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Hair loss after chemotherapy

How to make the best of it

Your hair loss generally can't be prevented or controlled, but it can be managed. Take the following steps throughout your treatment to minimize the frustration and anxiety associated with hair loss and manage hair growth after chemo.

Before treatment

  • Be gentle to your hair. Get in the habit of being kind to your hair. Don't chemically treat your hair — this can weaken it. Air-dry your hair as much as possible and avoid heating devices such as curling irons and hot rollers. Strengthening your hair now might make it more likely to stay in your head a little longer during treatment so invest in a silk pillowcase to prevent friction leading to breakage whilst it's weak. Shop silk here
  • Consider cutting your hair. Shorter hair tends to look fuller than long hair. So as your hair falls out, it won't be as noticeable if you have short hair. Also, if you have long hair, going short might help you make a better transition to total hair loss.
  • Plan for a head covering. Now is the time to start thinking about wigs, scarves or other head coverings. Whether you choose to wear a head covering to conceal your hair loss is up to you. But it's easier to plan for it now rather than later. Ask your doctor to write a prescription for a wig, the cost of which may be covered by your health insurance. Shop turbans here 

During treatment

  • Baby your remaining hair. Continue your gentle hair strategies throughout your chemotherapy treatment. Use a soft brush. Wash your hair only as often as necessary. Consider using a gentle natural haircare shampoo. Shop natural hair health and beauty products here
  • Consider shaving your head. Some people report that their scalps feel itchy, sensitive and irritated during their treatments and while their hair is falling out. Shaving your head can reduce the irritation and save the embarrassment of shedding.
  • Protect your scalp. If your head is going to be exposed to the sun or to cold air, protect it with sunscreen or a head covering. Your scalp may be sensitive as you go through treatment, so extreme cold or sunshine can easily irritate it. Having no hair or having less hair can make you feel cold, so a head covering may make you more comfortable.

After treatment

  • Continue gentle hair care. Your new hair growth will be especially fragile and vulnerable to the damage caused by styling products and heating devices. Hold off on colouring your new hair until it grows stronger. Processing could damage your new hair and irritate your sensitive scalp. Shop strengthening hair care products here
  • Be patient. It's likely that your hair will come back slowly and that it might not look normal right away. But growth takes time, and it also takes time to repair the damage caused by your cancer treatment. Hands down the best hair loss prevention and to promote new hair growth that I have personally worked with in salons is the Kerastase Specifique ampule treatments, it lasts you 6 weeks of treatments and is recommended by dermatologists. It's not natural but it does work! Shop Kerastase treatment here.