Cutaneous side effects of cancer therapy and preventive measures* recommended by MAVALA Laboratories
*These preventive measures are widely applied and recognized in hospitals, but are not yet scientifically recognized.
Among cancer therapies, chemotherapy drugs aim at destroying cancerous cells. However, as they do not act selectively, they also attack other cells, especially skin cells, hair cells and nail cells.
The frequency and severity of undesirable effects may vary from one person to another, depending on his/her individual sensitivity, but also depending on the type and dose of drug administered.
MAVALA became interested in the family of taxanes (docetaxel, paclitaxel) which are very likely to cause ungual disorders.
Nail problems that appear may be painful, but are mostly a result of the treatment undergone and are an obstacle to the everyday well-being of the patient.
By damaging the cells of the ungal matrix (nail matrix), chemotherapies can cause several types of anomalies, that may affect both fingernails and toenails, either locally or globally.
THE MOST COMMON TROUBLES INCLUDE:
- ridged, breaking, splitting, thickened nails;
- hyperpigmentations, irregular pigmentation, appearance of brown to black stains, bluish or orangish stains;
- a greenish coloration, due to a bacterial or mycotic (fungal) infection occurring between the nail plate and the nail bed;
- leukonychia or white spots on nails;
- paronychia (inflammatory swelling around the nails);
- onycholysis, often due to an infection (total or partial detachment of the nail from the nail bed, which can lead to complete loss of the nail);
- subungual haemorrhages;
- periungual paronychia (erythematous inflammation), often together with infectious complications.
In case of ifections, an appropriate medical treatment must imperatively be prescribed (antiseptics, antifungals, antibiotics).
As far as "minor" nail problems are concerned, cosmetic products may play a significant role in improving the well-being and the nail beauty of the patient.
MAVALA Laboratories recommend that you take care of your nails as follows:
Penetrating nail care
BREAKING AND SOFT NAILS
MAVALA SCIENTIFIQUE Nail Hardener (hardens the nail plate by bonding the three layers of the nail together). To be applied only on the tip of the nails (as it really hardens), maximum once to twice a week. Caution: do NOT use this product if your nails are already hard, as they would break even more. Follow instructions.
BREAKING, HARD OR DRY NAILS
MAVA-FLEX Moisturizing Serum for nails is a well-balanced concentrate product based on urea and saccharides, calcium, lemon essential oil and vitamin B5. It is a penetrating, moisturizing and fortifying care for nails. It aims at maintaining the optimum moisture balance in order to restore and preserve the flexibility of the nail plate. To be applied once to twice per week, on the whole surface of bare nails.
File your nails in the desired shape using an emery board and holding it inclined at 45° under the free edge of the nail, only with movements from side to centre of the nail. This will prevent nails from breaking on the side and splitting.
DELICATE, DRY AND FRAGILE NAILS
BARRIER-BASE is a moisturizing aqueous base that forms a protective screen between nail plate and nail polish. It prevents nail dehydration and provides nails with fortifying agents such as a cystine derivative (essential amino acid of nails, as it is the main component of keratin), silk proteins and calcium.
Important: Apply in a very thin coat and allow to dry completely before following with nail polish. This will provide a better hold of nail polish and thus extend the manicure.
In addition, we recommend using a physical protection for your nails, during therapies (unless there is a medical contraindication) with a suitable camouflage base. Thus, the night before or the day of the chemotherapy session, you can apply, after BARRIER-BASE COAT, but before your favourite nail polish:
A thin coat of MAVA-WHITE, optical nail whitener, whose main characteristic is to optically correct the effects of yellowed or stained nails thanks to the optical brighteners. It contains silica or silicon dioxide (see below), that seems to have - even though scientifically not proven -protecting properties.
Apply RIDGE FILLER in a thin coat which will even out the nail surface irregularities and make it uniform and satiny. It contains talcum (silicate of magnesium) which would make a protecting barrier, however this property is scientifically not proven.
MAVALA NAIL POLISHES
Apply two thin coats from the MAVALA MINI COLOR'S nail polish range (see list of specific shades recommended below), which are free from formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, colophane, added nickel, parabens, to isolate nails from the daylight, but also to hide the coloration of the nail that is very likely to occur.
EXTRA-MILD NAIL POLISH REMOVER
NOTE: Keep your manicure (painted nails) during the whole cancer treatment.
We suggest you continuously take care of your nails and moisturize your hands and feet daily.
PENETRATING NAIL CARE
FRAGILE, DEVITALIZED, DRY NAILS
NAILACTAN nutritive nail cream for damaged, brittle, dull nails, nourishes the nail root, prevents dehydration, helps restore the elasticity of the nail plate and thus, increase the resistance of the nail. Apply NAILACTAN every night, massage nail root and nail contour towards the heart. It is not necessary to remove nail polish to apply this product. However, once a week, we recommend that you apply it on bare nails, so that the nail plate also benefits from its nourishing and emollient properties.
VERY DRY SKIN
MAVA+ Hand Cream relieves irritated hands, repairs and protects very dry and damaged hands. This cocoon treatment contains a botanical complex with patterson's curse, sunflower oil and heart seed, which forms a protective and film-forming shield. Fragrance free, therefore suitable for sensitive skin.
We also recommend our specific daily treatment to nourish, strenghten and help stimulate growth of lashes.
DOUBLE-LASH is a nutritive care for lashes. It helps reinforce them and prevent their loss. Daily use of minimum 30 days to obtain first results. Formula ophthalmologically tested. With a natural extract rich in vitamins and proteins and a biolysate of lactic ferments.
MORE TIPS TO PRESERVE YOUR NAILS AND HANDS
- We also recommend that gloves are worn for dishwashing and house cleaning, to protect your nails and hands from harmful effects of water and detergents.
- On the day of the chemotherapy treatment, you can use refrigerated mittens (provided by the hospital) and refrigerated socks (not always provided).
- They have been proven to be efficient in protecting fingernails and toenails.
Silicon is a mineral that does not exist in a free form in nature, but in the form of compounds. Combined with oxygen, it forms silica (silicon dioxide). In cosmetic products, we find it under the name of "Silica" in the ingredients list.
This should not be confused with silicones which are silicon derivatives containing oxygen atoms and organic groups (oils, resins, elastomers,…).
This ingredient category can be found under different names, such as Dimenthicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Simenthicone,…
Silicones are generally used in cosmetics to improve the texture of products (better gliding, silky touch).
Only the silicon dioxide or Silica has appeared beneficial – however scientifically not proven –, in the context of preventive measures against the side effects of chemotherapy.
The protecting effect of silicon dioxide against side effects due to chemotherapy and other cancer therapies is not scientifically recognized yet. However, experience has shown that it can be effective. The 6 shades below from the Haute Couture Collection of Mini Color's contain silicon dioxide and therefore may play a shield role against the ill effects of cancer therapies,
Here is the list of the other MAVALA nail polishes that are dark and covering. These shades do not contain silicone dioxide but may still contribute to limit the effect of chemotherapy on nails.