Handling Hair Loss From Chemotherapy: What You Should Know

4 October 2018
 Categories: , Blog


When you have cancer and are told by your doctor that you need chemotherapy as a part of your treatment regimen, you may feel apprehensive about the treatment. Chemotherapy is a highly effective form of cancer treatment, but it also comes with many side effects. One of those side effects is the potential for hair loss. There are ways that you can deal with the potential for hair loss when you are going through chemotherapy. Get to know some of these steps you can take.

Choose Your Hair Products Carefully 

If you want to avoid or minimize hair loss during chemotherapy, one of the steps you can take is to change some of the products you use on your hair. Many hair care products including shampoos and conditioners contain ingredients that can actually be harsh and damaging to your hair. Avoid ingredients like salicylic acid, sodium laureth sulfate, and anything with a lot of strong fragrances (unless the fragrance is from a natural essential oil). You will also want to skin out on perms, dye jobs, or anything else that can strip your hair of vital nutrients or make it brittle. These steps will help keep your hair as healthy as possible throughout your chemotherapy. 

Try Chemo Cold Caps

One of the ways that you can avoid hair loss during chemotherapy is by wearing what is known as a chemo cold cap. Chemo cold caps are essentially wraps that you wear around your head while your chemotherapy medications are administered. They are filled with extremely cold gel coolant (usually kept between negative 15 and negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit).

The reason for the cold caps is that extreme cold affects the blood vessels of the areas it comes into contact with. When you wear a cold cap on your head, the blood vessels in your scalp will be constricted, limiting the blood flow through those vessels. This means that less of the chemotherapy drugs going into your system will directly get to your scalp. The result will be that chemotherapy will affect your scalp much less than it would otherwise, protecting your hair follicles in the process. 

Know that Wigs Are Always an Option

Some hair loss is inevitable with chemotherapy. Depending on the intensity of your treatments or how long you need to do chemo, you may find yourself dealing with significant hair loss in spite of your other efforts. If this happens to you, do not despair or fret. Wigs are always a great option when you suffer from chemo-related hair loss.

While many people think of wigs in a negative light, there are many high-quality wigs made to look and feel just like a real head of hair (some are even made with real human hair). These wigs are often impossible to discern from a person's natural hair. As such, you do not have to worry about being embarrassed about your hair loss. You can maintain your usual hairstyle (or try something new) with the help of a good wig or two. 

Knowing these ways that you can handle hair loss when you are going through chemotherapy, you can rest assured that you are doing everything you can for your hair throughout the cancer treatment process.