Exploring Natural Hair Care Products and Techniques

Losing Your Hair? 3 Ways To Care For Your Hair During And After Chemotherapy

by Ellen Lucas

Hair loss is perhaps the most visible side effect of chemotherapy, a widely used treatment for many types of cancer. Since chemotherapy attacks all growing cells in the body, it often attacks hair roots, leading to hair loss all over the body. Hair loss generally starts soon after treatment begins and the hair doesn't grow back until approximately 3 to 6 months after treatment ends. 

While not all people lose all their hair, most people experience devastating hair loss during chemotherapy. If you're worried about losing your hair during chemotherapy, there are a few things you can do to minimize loss and keep your hair healthier throughout treatment. 

Cold Cap

An FDA-approved treatment may help you keep at least 50 percent of your hair. Called a cold cap, the treatment is performed during chemotherapy treatment by placing a cooling cap on top of the head. In essence, the treatment cools down your scalp, constricting blood flow and reducing the amount of chemotherapy that travels to the hair root. So far, cold caps have proven the most effective at reducing hair loss during chemotherapy.

Gentle Care

Hair often becomes dry and brittle during treatment. Avoid all salon treatments, such as chemical services, that will damage your hair further. You may also want to avoid thermal styling tools, such as a blow dryer, flat iron, or curling iron. Be gentle with your hair at all times. Shampoo only when necessary, using a gentle shampoo. Use a soft brush and only brush your hair when it is dry. Brushing when it is wet will cause breakage and lead to more hair loss. If you must groom your hair while is is wet, use a detangling comb. 

Hair Cut

Many people choose to shave their head once their hair starts to fall out, but you don't have to remove all of your hair, especially if you don't lose all of your hair during treatment. Even if your loss is minimal, however, you may notice that you experience more loss in some areas, leaving you with an uneven hairdo. To make your hair appear thicker and to hide uneven loss, get a short cut. Wash and wear styles that are a couple of inches in length often work best. 

Even with your best efforts, you will likely lose a lot of hair. However, you can minimize loss and keep your hair looking thicker throughout the process with the above tips.