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Did you lose your nails?

sweetvickid's picture
Posts: 459
Joined: Nov 2009

My nails look really bad and I was wondering how to know if they are going to fall off. first they gat these dark (blood) fings across them and now they are turning white like they are no longer attached underneath. Should I start taping them down?

Kathy09's picture
Posts: 99
Joined: Jun 2009

Nope just let them go, they will get worse looking I am still waitng on mine, it has been about since November they still look bad. cant get fake ones on because there is nothing for them to adhere to. Just another fun part of the process.

Sam726's picture
Posts: 233
Joined: Sep 2009

I have a few that seem to be pulling away from the finger underneath and turning white at top of nail...I am just clipping as they grow. I had last treatment Dec 22nd..hopefully it wont get worse.

Kat11's picture
Posts: 1931
Joined: May 2009

My last treatment for chemo was late November. My nails turn kinda black & blue and they hurt. Then they turned white and have lines and split easy. My nails are still this way today. I have tried everything to try and get them strong again, but I have had no luck. I did lose 2 toe nails through all this. Toe nails are also white.

Deb1969's picture
Posts: 165
Joined: Aug 2009

I went to a Look Good Feel Better class, they recommended paint your fingernails with clear polish to help hold in moisture.

Posts: 3660
Joined: Aug 2009

I've never had decent nails in my life - could never keep polish or strengthener on - would just peel off. At the Look Good Feel Better I went to they gave out a sample of Nail Envy by OPI. It has been fantastic for me - not only does it not peel off, it keeps the rough areas nice and smooth. So far I have lost rt. big toe nail and left will be gone soon. Both thumb nails are looking like they will probably come off eventually but 1 would be coming part in 'flakes' if the Nail Envy wasn't on it. I ran out of the sample given and 2 fingers started splitting back from tip so I bought some and though you can see where they split it is smooth and not getting worse. It's been 3 weeks since my last weekly Taxol and on rads now so don't know what the future brings.

Good luck!

Skeezie's picture
Posts: 586
Joined: Aug 2009

sensitive and peelng nails. They have instructions on how to use it. My nails are full of ridges and some of the ridges are splitting and flaking all across. I just started using the polish and it's time to remove it and start again and I'm hoping the polish remover won't hurt them. The instructions say it won't, but they aren't dealing with this type of damage. They never turned black etc. But the bottom half of the nail looks whittish under the polish. The part of the nail past my fingers looks very white. My toenails are fine so far. I finished chemo 12-11.

The Nail Envy does smooth out the roughness but you have to keep putting it on every couple of days or else the flaking starts coming thru.

Judy :-)

Posts: 3660
Joined: Aug 2009

What works for me is instead of putting 2 coats on after taking it off is to put 3 coats on the nails with problems - smooths them out/covers smoother.

I've been using it since early Sept. 09 (before hair left LOL) and haven't had any poblems with removing it other than it takes a bit more remover and and time to get it all off as it builds up but then the directions say to take it off weekly but I take it every other week.

Something that will help with smoothing more is to put a coat of it (or any other stregthener) on nail and lay tissue paper (or perm papers) on nail while still damp and then another coat or 2 over the paper.

ElizabethB's picture
Posts: 89
Joined: Feb 2011

Which polish is it for the brittle and dry.I went on web sight they have several kind.I start my chemo on the forth so I know I will need all the help I can get thank you and God Bless

Marlene_K's picture
Posts: 508
Joined: Jul 2009

I always got my nails done before BC. My nail tech suggested removing the tips and then coating my real nails with a real thin coat of fill. My nails have held out real well. I've always had problems with my toe nails, but kept putting on anti-fungul liquid every night before bed. It would probably be a good thing if they feel off so I could start anew, but they same to be hanging in there as well.

As an added note, they gave me my own set of tools to bring with me whenever I got my nails done. I've been doing that since surgery as to avoid getting infection and they never cut my cuticles.

teresa41's picture
Posts: 468
Joined: Jun 2009

i never lost my nails it was strange mine grew really long when i started chemo and stayed hard and long for months after.

wishing you the best!


bgant's picture
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2010

ok i get my nails done also, i lived in the salon but when my nails lfted frm nail bed i cut that part off, now they r growing but i really want my free forms back, shud i or shud i wait? im not on this site alot
i feel outta place with my ugly hands, lol

laurissa's picture
Posts: 773
Joined: Sep 2009

Turning white at the tops like there coming off. Big toenails too. But they're staying on, I just keep cutting and filing them shorter. My chemo has been over for a month now and I see healthier growth at the bottoms.

Posts: 107
Joined: Jun 2009

I also had bleeding under my nails, the tops and more than mid way down are white and they are lifting off the nail bed. (finished chemo 12/8) i am going to dermatologist (next monday) about nails and radiated peeling purple skin (finishing rads - 7 more to go). Will let you know what she says.

BlownAway60's picture
Posts: 848
Joined: Nov 2009

My onc was really suprised that with all the other side efects that I had that I did not have this issue with my nails. She told me that it was a side effect of Taxotere, which I had 3 sessions of.

Hope it resolves for all of you soon.


tgf's picture
Posts: 954
Joined: Mar 2009

I finished chemo in May ... and my nails are still funky. I lost several toenails and they still aren't coming back the way they should ... and my fingernails are so brittle and splitting. I just try to keep nail thickener (like OPI Nail Envy) on them. Don't know if this is still from the chemo ... or maybe the tamoxifen ... but it is what it is.


Posts: 11
Joined: Mar 2010

I'm not going to lie, my nails did fall off but not all the way. It didn't hurt and they come back fast. Don't worry!

ppurdin's picture
Posts: 1152
Joined: Jul 2009

I was lucky and did not loss my nails.They are dry and brake easy.Good luck.

Flakey_Flake's picture
Posts: 130
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Sweet

My nails started growing in about a tenth the thickness they were at. So I ended up with a really thin nail coming in at the cuticle, and a big ridge where my thicker healthy nail was still hanging on. I got some nail strengthener, and kind of filled in the ridge, so they wouldn't catch on everything. Now that white part you were talking about has reached about the end of my fingernail. And the kind of teeter-tauter on the end of my finger, even though I have them cut as short as I can. I kept trying to use the nail strengther to sort of glue them to the thin nail, but that is now turning out to be more time than it is worth. So I use a bandaid, and put it on parallel with my finger, so the pad covers the nail and goes over the end and down the other side. Then I put adhesive tape around that, so it doesn't come off durring the day. Needless to say, you don't want to get your hands wet, so rubber gloves are my new accessory. I goes quite fashionably with my chemo hats. I take about an hour each day and remove all the tape and let my finger get some air, so they don't end up looking like petified prunes. I've had one come completely off, and there was a complete, but much thinner nail underneath. So I have one kind of normal finger. Not much good. Can't even give myself a good scratch with it. But it is there and will grow back. For now, I am the queen of klutz - between the tape and nuerapathy in my fingers I can't even hold on to a thought. Or is that the chemo brain? Oh well ... don't matter ... the sun was out today, melting all the Wisconsin snow. So brighter days are ahead. When your nails get so they are problematic, do whatever you need to fix it. Everybody has their own way that works for them, and you will find what works for you. I've heard that nail remover withouth keotone is much gentler on your nails, so use that. My guess is that you will eventually loose your nails. Just hold onto your hammer because your nail will grow back. Gosh .. I hope they don't come in all curly like some hair does ...

Moopy23's picture
Posts: 1753
Joined: Jan 2009

Flakey_Flake, thank you for your entertaining and informative post. Love your humor and great attitude--rubber gloves accessorizing your chemo hat. You are clearly a survivor! (Oh, and your User ID is perfect. My husband is from Wisconsin, and I've seen a few wintry days up there.)

Welcome to the club no one wants to join, by the way. And thanks again for the practical advice and wit.

Chrispea's picture
Posts: 123
Joined: Oct 2009

Mine are like Laurissa's... I didn't have a problem with A/C, but when I switched to Taxotere the first time, on about day 5 all my fingers hurt like heck, like they were smashed in a car door.. it was awful.

I called the onc nurse right away, and told her about that, and all the super bad muscle pain that I had... so next treatment, I got more steroids and stayed on them longer, and my fingers didn't hurt.

But, my thumbnails lifted like the white part is down real low. About half way on my right thumb and same with my left.. it happened a bit on my index finger and my middle finger right hand, left hand OK.

They are healing up, the white part is only about 1/3 down now instead of halfway.

Someone said to soak them in boiled vinegar water. What I did was boil water in a tea pot, put some in a little bowl and added some vinegar, let in cool and soaked my fingers.

Also, the next time I got chemo, I took a zip baggie and filled it with ice, and stuck my fingers in there for the first 20 minutes while the taxotere was dripping. My nails seem to not have gotten worse, so you could try that.

I also have stripes across the nail beds, I read that that can happen, it's a mark from each chemo. I'm done now, so yippee, now my nails will hopefully grow normal.

OH, one more thing I did, I kept my hands out of water, like when doing the dishes and cleaning. I bought rubber gloves, pink of course, for doing dishes and stuff, and that seemed to help. (yes, the gloves go well with chemo hats! LOL!) The water logged nails seemed to make them lift up more... and I didn't need that.

I also wore bandaids on my thumb nails because they were tender and also helped from me getting them caught on stuff and accidentally lifting them up more.

I hope that helped. :)

P.S. I didn't have any trouble with my toe nails. And every night I would rub a good hand cream into my hands, nails and cuticles. I use Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, it's about $4 and doesn't wash off, not greasy, and works great. The fisherman use it and they're in water all the time.

Mothercrone's picture
Posts: 28
Joined: Mar 2011

Hello! I just found this CSN today. I've finished my 5th round of chemo and about two weeks ago I noticed that my nails were turning blue, thickening and lifting off from the finger.

I spoke with my oncology nurses and the Cigna Health Care Nurse and they advised me that every patient is different; some will lose their fingernails, some will not, etc.

I just wanted to thank you for your helpful suggestions for nail treatment. I just ordered the OPI Nail Strengther and I'm looking forward to trying it.

I have put one coat of a frosted polish on my fingernails because they look just awful and I noticed that others noticed my nails too.

Thanks for a wonderful website.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2013

At first my nails was only dark at the bottom of a few of them but how some of the whole nails are black and several fingers on the right hand if NUMB, is this one of the side effects of Chemo.  It's really painful, especially when my fingers get cold.  Is it ok to polish my nail because they look awful. 

Margarita L's picture
Margarita L
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2013

Does anyone suggest a home remedy for this issue? my nails started lifting 2 weeks after my 6th cycle of docetaxel, herceptin & perjeta. 

one nail 'fell' off. It wasn't painful, there was another nail growing underneath and it's about halfway grown. I cut my other nails down and 2 of them appear to have a fungus infection! My oncologist referred me to a dermatologist who cannot see me for another 8 days (im trying to get in to see a different doc). In the meantime, I'm wondering if there is a home remedy that anyone has used? I researched and found that maybe soaking in white vinegar (1 part vinegar, 2 parts water) for 20 minutes a day or puting vicks vaporub works too??? sounds wierd but maybe I'll give it a go. Any proven suggestions out there? Thanks bunches!!

tasha_111's picture
Posts: 2081
Joined: Oct 2008

Yes, mine all fell off, then grew back faster than my hair!


Third_Generation's picture
Posts: 121
Joined: Apr 2010


I heard that putting an ice bag on your hands during chemo helps keep  the meds from getting into your nails.   I have no idea if this really works but maybe some others have tried this.

Good luck

Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2012

I iced and it worked. I have had no problems with my nails or with nerve damage - neuropathy, which I was warned was a real possibility. I understand from women on forums who lived in Australia, France and Canada that women there are routinely offered ice mitts during chemo to protect their nails. We are clearly behind times.

I used ziploc bags filled with either crushed ice or frozen peas - which are fun to play with - during Taxotere and put my fingers in them up to the first joints. I'd take them out if it became unbearable, then put them back. I used frozen gel pacs for my feet - yes, you can lose toenails also. I took inexpensive hardware store gel packs used for keeping food cold, froze them and during Taxotere I would put a towel on the floor, the gel packs on top of the towel, put my bare feet on the gel packs and cover my toes with two more gel packs - one across the toes of each foot.  

My surgeon keeps looking at my hands and saying in wonder, "you really didn't have any problems with your nails". Well, no, I didn't, because fortunately I found out about icing in time  to protect them.

I have also read that it is a good idea to use dark polish on your nails to protect them from light. I didn't but would have had I known then.

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