Hair Care During Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy comes in all shapes and sizes. Some treatments are carried out in cycles, others are 24/7, some are intravenous others tablets. Whichever you have many chemotherapy treatments are likely to make your hair fall out. 

Hair loss and Well-Being

If you do lose your hair it is likely that most of your hair from all over your body will fall out - which could, but does not always include, eyebrows and eyelashes. Some people won't be worried about this, others will.

Women are as a general rule more concerned about their looks and having a couple of just in case items can offer peace of mind. For some, knowing that you have false eyelashes (that don't look like you're going to a disco), eyebrow stencils and an eyebrow pencil close to hand, even if you never use them can be comforting. However, Blinking Thinking  suggest that these items are only purchased by the person who has been diagnosed as it is quite a personal choice as to whether you require this additional security.

If your hair is less likely to fall out due to the particular type of chemotherapy or due to use of the cold cap a pH neutral shampoo is essential to be as kind to your hair as possible.

The Cold Cap

There are a couple of different types of cold cap. One looks a bit like a swimming hat but is filled with a frozen gel that is approximately -32 degrees C. There is another type that is effectively plugged in to keep a constant temperature of -32 degrees C. It works by reducing the blood supply to your hair follicles which in turn means the hair follicles are less exposed to the chemotherapy drugs.

Whichever it is - it is very very cold. A must have item is the Blinking Thinking headband made from bamboo due to its super soft feel and antiseptic properties. Best use is by putting it at the nape of your neck, over your ears and then fastening it across your forehead. This is to stop any form of "ice cream headache" from the cold cap sitting on your skin.

Washing your hair

If you do aim to try and keep your hair by use of the cold cap you should only wash your hair once a week and use just one application of shampoo. Do not use conditioner whilst you are undergoing chemotherapy / cold cap treatment as your hair will be too fragile. With even one application of shampoo you should expect and not be surprised to see a reasonable amount of hair come off on your hands as you rinse out the shampoo. Even with the use of the cold cap your hair will, at the very least, thin somewhat. When you see the hair on your hand though remember blondes have an average 150,000, red heads 90,000 and black haired / brunettes 100,000 to 110,000 hairs on their head. There is no guarantee that the cold cap will stop your hair falling out completely.

Towards the end of treatment

If treatment means complete hair loss then a pH neutral shampoo and a natural conditioner is also ideal towards the end of chemotherapy when hair begins to grow back.

For some reason it is likely that you hair may grow back curlier than it was before you lost it or it thinned out. Over time your hair should go back to how it was prior to treatment.