CARING FOR YOU SCALP AND HAIR DURING CHEMOTHERAPY TREATMENT
BEFORE TREATMENT - being prepared
1. Book a HeadWrappers’ hair loss support session – you will be equipped with scarf tying skills and provided with information which will support you through your hair loss – enquire about a session by emailing us here
2. Speak to your oncologist – not all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss. If your chemotherapy is likely to cause hair loss, be aware that this is temporary.
3. Research scalp cooling if you think this might be of interest to you – here is a link to information about scalp cooling from our friends at Cancer Hair Care
4. Book an appointment for a haircut with Hair Reborn. This charity provides three free haircuts for those who will be undergoing chemotherapy.
5. Book an appointment with Look Good Feel Better. This charity will provide you with hints and tips about make up and mitigating hair loss e.g. eyebrows and eyelashes.
at the start of your chemotherapy treatment
Cutting long hair shorter can make the transition to hair loss easier. Any extra weight on the hair strand could encourage it to fall out sooner.
If you have long hair you may wish to consider donating it to The Little Princess Trust
Avoid heat e.g. hair dryers, straighteners and pat hair dry rather than rubbing it dry.
Avoid colouring any remaining hair whilst you are having chemotherapy treatment, mainly because of a possible allergic reaction.
A sleep cap can capture loose hairs during your sleep so you don’t wake up to hair on your pillow and they help retain heat during the night which can escape a scalp with little or no hair.
If you decide to embrace your hair loss then we recommend using clippers and not a razor. A razor could nick your scalp and it may take a while to heal because of your compromised immune system. You could book your 2nd appointment with Hair Reborn!
Feel free to get back in touch with us if you want any help regarding headwear – our suppliers offer discounts to our clients and we are happy to advise you on specific products to cover your head, depending on your day to day life and requirements e.g. a special occasion, work or just answering the door to the postman!
DURING HAIR LOSS
All the above still apply!
Wash your head coverings regularly, e.g. scarves, sleep hats, wigs – because of your reduced immune system you may be more at risk of picking up germs or infections.
Stick to natural ph neutral products, to avoid any allergic reactions.
Washing your hair/scalp in cold water seals the pores and could help retain moisture but cold water is a bit extreme so perhaps lukewarm water? Hot water opens the pores and any moisture could escape.
Our friends at Beauty Despite Cancer sell beautiful products for the scalp including an oil. To help seal in moisture or combat any dryness you can use ordinary olive oil or coconut oil and aloe vera is a lovely moisturising natural product.
Protect your scalp from the sun by using a minimum of factor 30 even under head coverings. Chemotherapy will make your skin more sensitive than normal.
Be aware that your nasal hair may fall out and you could be more susceptible to hay fever or a runny nose.
You could lose your eyebrows and eye lashes which are your first line of natural defences against environmental factors such as grit, sweat etc. We recommend wearing sunglasses (if you do not already wear glasses) which can help protect your eyes generally. If you choose to wear make-up ensure it is sweat proof to avoid it melting into your eyes and causing a reaction.
Gentle massage can help to stimulate the blood flow and can help encourage regrowth. Here is a link to a helpful tutorial from our friends at Cancerpal.
Hair may start to grow within a few weeks of finishing treatment but it can take up to 12 weeks to see approximately 1cm of re-growth.
Look after your new hair, avoid heat and use ph neutral and natural products.
Regular exposure to sunlight can help with re-growth but don’t forget your sunscreen!
Book another appointment with Hair Reborn to have your regrowth styled as regular cutting may help with regrowth.
Avoid perming or straightening your hair using chemicals or heat, until you have at least 5 cm -7.5 cm of regrowth and always go to a professional.
Avoid colouring your regrowth until you see at least 2.5 cm and be aware that you may be allergic to products after chemotherapy that you were fine with before.
Finally, your hair may come back curly or a different colour – this is because the hair follicle has been damaged and your new hair has to coil its way up through the damaged follicle. This is normally temporary and your hair should return to normal in due course. However, if you feel your hair has not regrown as you anticipated, do go back to your Oncologist as there may be other factors affecting your hair regrowth such as medication, menopausal side effect, environmental or vitamin deficiencies’.
WHEN CHEMOTHERAPY TREATMENT HAS FINISHED
radiotherapy induced hairloss
There is no guarantee that hair lost as a result of radiation therapy, will come back. In lower doses of radiation, the hair generally grows back in 3 to 6 months after the final radiation session. High doses of radiation may cause permanent damage to the hair follicles, resulting in hair not regrowing.
Unlike chemotherapy, which causes systemic (all-over) hair loss, radiation therapy only causes the hair in the specific area of treatment to fall out. If, for example, you receive radiation on your pelvis area, your pubic hair may fall out, but not the hair on your head. Radiation therapy to the brain is likely to cause the hair on your scalp to fall out.
HeadWrappers does not provide medical advice and we are not medically trained. Our hints and tips are provided by personal experiences and guidance received by 3rd party Charities and Organisations.