Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow - How to Prevent Chemotherapy Hair Loss by lhh12385


									Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow - How to Prevent
Chemotherapy Hair Loss

My Hair is Falling Out!
Chemotherapy Hair Loss

Chemotherapy affects everyone differently, and chemotherapy drugs have different
effects on the body; however chemotherapy hair loss is a common side effect.
Chemotherapy hair loss may occur on the scalp, face, underarms, pubic areas, and other
places on the body. The chemotherapy hair loss may be slight thinning or complete loss,
and it may happen over several days or weeks.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel however, since re-growth usually resumes in
about 6 to 8 weeks after the completion of your chemotherapy treatment. Until then, how
can you cope with chemotherapy hair loss?

Since the most obvious chemotherapy hair loss is on the scalp, coping with the loss can
be overwhelming. Many chose to wear head coverings, such as bandanas or wigs, while
others leave their head uncovered.

Whichever you choose, there are things that you can do to help reduce chemotherapy hair
loss. Here are a few tips that you can use during your chemotherapy treatment.

What Does My Hairstyle have to do with it?
Chemotherapy Hair Loss

Hairstyle can play a huge part in reducing chemotherapy hair loss. If you have a short,
easy-to-manage hairstyle, you will have less tangling and less hair brushing to do to care
for your hair. Hair brushing pulls on the hair follicles, causing more hair loss.

Find a soft-bristled brush and/or a wide toothed comb. If you encounter tangles, don't
pull. Instead, hold the hair above the tangle and carefully work the tangle apart with the
brush or comb.

The Drain is Clogged - With My Hair!
Chemotherapy Hair Loss
Frequent hair washing can dry the scalp and cause itching. Decrease your hair washing
frequency to about 3 times per week. Use a mild protein shampoo and gently massage
your entire scalp. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water, and apply a protein-enriched
conditioner into the scalp. (A good conditioner will add body to fine or limp hair.)
Massage the scalp and rinse thoroughly again.

Hot Rollers Are a Girls Best Friend
Chemotherapy Hair Loss

Hot rollers may be your best-friend, but you better store them away until your hair grows
back. Heat weakens hair and your scalp will be especially tender and highly sensitive to
heat during chemotherapy. This also means no curling, crimping, or straightening irons.

You can use your blow-dryer as long as it has a cool setting you can switch it to. If your
blow-dryer does not have a cool setting, you may want to buy one, or borrow, or even
switch with a friend that has one until your hair grows back.

Just a Little Hairspray Ought to Do it
Chemotherapy Hair Loss

Hair-care products contain harsh chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, peroxide, lacquer,
or alcohol; therefore they should be avoided during chemotherapy treatment. Hair-care
products are unhealthy for your hair, build-up on the hair shafts, and are very difficult to
shampoo out.

If you insist on using hair-care products, use light or medium holding power sprays,
mousses, and gels. Use small amounts to allow for easy removal during shampooing.

I Thought Hairnets Were for Food Preparers
Chemotherapy Hair Loss

Hair loss doesn't stop once you go to sleep. All that moving around you do at night is
causing tangles and pulling your hair out. "So what do I do, sleep sitting up? Wear a
helmet?" you ask. No, you don't need to go to those extremes.

Try using satin pillowcases. The satin is smooth and will cause less tangling than a cotton
pillowcase. Wearing a hair net is also a good trick. A hair net will contain your hair and
reduce tangling. They will also cause the shedding to occur more evenly since all the hair
is contained.

My Roots Are Showing!
Chemotherapy Hair Loss

Whether your roots are showing or your curl is loosening, you will want to avoid coloring
or perming your hair during chemotherapy. The chemicals used in these, and other
processes, such as highlighting and straightening, damages hair and causes it to fall out.
Avoid doing anything to your hair that will cause undue stress. Once your hair grows
back, healthy and full, then you can make that hair appointment you've been looking
forward to all these weeks.

Apply Sunblock to My Head?
Chemotherapy Hair Loss

Before heading out in the warm sun, apply a sunblock with a sun protection factor (SPF)
of at least 15 to your skin. No, you don't need to apply sunblock your head. A wide-
brimmed hat and a pair of sunglasses will suffice.

If you are heading out in the cold chill, be aware that heat escapes through the top of the
head. Find a hat or scarf that you can wrap around your head. This will keep your scalp
from drying out and itching.

I'm Shedding Like A Dog!
Chemotherapy Hair Loss

If you're shedding a lot of hair, you will find it everywhere - in your mouth, in your food,
all over your pillow, and on your clothes. If you are finding that you are constantly
picking hair out of your food, off of your clothes and out of your mouth, you may want to
consider shaving your head. "No!", you scream. Let's face it, not everyone loses their hair
gradually. During chemotherapy treatment, some people's hair sheds quickly over just a
few days. When this occurs, there's no saving it. If you are one of these people, shaving
your head may be the best way of dealing with the loss.

Just Give Me A Wig!
Chemotherapy Hair Loss

If you decide to wear a wig, hairpiece, turban, scarf, or hat, find one or many that suit
your taste and wardrobe best. Shop around before your chemotherapy begins. Why? Here
are a couple of reasons:

•   You may not feel up to shopping during chemotherapy
•   You will want to try a couple of different head coverings to find which you like best
•   If you are not used to wearing a wig or other head covering, it will take some time
    getting used to

If you choose to wear a wig, begin wearing it while you still have a full head of hair.
Some people have found that others don't even know they've lost their hair! If you decide
that you will wear a wig throughout your treatment until your hair has re-grown, you may
want to shave your head. This will help the wig fit better and will allow the adhesive to
keep your wig in place.

For more information about chemotherapy hair loss, go to the Cancer Treatment Centers
of America.

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