Cancer treatments like chemotherapy kill cancer cells but they can also kill healthy cells in the body, including the hair follicles, which results in hair loss.
Hair loss is one of the side effects of treatment that women fear the most, because their hair is a big part of who they are and losing it can really affect their confidence and self-esteem.
The good news is that for most women, the hair does grow back. Obviously everyone has different experiences, but my lovely client @lyndsaymaderis shared these tips with me on growing your hair out after chemotherapy and I just had to pass them on.
Cold caps can help reduce hair loss and speed up regrowth
This is because the blood vessels in the scalp constrict when they are exposed to cold, which reduces the flow of blood to the hair follicles. This means that less chemotherapy medication reaches the hair follicles and you’ll experience less hair loss.
Hair follicles can take a few months to regenerate after the end of your treatment
Remember that after treatment, your immune system will probably be low and you’ll be a bit run down, so don’t expect miracles in terms of hair growth, it can be slow. The slowest growing areas are often around the hairline, and at the crown. Once your body starts recovering properly, your hair will start to grow in faster.
Your hair will feel thicker as it’s shorter and it may even be a different colour or texture
Many women who lose their hair when they are getting cancer treatment find that the colour and texture of their hair changes, and it can even go from straight to curly and vice versa. Your hair might return to its usual state, but it needs plenty of tlc until then.
Wigs hats and scarves won’t slow hair growth down
Wearing wigs, hats, and scarves is a popular way to deal with hair loss. This is completely safe to do and it won’t limit new hair growth at all.
Avoid harsh colouring as this keeps the new hair strong and growing in faster
Hair can be dry, brittle, and delicate following chemotherapy so it’s best to avoid any harsh colour processing or chemical treatments until its health is restored.
Medications and hormones will affect the health and strength of the hair
Medications and hormones can affect hair growth, texture, and condition. Many drugs cause hair thinning and dryness, so be prepared for this, care for your hair properly, and eat well during your recovery.
Keratin fusion extensions are a safe and fun way to protect the hair as it grows out
You will need at least 3 inches of hair to make sure the extensions are hidden, but they last 12-16 weeks and they’ll help get you past that ‘awkward’ stage until your hair is long and strong enough to cut into a great shape.