Saturday, 23 April 2011

Nail It

I need a Handover. Not like my holiday cover at work picking up where I left off - no, I mean like a makeover, but for my poor hands.

I've mentioned it before, but aside from assaulting all my hair, my eyebrows, my lashes, giving me luggage under my eyes, giving my skin a delectable yellow tinge on off days, and various other beauty challenges, chemotherapy won't let my hands and nails off the hook. Happily though, these are damn easy to rectify, or at least camouflage until the beauty assault stops.

I'd heard some nail horror stories - my bad, I looked at some forums, I did a bit of internet trawling (when will I learn?) and was less than delighted to hear my nails would either go brown, go blue, or fall off. But, and it might be down to the juicing, the diet, the Life Mel honey or just good luck, mine haven't done any of these things. I think with 2 cycles left I can safely think (hope! hope!) they won't either.

Instead they developed weird horizontal white lines, and then, I'm guessing with accumulation of treatment, worse white blotches and a funny yellow jaundice tinge to match my skin (only sometimes - that fake fake tan is still making an appearance too).

Back to the internet - the horizontal lines are actually pretty cool. They're called Muehrcke's Lines, and basically mark a period of metabolic stress on your body - that would be the chemotherapy then. I think of them like tree rings, ageing my treatment progress. I currently have 6 lines on each nail, so that works out. The white blotches are nail lifting, which I don't like to think about too hard, and instead cover with nail varnish. See? Easiest solution ever. A few forums even suggest painting nails helps, as sunlight can make them worse. I asked Pat, my chemo nurse, who rubbished it, but if painting them pretty pink is medically advantageous too, then that's a happy side effect.

I don't think these tips can hurt though, so I'm keeping up my Handover regime thus:

Homeoplasmine and several hundred applications of E45 cream per day for skin dryness and, ew, peeling.

Cuticle oil around nail bed to keep nails and skin moist too, and I keep them short all the time - but I always did that anyway. (Except when I had an illicit fling with the Vietnamese Nail Bar at the end of my road - against all better judgement or beauty editor - i.e. my own - advice. I just loved bargainous nail extensions...)

Nails Inc Air Street. This is an oxygenating rescue treatment for damaged or weak nails, with all sorts of amazing ingredients and formulas to fix poorly nails and make them basically amazing. I use it as a base coat every time I change my nail polish, or alone if I'm not wearing any.

Colour. Yey, the fun part. Nail colour is something anyone can do and any colour can be done. I'd say in this instance skip dark colours, they stain your nails further, they make them look shorter and they're a faff to put on perfectly - and who needs any extra faff? I'm a bit obsessed with pink, (seriously, I have pink saucepans), but I think I've found the perfect one: Ciaté Paint Pots in Fun Fair. Two coats easily make my nails look normal again, simple.

A much more digestible beauty solution than wig wearing, or eyebrow drawing-on, hey?


  1. Sophie, first of all: thank you for writing this blog.

    Second of all, the nails! No idea if it works for chemo related nail troubles, but my nails have always been atrocious (ridges, white lines and blotches aplenty, plus constant splitting) and one product I found helped was Nailtek Formula II Foundation.

    You probably know this product, but if not, it's a conditioner that can be used as a base for nail varnish and it makes the nails much stronger (even just after application, it just sort of glues the layers of nail together).

    Worth a go if you can be bothered - then again, a layer of colour will cover up the worst of nail sins anyway ;) All the best!

  2. Try Pink nail varnish that always makes me feel better about myself.

  3. Your positivity is just amazing, girl! I'm happy to hear that. I love how you reason the lines as being a growth symbol, like a tree. Love the color of the nails, by the way!