime I look at my fingers. I did lose three toenails, including the two big ones, despite using dark nail polish for the duration. They're going to take a little longer!

    One of my nails today:

  • JrcnJrcn Sunshine CoastMember Posts: 16
    Hi @Fletch, its good to vent so don't feel bad. I've been wearing a black cap on my head since losing my hair and a Bamboo sock (that's what I call it) when I'm cold which gets me through. My hair is starting to grow back but taking a while at the front, I think I'm just impatient. Nails - my toenails are just starting with the discolouring and its almost been 3 weeks since completing chemo. The oils I use are Doterra - I make a blend using Myrrh, Frankincense, Lemon with Fractionated coconut oil and use it every second day. 
    @kmakm that's great you didn't lose your finger nails and have finally reaching the end point with them. Yes they certainly remind you of the chemo days, I get embarrassed about mind and hide them where possible.
  • Blossom1961Blossom1961 VicMember Posts: 1,031
    Seven weeks post chemo and two toe nails are still getting darker and one is getting more tender. How long after chemo finished did everyone else find their nails stopped discolouring? 
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