Chemotherapy and Hair Loss: Important Things to Know


Managing a life with cancer comes with various challenges. A number of patients can manage or control; however, others cannot. For a lot of people, the worst thing about chemotherapy is losing their hair. Having an understanding of the process and preparing for hair loss is just half the battle.

Chemotherapy impacts everybody differently. A number of individuals tend to lose their hair totally while others just experience thinning. Some patients are unlikely to see any effects at all. Talk to your physician or nurse because they know the possibility of hair loss based upon the kind of chemotherapy drugs you are taking.

Reasons Chemo Causes Hair Loss

Typically, various chemo drug classes result in various degrees of hair loss. Drugs for chemotherapy are made to slow down the rapid growth of cancer cells by attacking the DNA of the cells to prohibit growth. As chemo drugs kill cells that rapidly divide, other rapidly growing cells are also impacted. Not all chemo medications will cause hair loss; however, some drugs will cause loss in various degrees.

Preparing for Hair Loss

Once you know that your prescribed drugs for chemo will lead to hair loss, start buying head coverings, wigs, eyelashes, eyebrows and scarves while you still have your hair. You can get most of them from Capilia. Being ready will relieve much of the stress and anxiety which comes with losing hair. Also, it will let you match your present hair color to the color of your wig.

As treatment starts, a number of people notice their hair thinning out gradually. Others find their hair falling out in clumps as they brush it. Some experience baldness just on the head while others lose eyebrows, facial hair or eyebrows. The majority of patients report losing hair around two to four weeks after they star their treatment.

Caring for your Scalp

As you start your chemo treatment, try to treat your scalp and hair with care. When you don’t experience hair loss during the treatment, your hair usually becomes brittle, damaged and thin. Also, your scalp is likely to become itchy, flaky and dry. You can protect your hair by avoiding unnecessary stress. A conditioning shampoo can help. Every time you wash your hair, use warm water and not hot water. Rather than twisting or wringing your hair, pat it dry using a soft towel. Avoid chemical treatments, bleaches, colors, heated styling tools, hair dryers and perms.

When you lose your hair, expect your scalp to become tender. Continue to cleanse your scalp through the use of a mild conditioning shampoo even if you see your hair starting to fall out.