You have enough things on your mind.
Your hair loss shouldn’t be one of them.
CONGRATULATTIONS! You’ve had your last chemotherapy treatment! Soon your hair will get back to “normal”, right? Not so fast, chemo still has surprises in store for you.
Chemotherapy drugs are very strong… meant to kill fast growing cancerous cells. However, they can also attack fast growing healthy cells of the skin, hair and nails. When chemo attacks cells responsible for hair growth, hair falls out.
Drugs remain in the system for some time after treatment. It will take a while for hair, skin and fingernails to recover as they leave the body.
WHAT IF MY HAIR ISN’T GROWING?
If your hair isn’t growing within several weeks after treatment ends ask your doctor about likely causes. Treatment may have induced low levels of zinc or iron. Stress or thyroid problems are also possibilities. Doctors can prescribe nutritional supplements, thyroid hormones, anti-anxiety medications, or antidepressants.
With your doctor’s permission, you may want to try Rogaine or use a laser comb. Both of these may help re-grow your hair.
A few weeks following treatment expect a soft fuzz to begin growing. Usually it comes in light colored due to a loss or change of pigment. It may be white, gray, or a light blonde color. The texture may be as fine as cotton candy or coarser than before. But the biggest change is often the kinky, fuzzy curl we call “Chemo Curl”.
If you’ve always wanted curls this is your chance… embrace this curly new look. But if curls are not your thing know that as your body returns to normal your hair will probably return to a color and texture closer to pre-chemo hair.
CARING FOR YOUR CHEMO CURLS
Your new hair can be quite fragile at first so treat it gently. If it feels like it had a bad perm, it makes sense to treat it that way.
• Use mild shampoo formulated for dry, damaged hair.
• Gently massage the scalp to increase circulation and remove any dry, flaky skin.
• Use warm or tepid water as hot water may dry and irritate your scalp.
• Use a leave-in conditioner for fine, limp hair.
• Blot your hair gently with a towel, don’t rub igorously.
• Use low heat on your styling tools or better yet… let hair dry naturally.
• Use light water-based products and a little Argan Oil.
CAN I JUST CUT IT OFF?
Since hair averages ¼ to ½ inches of growth per month it may grow 3-6 inches in six months. All hairs will not grow at the same rate resulting in very wispy ends or a “mullet shape”. We recommend trimming when you can grasp the hair between your fingers. This helps eliminate some fuzzy ends and makes it look healthier and fuller.
CHEMO CURL AND CHEMICAL
If you aren’t happy with “Chemo color and curl” can it be colored and straightened? Yes and no.
• First, ask your oncologist and dermatologist when to begin using chemical hair treatments.
• Keep in mind that the scalp may be too sensitive for hair color or straightening products. Do a patch test.
• The first few inches of new hair are not “normal” and may not accept hair color like pre-chemo hair. Do a strand test.
• Consult a professional hair stylist for “after chemo” hair color. Ask if they have experience with “Chemo hair”.
When permanent hair color is applied to the fuzzy new growth, results can be disastrous. Since the hair is not fully-formed it doesn’t accept hair color like “normal” hair. The results may be off-color like a green-brown or orange color. We recommend waiting until hair has grown beyond the “Chemo-curl” stage before using any chemical i.e. permanent hair color, permanent wave or straightener. When it has grown out three or four inches it is usually strong enough to begin coloring.
You have been through a lot. With a bit more patience you will get through this too. In six months to a year you will have hair. But most importantly, you have health.
LaDonna Roye Hairstylist
12980 Tamiami Trail N #18 Naples, FL 34110
We provide a private, caring, compassionate environment. We’re sensitive to your situation and your unique needs. You have our word we will do everything we possibly can to help you “Recover with Confidence”.
Please, free to call us any time to ask questions, or schedule a discrete, confidential consultation with one of our certified professionals.
Recover with Confidence, a nationwide group of dedicated hair loss professionals, provides products and services to women who have been afflicted with hair loss due to cancer. LaDonna Roye Hairstylist is proud to be its local partner and provider in offering patients individualized products and support to aid in their recovery process