Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the most common treatments for cancer, but as well as giving you a fighting chance against a terrible disease, they also cause some undesirable side effects. One particularly distressing side effect, especially for women, is hair loss. For women, hair is closely linked to femininity, confidence, and self-esteem, and to lose it can be devastating.
But if you’ve just gone through chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment and you’re suffering from hair loss as a result, all is not lost. There are options. Hair extensions and wigs can help you disguise your hair loss until your natural hair grows back, and they can make you look and feel beautiful and confident again.
If you’re suffering from hair loss after chemotherapy, here are your options.
Why does chemotherapy and radiotherapy cause hair loss?
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy target the cancer cells in the body and they weaken and kill them. Unfortunately, they can also destroy healthy cells too, including those in the hair follicles, which can cause hair thinning and loss. It’s not just the hair on the head that’s affected; you might also lose your eyebrows, eyelashes, and hair from elsewhere on your body.
When does hair loss from chemotherapy or radiotherapy start?
This will depend on the particular treatment you’re on, but hair loss tends to happen in most people within 2-4 weeks of treatment. You might notice clumps of hair on your hairbrush or pillow, or more hair coming out than usual when you wash it.
When will my hair grow back after chemotherapy or radiotherapy?
Everyone is different, but generally when your hair starts to grow back, you’ll notice a soft fuzz on your scalp after a few weeks. Around 4 weeks post treatment, the hair will start growing at its normal rate again. After 2 months, you can have around an inch of growth.
You may notice that when you hair grows back, the texture or even the colour of the hair is different. This is due to the effects of treatment and eventually, your hair should go back to how it was.
Are hair extensions an option after chemotherapy or radiotherapy?
Losing your hair can be very upsetting and it can really knock your confidence. It can take quite a while for your natural hair to grow back, but there are options if you don’t want to wait to have lovely locks again. You shouldn’t have hair extensions during your cancer treatment, but once your hair has grown at least 3 inches, it’s possible to have hair extensions fitted to add some length and volume.
What type of hair extensions are best after chemotherapy or radiotherapy?
My recommendation for the best hair extensions to get after chemotherapy or radiotherapy is tape-in hair extensions. The tape can be cut to size, is less visible than other types of bonds, and less damaging to natural hair than glue. The tape won’t weigh your natural hair down and put stress on it when it’s fragile either. I would suggest that you don’t go too long or heavy with your extensions too for this reason.
What about disguising hair loss while you’re waiting for your hair to grow or if your hair loss is permanent?
While you’re waiting for your hair to grow enough for extensions, you might consider investing in a good quality wig that will help you feel more feminine and confident. There are a huge range of options, styles, colours, and fitting methods available. If you’d like some guidance, book a consultation with me and I can help!
If your hair loss is patchy, you might consider something like a topper which can disguise hair loss around the crown and parting.
Rarely, aggressive chemotherapy can cause permanent hair loss, and this can be a very difficult thing to come to terms with. If your hair isn’t growing back, get in touch and I can help you find the hair loss solution you need to feel like yourself again.
Do you want to feel help and advice on the perfect post-treatment hair loss solution for you?
At Salon La Reine, we are specialists in hair loss solutions like wigs, toppers, and hair systems, that can help you disguise any hair thinning or loss while your natural hair grows back.
We also custom make colour wigs and we’re so excited to announce that we’re adding a ‘build your own wig’ page to our website in October! You’ll be able to make your wig to fit the exact proportions of your own head and choose any colour you like. Watch this space!
Get in touch if you’d like to find out more or book a consultation to see how we can help you get back on the road to confidence and happy, healthy hair.