Nail damage is a surprisingly common side effect of cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy. Nails are a very visible part of us and so unsurprisingly many cancer patients want to cover up their nail damage with pretty nail polish and we're often asked what is the best nail polish to use during cancer treatment.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with using your existing nail polish - in fact in some regards this is actually recommended as if you have used the product before, you are unlikely to experience any allergic reactions or adverse effects - many people are wary of using a nail polish that contains 'toxic' ingredients. If you're looking for a gentle nail polish that will give your fragile chemo nails a helping hand, we recommend using a nail polish that contains silicon.
What is Silicon?
Silicon is a naturally occurring mineral. It's the second-most abundant element on earth after oxygen and it is also the third most abundant trace element found in the human body.
Silicon is found in every tissue but it’s most concentrated in the skin, hair, arteries, and nails. Compared to other micronutrients and minerals, Silicon doesn’t really get the attention that it deserves, because there is evidence to suggest that Silicon plays a major role in the resistance and flexibility of connective tissues, in protecting and strengthening the skin barrier, accelerating the healing process and improving the clinical signs associated with age as well as improving the quality of hair and nails.
Benefits of Silicon for nails
Silicon has been shown to strengthen nails, preventing brittleness and infections. Silicon improves the nail quality which results in a better protection against nail infections which is important to anyone going through cancer treatment.
There is also evidence to suggest that a lack of Silicon can lead to soft or brittle nails.
Benefits of Silicon nail polish
According to Mavala cosmetics, Silicon creates an opaque covering which provides better protection against ultra-violet radiation. Research conducted by the State University of New York shows that chemotherapy treatments (in particular taxane based treatments) increase the sensitivity of the nail to UV light and that nail damage increases with exposure to sunlight. In order to protect nails from UV radiation, many people paint their nails with a dark coloured polish, but if you're not a fan of the darker shades, using a nail polish enriched with Silicon can still offer UV protection with a lighter shade.
In addition, the fact that silicon enriched nail polish creates an opaque covering can also help to camouflage any hyperpigmentation in the nail which is another common side effect of chemotherapy treatment.
Silicon nail polish manufacturers
Manufacturers of nail polish have been ditching the harmful ingredients from their nail polish for a while now, but some are also starting to include Silicon in their formulations in order to help strengthen and protect nails - you heard it here first!
MÊME is a french dermo-cosmetic brand entirely dedicated to patients experiencing the side effects of cancer treatments. MÊME's range of nail polishes contain ingredients of natural origin and essential strengthening ingredients such as Silicon and Castor Oil.
EyeCare Cosmetics is another french brand offering a complete range of skincare and make-up especially suited to sensitive skin. EyeCare Cosmetics offer a range of nail polish with a silicon and urea formula to strengthen and protect the nail and to fight against dryness.
Mavala is a Swiss skincare and beauty brand with a range of nail polish containing fortifying silicon to improve the quality of the nails.
CancerPal stocks a range of MÊME silicon nail polishes as well as a full range of products to help care for fragile chemo damaged nails which can be found in the Nails, Hand & Feet section of the CancerPal MarketPlace.
Further information on how to look after your nails when going through cancer treatment can be found in our Guide to nailcare during chemotherapy.