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How to treat Chemotherapy Hair Loss?

Updated on September 15, 2015

Chemotherapy Hair Loss-Trying out hats to wear after chemotherapy


What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is the word used to describe hair loss from any parts of the body which is normally hairy.

The term is usually used to describe the hair loss from the scalp.

Can Hair Loss occur from Cancer?

Alopecia (hair loss) is a common side effect of cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radio therapy. Hair loss in cancer treatment occurs gradually. It is started many weeks after the first treatment or may be after few cycles of treatment in case of chemotherapy. Poor nutritional status from cancer and its treatment also leads to alopecia.

Chemotherapy and Hair Loss

Reasons for hair loss in chemotherapy are a mystery to many. Chemotherapeutic drugs target the rapidly dividing cells of cancer in an effort to stop their growth and multiplication. During this process, these drugs attack the rapidly dividing normal cells as well. That is how the hair follicles are targeted and hair loss result from chemotherapy.

Road to bald-dom (Last 5 days of Chemo hair loss Process)

Hair Loss and Radiation Therapy

Hair loss depends on the dose, area and method of radiation treatment. Very high doses of radiation may result in permanent loss or thinning of the hair in the treated area. One peculiarity of hair loss in radiation therapyis that hair in the treated area only will be lost whereas in chemotherapy, hair loss occurs generally including the scalp. For example a cancer breastpatient receiving radiation to the breast or chest wall will not face alopecia of the scalp unless she takes chemotherapy.

Hair Loss remedies; What to do if the Hair starts to fall because of Cancer treatment?

In most of the cases, hair fall due to cancer treatment is not preventable or treatable with stimulants, or shampoo. Learning to deal with hair loss before it occurs help the person to better cope up with it. Cancer patients feel anxious and embarrassed about the hair loss because this totally changes the physical appearance of the person. Patients do not want to see anyone and feel embarrassed because they don’t feel confident in talking to people at this stage. Talking to the treating doctor, nurse or a person who has undergone cancer treatment may be helpful in adjusting with the problem.

Use a scarf while going outdoors if you have hair loss from chemotherapy


Hair Loss Remedies; How to take care of Hair and Scalp during Chemotherapy?

  1. Anticipate hair fall during chemotherapy.
  2. Keep a small towel over the pillow. That makes it easier for you to dust the fallen hair and to clean your bed. Change this small towel, pillow and sheets frequently because during the period you take chemotherapy, you are likely to get infections.
  3. Wash your hair only if it is necessary. Daily hair wash may result in massive falling of hair.
  4. A mild shampoo like a baby shampoo should be used when you receive chemotherapy.
  5. After shampooing pat dry your hair using a soft towel and avoid vigorous rubbing and drying of the hair.
  6. Avoid high heat if you use hair dryer for drying your hair.
  7. Use soft brush or wide toothed comb and gently comb your hair
  8. Satin pillow cover and a satin piece of cloth over the pillow will reduce friction and hair fall.
  9. Have the hair cut short; it will look stylish and thicker. If you prefer to shave your head, use electric shaving set so you won't cut your scalp.
  10. Use a scarf while going outdoors. Matching scarf will make you look stylish and it will prevent exposing your scalp to the cold and dust outside.
  11. Using sunscreen on scalp when you go out will protect your head from the sun.
  12. Wearing a soft scarf while sleeping will protect your scalp from cold at night.

Chemotherapy Hair Loss-Use Soft Brush or Wide Toothed Comb


How much time it takes for the Hair to Regrow after Hair Fall from Chemotherapy?

Most likely the hair grows back within two to three months after the chemotherapy. The texture, colour and appearance of hair can be different when it regrows. It can be curlier, straighter or can be lighter or darker in colour. It may regain its original characteristics in time.

Hair Loss remedies; How to take care of the Hair when it regrows from Hair Loss?

  1. Gentle handling of the regrown hair is the key in maintaining it. As already explained, hair may be different in texture; so take care and avoid harsh treatment
  2. Massage the scalp gently to remove dry skin and flakes.
  3. Wash your hair twice a week only. Washing for more times may initiate hair fall.
  4. Use the hair dryer gently; avoid too much of heat and blow drying
  5. Do not use too many pins and clips to style your hair
  6. Style your hair simple and gentle.
  7. Use soft brush or wide toothed comb for styling
  8. Avoid hair colouring and vigorous treatments like curling and straightening

Chemotherapy Hair Loss-Use Soft Brush or Wide Toothed Comb for styling


Hair Loss Remedies; What does one need to know before choosing a wig or hairpiece?

Get a wig or hairpiece before the hair falls out completely because this way you can match the wig with the colour and style of your hair.

The wig should be styled and cut to match the frame of your face.

If you have financial problems you can consider borrowing a wig instead of buying it because your hair will regrow once you finish with chemotherapy.

Our mind plays a major role in combating diseases like cancer. No doubt cancer and its treatments like chemotherapy will give you some suffering, but you can better tolerate them and overcome them with the power of your mind.


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    • donnaisabella profile image

      Donaisabella 5 years ago from Fort Myers

      Thanks Thumbi, you are a jewel. God bless you.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India

      Hi Shalycriston

      Thanks for the visit :)

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India

      Hi Donnaisabella

      I remember your sister and happy to know that she is undergoing treatment.

      Please tell her that these difficulties are temporary and she will be alright soon :)

      Thanks for the visit

    • shalycriston profile image

      Shaly Criston 5 years ago from USA

      Another informative hub! Keep it up :)

    • donnaisabella profile image

      Donaisabella 5 years ago from Fort Myers

      Hey Thumbi, thank you so much for the information you so graciously give in this article. My sister whom you might have read about is on chemotherapy and started losing her hair. My mother cut it two days ago. She is back home where I come from and I have not spoken with her. I will be sharing with her the things you say on here. Thank you so much for writing about a subject that we all rarely think about. Thanks Thumbi and many blessings.