Cancerous diseases are very dangerous to our health and life. For treatment to be effective, it is very important to diagnose as soon as possible and apply the appropriate therapy. Removal of cancer cells is possible thanks to cytostatics – a group of natural and synthetic substances used in chemotherapy. This type of treatment usually results in loss of hair all over the body (including the eyebrows and eyelashes). Hair can fall out gradually or all at once. Unfortunately, it happens that some patients give up chemotherapy for fear of baldness. For many of them, complete loss of hair means giving up work and social life. Hair after chemotherapy can be rebuilt, sometimes it regenerates beautifully on its own.
The disease causes great anxiety and drastically lowers self-esteem. However, we should remember that chemotherapy, despite many side effects, is the most effective method of cancer treatment, and the first hair grows back a few weeks after its application. How to protect your hair from the effects of cytostatics? How to care for the regrowth of strands? Can I dye my hair after treatment? In the article below, we present you all the necessary hair care tips after treatment.
Does chemotherapy always cause hair loss?
It is worth knowing that hair loss is related to the type of cytostatics used, as well as its dose and the number of treatments performed. Some drugs cause all hair loss (for example, anthracyclines used in the treatment of breast cancer). The process of baldness is different for each patient, and the hair usually does not fall out with the roots, but breaks close to the scalp. The patient’s genetic predisposition and the condition of the hair are also important. before chemotherapy. Importantly, the effectiveness of the therapy is not dependent on the amount of hair that fell out during treatment.
Hair care before chemotherapy
It is recommended to shorten the hair before starting chemotherapy. The shorter hair is light, which reduces the tension on the scalp. Hair cutting reduces hair loss. It’s also a good idea to protect your hair from sunlight by wearing a hat. Before chemotherapy, it is recommended to avoid chemical treatments at the hairdresser’s, such as dyeing, waving or bleaching the hair. It is also very important not to model your hair with a hair dryer, straightener or curling iron. High temperature destroys the structure of the hair, making it more prone to damage.
Hair care during treatment
Usually, hair begins to fall out three to six weeks after the end of therapy. To reduce the effects of chemotherapy, there are several rules to follow. Before washing your hair, gently rub into it with a care oil or silk. This will make it easier to detangle your hair after washing. It is worth using argan oil, which has a positive effect on hair growth and strengthens the bulbs. This oil can also be used on eyebrows and eyelashes. When it comes to choosing a shampoo, it is worth using delicate, preferably children’s cosmetics. We can also invest in special, natural shampoos for people undergoing chemotherapy – they are available in pharmacies. Remember not to rub your hair with a towel after washing, because it makes the strands tangled and electrified.
Paxman system – an innovative way to lose hair
In some hospitals, the modern Paxman system can be used to cool the head during chemotherapy. This system regulates the cooling temperature to constrict the capillaries, reducing blood flow, thus reducing the amount of chemistry delivered to the capillaries. This method consists in putting a special cap on the head. Cooling is usually used 30 minutes before the next dose of chemicals is given. The effectiveness of the device is very high – in some cases it allows you to completely avoid hair loss. Thanks to the caps available in hospitals, more and more patients find the strength to fight the disease.
Supplements for hair loss
There are many nutritional supplements on the market that are designed to nourish your hair. Remember, however, that some of them may have a negative effect on a weakened body, so it is worth agreeing the choice of a specific agent with a doctor who will perform the appropriate tests. In addition, supplements with vitamin C may weaken the effects of chemotherapy, so it is worth using them only after the end of treatment. We should never use dietary supplements on our own because they can cause side effects that are dangerous to health. How to take care of your hair after chemotherapy?
When does hair grow back after chemotherapy?
The first hair usually appears a few weeks after the end of therapy. Remember, however, that it is an individual matter and depends on the patient’s condition. It takes time for hair to fully grow back – usually about six months. Hair may look a bit different than before the treatment – it very often happens that the regrown hair is curly. After the treatment, the hair follicles are not fully regenerated, so it is very important to take care of the hair with special care. It is recommended to avoid hairdressing procedures for six months after the end of chemotherapy. It is extremely important to take care of the entire body. After chemotherapy, it is worth visiting a dietitian who will develop special nutrition rules for us. Spicy foods, citrus fruits and highly processed foods are not recommended. Our menu should include large amounts of leafy vegetables as well as meat. It may also be helpful to see a trichologist (hair specialist) who will carefully inspect the hair with a micro camera. The offer of trichology clinics includes various types of hair nourishing treatments, such as peeling, PUVA lamp therapy or ionopheresis.
Home remedies for nourishing hair after chemotherapy
When it comes to hair regeneration after chemotherapy, it is worth remembering about proven home remedies. Herbal rinses will help rebuild your hair, giving it shine. Herbs with valuable properties include chamomile, nettle and horsetail. It is also worth applying masks made of coconut oil, honey or egg yolk. The procedure should be performed at least once a week.
Chemotherapy wigs – how to choose the right one? Useful information
Lack of hair causes many complexes in women, and buying a wig is a good way to feel a little better in the first weeks after treatment. The wig gives you confidence and allows you to quickly return to old activities. During convalescence, mental comfort is extremely important, so it is worth visiting a professional wig salon. Even though artificial hair is only a substitute for the old image, in a way, the wig has a therapeutic role. Wigs are now used not only by patients – they also work well when we want to change our appearance for a moment – wearing them is no reason to be ashamed. Buying a wig is no longer as much of a problem as it used to be. There are many salons on the market where, under the supervision of specialists, we can choose something unique.
If you want to look as natural as possible, choose a wig made of real human hair. Asian and Indian wigs are the most popular, but it is worth knowing that they are made of thick, black hair, so styling them can be difficult. A natural wig is a much more durable solution than artificial strands. Interestingly, it can be trimmed, dyed and modeled. A natural wig looks like a real haircut and is very comfortable. We can also ask for a custom-made wig. The cost of a wig usually ranges from several dozen to several hundred zlotys. Modern materials from which the wigs are made make them completely safe for the scalp and do not cause irritation. However, it is very important to wash and brush your wig regularly.
The wig cost limit, returned by the National Health Fund, is PLN 250. Wigs at this price are issued free of charge. If we want to buy a more expensive wig, we have to pay the rest of the amount. The appropriate application can be obtained from the oncologist, surgeon or hematologist. It is valid for one year. The completed document must be confirmed at the NFZ branch and then bought a wig.