• Is a "Shellac" manicure OK during chemo?

    Asked by Nanc620 on Thursday, December 6, 2012

    Is a "Shellac" manicure OK during chemo?

    I want to save my nails and was wondering if a Shellac manicure might be OK? Of course my male oncologist just looked at me quizzically ;-) I'l be receiving 4 rounds of Cytoxan and Taxotere.

    5 Answers from the Community

    5 answers
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      I attended a "Look Good, Fell Better Workshop" shortly after I started infusion therapy. They advised us not to get manicures while under treatment. They did recommend paste on color for special occasions, but to remove them as soon as we got home.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      If I were trying anything along that line (and, of course, I don't do nail polish) I would use one of the clear nail polishes which do strengthen your nails without providing any color. Wouldn't shellac yellow? And, whether clear nail polish or shellac, I'd worry about compounds penetrating the nails and ending up in my blood stream. Maybe the amount is minimal, but I wouldn't want anything messing with my blood while I'm doing chemo.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      I'd get a manicure, anything to feel better. Now, the issue is you should not get it done at a salon, as your risk of contracting a fungal infection goes up exponentially with chemo. If you have not had chemo yet, get it done. After chemo, you need to do your nails at home, with tools and polish that only you use. I gave myself mani pedis through my chemo, and it helped me greatly emotionally (hard to feel femenine when you're titless and hairless). The ACS's "Look good feel better" class helped, I highly recommend it. I think the funky colors in my toes made me feel alive and girlie, along with the idea behind the class - taking effort in my appearance was good for my overall well being.

      almost 5 years ago
    • RachaelC@StF's Avatar
      RachaelC@StF Community Outreach Coordinator 317-528-7794

      Hi Nanc620,
      The ladies said it best! (No offense Harry :) American Cancer Society offers a workshop called "Look Good, Feel Better" where they teach you all sorts of makeup tricks to battle the effects of chemo. They also review germs in the make-up, how often you should switch out your makeup during chemo, and why you should use disposable tools to put your makeup on. If you can't find a class near you, they have a website:
      In the classes I have sat through, the cosmetologists always say not to get mani/pedis during chemo, especially not at a salon. Using tools and nail polish that other people have used as well - even if they are cleaned in between - still puts you at risk for infection that your body might have a hard time fighting. Like Nomadicme said below, it's fine if you want to do your own mani/pedi, just make sure you soak your tools before and after you use them. Also, in the classes I've sat through, the cosmetologists have advised not to use nail polish either, because that polish can trap germs beneath it that then can make you sick as well. Just passing along what I've experienced, hope it helps!

      almost 5 years ago
    • Nanc620's Avatar

      Bravo Harry for stepping up to this question!! Thanks, also for your answer...though I do remember with much fondness when my husband allowed our daughter to "do" his nails; including his toes!

      Thanks ladies, as well...I'm feeling a bit bummed because my LGFB class didn't address much in terms of manis/pedis...I am going to take Nomadicme's advice and get both the day before chemo begins. Even though my toes will be buried in socks for the winter I will know they are shiny ;-) I'm just looking for something other than immersing my hands and feet into ice baths to save my nails. This sure is an adventure, isn't it?

      almost 5 years ago

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