Chemotherapy & Hair Loss
Hair Regrowth after Chemotherapy:
One of the most stressful side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss for cancer patients. Different kinds of treatments (like chemotherapy or radiotherapy) can cause different types of hair loss and may leave a temporary (as well as permanent) impact on your hair growth. But many studies show that the hair loss caused by chemotherapy is temporary with the exception of brain cancer where surgeries may permanently halt the hair regrowth process in certain treated areas.
Whether this hair loss is temporary or permanent, mild or severe, it can be upsetting and nerve-wracking. We are here to help you at Tina Lankford Hair Restoration and Salon, we provide exclusive services to preserve your hair and help those who are suffering from hair loss issues. You just have to book an appointment to get to the root of the problem and find a solution. But before jumping into the details, first, you need to know why chemotherapy causes hair loss and how long it takes to start your hair growing back.
Chemotherapy and Hair Loss:
Chemotherapy mainly involves drugs that not only destroy cancer cells but also some normal healthy cells. The cells in the hair follicles, a structure from where hair grows, are often destroyed or damaged; this is one of the biggest drawbacks of chemo. Fortunately, your hair in most cases can grow back and with proper overall care, it will be just as healthy as before.
Hair Regrowth Timeline:
The hair regrowth pattern varies from person to person after chemotherapy. Below is the standardized timeline for hair regrowth:
3-4 weeks: soft fuzzy hair growth
4-6 weeks: thick hair growth begins
2-3 months: an inch of hair growth
3-6 months: about 2-3 inches of hair growth
12 months: 4-6 inches of hair growth
This is the general timeline, however, your hair health, scalp condition, age, and overall body health can determine how long it will take to get back to its normal length and texture.
Tips and Tricks to Stimulate Hair Growth after Chemotherapy:
Gather information: Different drugs may cause different reactions. Some drugs may just cause hair thinning while some may cause your hair to fall out more severely. You want to ask your doctor about all the possible outcomes and prepare yourself. It will make your experience less scary.
Be prepared: Cancer treatment is an emotional journey so it’s important that you take care of your body and try not to stress. Stress and lack of self-care can make matters worse. Your positive attitude and self-care will help reduce further complications.
Go gentle: To slow down the hair loss or to regain the integrity of your hair, you must go easy on your hair. Avoid using shampoos that have strong chemicals, alcohols, sulfates, and parabens. Avoid using heat styling tools like flat irons, blow dryers, curling rods for hair styling. Avoid coloring your hair or applying any other chemical treatment like perms or straighten your hair.
Try shorter hair: If you once had long hair, the drastic change will be uncomfortable. Try to make it gradual by going shorter before severe hair loss occurs. It will make your hair look thicker with more volume and is easy to manage during the process.
Take care of scalp: As you lose hair, your scalp skin is exposed and it gets itchy and dry. Always use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner duo to combat this dryness. After shampoo, apply a light oil or cream to provide additional hydration to your scalp.
Cover up: Invest in a few pretty scarfs, turbans, and or hats to help you mask the hair loss. Covering your head will also help protect your scalp. And if you don’t want to cover your head that’s completely ok, just don’t forget to apply sunscreen to prevent your skin from sunburn.
Go easy at night: To avoid friction against your pillowcase, use a silk pillowcase or wrap your head with a soft cap or turban at night to protect the existing hairs.
Wear wigs: You can also wear wigs or hairpieces to mask the hair loss until it grows back. This is a really good time to have some fun and try different hairstyles.
Scalp cooling: This is also an efficient way to prevent severe hair loss in which a tight cap filled with cold gel is placed on the scalp. The temperature narrows the blood vessels underneath the scalp hence helping protect the hair follicles.
Balanced diet: Your diet plays a significant role in your hair growth. Eat protein-rich foods as your hair is also made of a protein called keratin, to grow your tresses at a faster pace. Try to incorporate vitamin and mineral-rich supplements and fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 to boost up your hair growth game after chemotherapy.
Talk: Losing your hair makes you depressed, anxious, and self-conscious and that is completely normal. Don’t keep it to yourself, talk to your friends or close family members to help reduce stress. Sharing your fears or your inner thoughts can relieve the burden.
Lastly, be patient, your hair will eventually grow back in most cases. Hair loss is a common side effect caused by chemotherapy but there are several ways to manage it. Talk to your health care team about all the possible side effects associated with your treatment plan. Do your research, talk to your local Trichologist about choosing wigs or going for a shorter haircut, and other options associated with your particular hair loss. Explore all the options because there are lots of options to help you regain or replace your hair. If your hair starts growing back, it can be a positive sign of improving health. If your hair loss is not reversible you can look into other options check out our blog post to learn more.