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Manicure: How Can I Do This At Home During Chemotherapy And Radiation Treatments?

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Isabel Calleros describes an at-home manicure you can do to help keep your nails healthy during chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Isabel Calleros:
Those of you that love to have your nails done, you love to go get your fingers massaged, your hands massaged we are going to go over our home care manicure. There are seven simple steps, okay? So let’s start with step one.

Step one, I want you to go and I want you to really wash your hands. Do that OSHA washing. It’s a three-minute wash.

Use your nail brush, clean around the cuticle with your nail brush and clean under the nail really good while the water is running on it. I want you to use an antibacterial soap while you are washing your hands. So that’s going to be your first step.

Your second step is, is you are going to clip your fingernails. It’s recommended during chemotherapy and/or radiation to keep your nailbed clipped to the hyponychium or that’s the fat pad, or the finger pad, keep it below that.

You don’t want it over extended and the reason is because usually the nailbed becomes brittle so it is easy to catch on to things. Sometimes the nailbed is loosening up and it can easily pull off your fingernail. So keep it below that. Keep it clipped.

Then just take a disposable emery board and just lightly soften up the edges. By the way, with the clippers I always recommend that you take alcohol and spray on the clippers before you clip.

Just spray alcohol and wipe them clean. That way you know that you’ve eliminated any additional bacteria that may accumulate on to the fingernail.

So now that we’ve emery board them and we kept them soft, keep away from the corners of the nail, okay, and after that you’ve got nice clean nails. Now it’s time to work on the cuticles.

Take 100 percent virgin olive oil, that’s my all-time favorite, it’s a cure all, and apply it to the cuticle or you can also use cuticle remover. Take that wooden pusher and just kind of gently push back on the cuticle and you are going to see that the cuticle is going to soften up.

It’s not going to be hard and it’s not going to be brittle and then it’s going to allow for the nailbed in the back to breathe so that you are not going to have drier nails or the fear of it falling off.

Now we are going to do a little finger massage, little hand massage. We are going to incorporate a little pressure point and a little reflexology in there, and by doing so just load up your fingers or your hands with lotion or even your olive oil. It soaks in really well. It adds the softening to the skin as well as the nail beds.

When you begin, start with each finger as an individual. Just rotate each finger, massage it, get to the cuticle area and push it back. Go to the next finger – same thing until you’ve completed all five fingers.

The last thing that I want you to do is I want you to hit the pressure points and the pressure point is generally going to be found in the area of your hand where we have this little corner right here. Just hold on to this.

This is an anti-stress point. We need anti-stress in our life at this point. So just hold on to it, press into it, close your eyes like we did before, and just take three very deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth, okay?

And you can do that in between each area. Once you do that turn your hand over and just bend your fingers back, let it stretch, let it stretch, bounce it a little bit, okay?

And then the thumb. Take with your center of your plexy right here and just hold on to it. This shouldn’t take you more than about five minutes to do completely, okay, and that completes your hand massage.

One thing I will caution you is do not massage upwards. If you are in chemotherapy or radiation or even afterwards, you may have lymphedema which causes swelling, especially if you are a breast cancer patient and you are on the side where the cancer was on the breast.

If you massage upwards you are going to create lymph fluid to build up and it’s going to create some unnecessary swelling. So make sure that you don’t go forward or go upward; always keep it coming downward on your finger.

About Isabel Calleros:
Isabel Calleros has dedicated over 30 years to education in aesthetics and permanent makeup for both cosmetic and breast repigmentation for breast cancer recovery. As a voice for the breast cancer survivor, Mrs. Calleros wants to provide each and every woman the opportunity to know and understand their choices as they regain their femininity, womanhood and self beauty.

Isabel is a facilitator for the Look Good…Feel Better program through the American Cancer Society. She has volunteered her time at the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, Arizona, through the Women’s Cancer Support Group, along with participating on in the 2009 Breast Cancer Wellness Cruise for breast cancer survivors.

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