03 / 22 / 14

Hair Loss and Chemotherapy

Women recently diagnosed with cancer experience a host of varying emotions. Treatment for cancer is a scary, overwhelming experience, especially for the patient. Hair Loss and Chemotherapy is one of the most emotionally devastating side effects of this cancer treatment. Chemotherapy affects all growing cells in the body, including hair follicles.

The Mayo Clinic reports that hair loss may begin as soon as chemotherapy treatment starts. If anxiety and dread about hair loss has gotten the better of you, remind yourself that hair loss is generally a temporary side effect of Chemotherapy treatments. There are ways to cope with the anxiety of hair loss before and after it happens. Here are some steps you can take before hair loss occurs.

  • Treat hair gently: Before undergoing treatment, it’s important to treat your hair gently to prevent further damage. Aurora Health suggests using a mild shampoo in the shower and only washing your hair when absolutely necessary. Purchase a soft, wide-tooth hairbrush to use instead of abrasive brushes. If you’re accustomed to blow-drying your hair, try to cut back, suggests Aurora Health Care. Allow your hair to dry naturally after the shower and blow it dry for only a few minutes. When you use the dryer, place the heat on low-heat or cool as to not damage your hair. If you usually curl your hair, avoid using curling irons and other heated products. There are a number of different curling options that don’t rely on heat, so try to change your routine to protect your hair. The Mayo Clinic also suggests that you may want to consider sleeping on a satin pillowcase to avoid inadvertently pulling hair on rougher fabrics while you sleep.
  • Protect your scalp: If your hair has already begun to thin, consider applying sunscreen to your scalp to protect it from harmful rays. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends purchasing shampoos and conditioners that contain UV protection. They also recommend purchasing products that contain Panthenol, a provitamin of B5, which will help repair hair breakage and retain natural oils on your scalp.
  • Cut hair short: Cutting your hair short is a proactive way to ease yourself, your family, and your friends into the reality of your impending hair loss. Short cuts help your hair appear fuller, especially if you add height to the top of your hair by curling it. Short hair with bangs and layers creates the illusion of thicker, fuller hair and allows for a cute style. If your hair is thinning really quickly, you may try cutting your hair very close to the scalp. This style offers a sophisticated look that also masks the toll that treatment is taking on your hair. When you blow-dry your hair, tip your head upside down for a wavier, fuller body of hair.

According to Frederic Fekkai, famous celebrity hair stylist, the concept of beauty revolves around the way a person moves through the world rather than the style of her hair. According to Fekkai, “Nothing is as beautiful as someone who loves being alive just as they are.” Although hair loss can bring sadness, depression, and anger into your life, you are in control of how to navigate the process of cancer and chemotherapy treatment, especially when it comes to your preferred hair style.