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Black Nail Polish Trick For Chemo Patients

Up until recently I’ve been visiting a family member in the hospital fairly regularly and one day while waiting for the elevator, I happened to notice an older woman was wearing black fingernail polish. This struck me as unusual since that’s not typically the color of choice for a woman her age.

She noticed I was checking them out (I wasn’t staring, honest!) and smiled. She told me that she wears it because it helps protect them from chemo treatments…and of course, being a Tipnut, I had to check that out ;).

Here’s what I’ve learned:

It’s well known that hair loss can happen when receiving chemotherapy, but did you know that nail damage or loss can also happen?

It’s especially common with breast cancer patients and those treated with drugs from the taxane group since one side effect of the drug can be sensitivity to sunlight (which is what could be affecting the nails).

Not only can it be painful when nail beds are bare and unprotected (from loss), infections can also happen and this can be dangerous especially when one’s immune system is low.

The theory is that by applying a coat of black (on both fingers and toes), it can help block out the light. Apply at least two coats and keep it on as long as possible. Instead of removing it when it’s damaged or chipped, just apply a fresh coat over top. The acetone in polish remover can be harsh, especially when your body is more sensitive during this time.

Why not wear acrylics? Apparently it’s not recommended to do so and medical staff will advise you to remove them before treatment (likely because they can trap and harbor bacteria), however polish seems to be just fine.

For added protection, try regularly rubbing in olive oil or tea tree oil.

Does this trick work? I really have no way of knowing for sure but because the cost and effort are minimal, I’d consider it worthwhile trying.