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Cancer: Taking care of your hands every day

Some chemotherapies put our hands, feet and nails to the test, sometimes causing very painful lesions.

In the face of the current covid19 pandemic, frequent hand washing further exacerbates a phenomenon of dryness. 

In this article, I would like to give you some advice on how to take care of your hands on a daily basis.

Our hands put to the test


fragile and dry hands

The epidermis of the hands is particularly thin and fragile. This is why they tend to dry out quickly.  

Contrary to some preconceived ideas, the problem of dry hands does not only occur in winter. Various causes can be responsible for this.

During the course of the day, we very often use our hands and subject them to multiple aggressions: cold wind, UV rays, hard water, disinfectants, cleaning products, frequent washing… 

All these factors damage the lipidic layer of the skin that protects it from drying out. The skin may feel tight, itchy, red, painful, chapped or cracked…

Not very rich in sebaceous glands (glands that promote the production of a natural protective film), it is essential to moisturize the skin of your hands regularly to preserve them as much as possible.

hand-foot syndrome

Hand-foot syndrome is a very painful side effect of certain chemotherapies and targeted therapies.

It manifests itself by skin damage on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet: redness, swelling, dryness, blisters, cracks, tingling, pain…

I still remember that ” burning sensation ” on the palms of my hands and feet…

brittle nails

Some chemotherapy regimens specifically affect the nails. Weakened, they can become brittle, striated, split, sometimes become pigmented or on the contrary discoloured, or even fall out, and their growth is also stunted. 

I lost a nail trying to open a bottle of shower gel, then another one trying to close my jeans. I remember that this wound remained raw and caused incessant pain. (link to Fighting Lady page of the site)

Because the cold reduces blood circulation and therefore the effectiveness of medication at the root of the nails, the health centres may suggest that you wear refrigerated gloves (at -24°C) during your chemotherapy session.

How do you take care of your hands?


protect your hands

The first precaution is to protect your hands from daily aggressions by wearing gloves. Whether it is for cleaning, washing dishes, housework or DIY, wearing gloves is essential.

In cold weather, peripheral blood circulation, especially in the feet and hands, decreases to limit heat loss and protect vital organs. Don’t forget to protect your hands from the cold and/or wind. 

When washing your hands, opt for lukewarm water and avoid overly abrasive cleaning products (favour a neutral pH). Rinse them properly, without leaving them under water more than necessary, and dry them thoroughly immediately afterwards, without forgetting the spaces between your fingers.

Finally, if possible, avoid using air dryers to dry your hands.  It is best to dry them by dabbing them with a clean cloth.

hydrating your hands

Because it is low in sebaceous glands, the skin of the hands needs to be regularly moisturized, nourished and preserved. A moisturizing cream will help restore moisture to your hands and strengthen their natural protective layer. 

Cécile, our Director of Aesthetic Affairs, advises “to delicately apply moisturizing cream to your hands at least twice a day until it is completely absorbed to deeply moisturize the thin hydrolipidic film of the superficial layer of the skin on your hands”.

massaging your hands, Cecile’s advice Lisa Guyomarch Ozalys

“In the evening, take the time to apply the moisturizing cream in self-massage on the hands for a long time and focus on the nails. 

This massage will bring you well-being and a feeling of ease by stimulating blood and lymphatic circulation. It will also relax your tensions and relieve your muscles, tendons and ligaments. It can also relieve joint pain.”

Here are some self-massage techniques:


1- Massage each finger in a circular motion from the nail to the fingertip, pressing firmly without causing pain. Then squeeze the finger a little between the phalanges and pull outwards.

2- Bring your fingers back towards your wrist by pressing with the lower palm of the other hand. Release as soon as resistance is felt. Repeat 4 to 6 times on each side.

3- Spiral with the thumb in the palm of the other hand. Start from the center and work your way gently outward.

4- Massage the muscle that supports the thumb (the fleshy part between the base of the thumb and the index finger) in circular motions with the thumb and index finger of the other hand.

Ozalys Absolute Care


our absolute care receives award

soin absolu ozalysBecause I know that hands, feet and nails are put to the test by anti-cancer treatments, I wanted to propose a daily “3 in 1” treatment to soothe, moisturize and nourish your hands, feet and nails.  

It is a great pride and recognition for the Ozalys teams to have received a few days ago, the Jury of Parent Experts award for our Absolute care. A prize that is awarded every year to cosmetics that demonstrate innovation, effectiveness, perfect innocuousness, reliability and ethics.

Adapted for you, the Absolute Care penetrates easily, is non- sticky, repairs and protects your skin and  weakened nails, it delays the effects of ageing and 

gives you long-lasting comfort.
linda berkani ozalys

“We have selected tailor-made ingredients for you: Aquacacteen, the flagship active ingredient in the Ozalys range, which has remarkable soothing and moisturizing properties. We have also chosen to add pro-vitamin B5 to reinforce hydration, provide softness and strengthen your nails. As well as a cocktail of emollient and humectants, consisting of vitamin E, glycerin, shea butter and macadamia oil to provide comfort and long-lasting hydration for 8 hours”.

absolute hand care in the beauty salon

Because a woman affected by cancer needs to learn how to take care of herself again, to reconnect with her body, Ozalys offers a range of six wellness treatments to generate positive emotions and awaken the senses and the pleasure of taking care of oneself.  

Among this range, the Absolute Hand Care, designed to relieve your tensions, beautify your nails, moisturize and soothe your skin.

Cécile, Director of Aesthetic Affairs: “The practitioner, trained in our range of treatments, will embellish your nails to give them back their harmonious shape. She will then apply a mask to nourish and moisturize your skin and nails deep down and soften your cuticles. Then her massage will transport you into a true moment of relaxation, which will relieve your tensions…”  

For Conclusion

With the hygiene measures imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, our hands are being put to the test more than ever. 

Yet hand asepsis is essential in the fight against this virus and the use of hydro alcoholic solutions is absolutely necessary when hand washing is not possible.

Ozalys has been committed since March 17 and joins the reinforcements of the French production of hydro alcoholic solutions for pharmacies and carers.

A 30 ml bottle of hydro-alcoholic solution with the formula recommended by the WHO is our gift to you and enclosed with your order on Ozalys.com until 31 May 2020.

Take good care of yourself and take care of your hands.






Isabelle Guyomarch
Isabelle Guyomarch
Isabelle Guyomarch a passionate and seasoned professional in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic worlds when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. In 2017, she created Ozalys, a brand of Dermo-cosmetics created by women for women affected by cancer.