Curly Hair After Chemo
If youre going through chemotherapy, you might have questions about the treatment and its side effects.
You may be wondering if your hair is going to fall out after chemo, and if so, how long it will take for it to grow back. You also may be wondering, when your hair does grow back, whether its texture and color will be changed.
Your hairs response to chemo is hard to predict and can vary according to your particular hair texture as well as other health factors.
This article will provide you with general information about how hair responds to chemotherapy and how your hair might change in the months after your treatment.
Will My Hair Grow Back Differently
Hair can sometimes grow back differently to what it was like before treatment. For example:
- The colour may change
- It may be straighter
This change may only be temporary but occasionally it will be permanent.
For some people having hair grow back differently to what they are used to can be very difficult. You may feel it is another change to your appearance that you need to cope with, especially if in the short term youre not able to treat or style your hair in the way youre used to.
While your hair is growing back it will be very delicate and liable to break easily, so its best to treat it with care. You can also talk to a hairdresser about how best to look after your hair.
You may also find there is an in-between period when your hair is growing back but you arent quite ready to go out with your own hair. You may choose to continue wearing a wig or other headwear until your hair is longer.
Why Your Hair Falls Out
The answer is that most chemo drugs attack rapidly dividing cells and thats what your hair cells are. Your fingernails and toenails are also made up of rapidly dividing cells. Chemo can affect them as well.
Though hair loss is common during chemo and isnt just limited to your head it can affect the hair all over your body. The degree to which you experience hair loss depends on which medicine youre prescribed. Your doctor and the rest of your medical team can talk with you about what theyve noticed about hair loss associated with the particular drugs theyre prescribing.
Make sure you talk to the nurses and assistants you encounter in your chemo sessions and elsewhere during your treatment. They may have a broader perspective than your doctor has.
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/ Does Medication Affect My Hair Growth
Medication can influence your hair growth. A side effect of hormone therapy, for example, is that your hair will become thinner. Enquire about the possible side-effects of your treatment with your doctor. They can give you an indication of how likely it is that you will have them. Dont forget that there are several other factors that influence your hair growth. Thinner or duller hair can also be a result of hormonal changes during menopause, of a shortage of certain vitamins or minerals and so on. Again: talk to your doctor. If necessary, they can refer you to a specialist for more targeted help.
Please note that we have limited ourselves to the most common questions. Our answers are based on hair growth as experienced by the majority of the people after chemotherapy. There are always exceptions to the rule. Do you have any more questions or concerns? Talk to your doctor, your oncology coach or your nurse.
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Are Chemo Curls Permanent
While it may be alarming to see your hair grow back differently than it did before, theres usually no need to worry as it is often only temporary. Your hair will typically start growing back within 3-6 months, but the process can be slow. During the first year of hair regrowth its likely your hair will be a different texture, such as curly. However, after a year of regrowth its possible that your hair will start growing back as it did before treatment.
Try to be patient with your hair as it grows back after chemotherapy treatment. Here are some hair care tips to help the process:
- Use a soft brush to care for your hair after chemotherapy.
- Only wash your hair when necessary.
- Use a gentle shampoo that contains sunscreen to protect your scalp from the sun.
- Cover your hair with a hat or headscarf before going out in the sun.
- Make sure to rinse chlorine from your hair after going in a pool.
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My Tips For Hair Growth Post
Im sure we can all agree that hair loss due to chemotherapy is one of the hardest aspects of going through treatment. We become unrecognizable to ourselves, to others, and even feel a loss of identity. On the flip side of this, theres the excitement of getting our hair BACK! But I think most would agree this feels painfully slow, and many can still struggle with their identity during this process. Im 11 months out of chemo, and while Im thankful for my mullet, Im still grieving the loss of my long hair. I long for the day that I will feel like myself again. In the meantime, Im sharing my personal tips and tricks at attempting to grow my luscious long locks back ASAP!
1.5 Months Post-Chemo
What worked for me was starting with my overall health. As a nurse, I know that proper nutrition is incredibly important. I personally go for lots of protein and chose some additional biotin/collagen supplementation. Check with your healthcare professionals if theyre OK for you.
3 Months Post-Chemo
Youve gotta take care of your scalp ! I found that a gentle shampoo and moisturizing plus massage worked well. I often used coconut oil, a leave-in conditioner or mask for this. There are some shampoos/conditioners/treatments for hair growth. Ask your hairstylist for some advice and be sure to check with your medical team, especially if the formulas include medicinal ingredients/chemicals. Personally, I liked the plumping line by Kevin Murphy.
6 Months Post-Chemo
9 Months Post-Chemo
How To Help Grow Hair Back After Chemo
1. Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
Making lifestyle changes, such as an improved diet full of nourishing foods, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, and avoiding toxins such as cigarettes and alcohol will not only help to improve your overall health, but also assist with the rate of hair growth.
2. Nourish Hair with Vitamins
Ingesting certain vitamins, such as vitamins B, E, C and Biotin can work to nourish your hair naturally and ensure that healthy growth can take place.
3. Add Inositol to Your Diet
This simple carbohydrate can be found in brown rice, lima beans, whole grain, citrus fruits , leafy green vegetables, nuts, bread, wheat germ, molasses, cantaloupe, and liver. It is vital in encouraging regular cellular function within the area of the scalp, helping to produce healthy hair cells.
4. Eat Loads of Essential Fatty Acids
Examples include omega-3 and omega-6, which can be found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc. The consumption of these essential fatty acids can work to promote hair growth, as well as overall health.
5. Try Essential Oils
Some people have stated how rubbing essential oils on their scalp has helped to promote hair growth. Many essential oils can be purchased, such as lavender and rosemary, the use of which can yield positive results.
6. Use Herbal Products
7. Care for Your Hair and Scalp Gently
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When Can I Have My First Haircut
There is no rule as to when you can first cut your hair, it all depends on the condition of your hair and what style you are aiming for. It is an entirely personal decision.
Quite often hair grows at different rates so you may want to trim one area and not another. For example, many people find that there are longer sprouts of hairs that they want to snip at, in particular around the ears and hairline, that can feel untidy if they stick out. These areas commonly need a trim before the rest and it is fine to do so. Take a look in our section Cutting new hair
Some people snip at the odd long hair themselves, there are no rules here so feel free to snip at those annoying sprouts! But if you are at all worried, or dont fancy giving it a go yourself, you are best advised to have a chat with a hairdresser who can help you plan your new style and pencil in a time for a trim.
It is a myth that cutting hair makes it grow quicker. Its more the case that when some of the new fine ends are snipped off and the hair is in a more organised style it can give the hair the appearance of looking fuller. It doesnt actually make the hair grow more quickly. The important thing is that you look after the condition of your new hair and feel that any cutting helps to improve the look and feel.
This is because it is best to avoid split ends that can run down the hair shaft and prevent further growth. Additionally, very dry ends can make hair difficult to style and appear unruly.
Do Chemo Cold Caps Really Work
Chemo cold caps are hats, either filled with a cooling gel or dry ice, that can be worn prior to, during and shortly after a chemo drug is administered. Cold temperatures constrict the blood vessels under a patients scalp, preventing some of the chemo agent from reaching hair follicles. Theoretically, less chemo agent kills fewer follicles, reducing the amount of overall hair loss. Plus, it seems to work.
In Europe, scalp cooling has been used by chemo patients for more than 40 years. Research out of the Netherlands, like this 2013 study published in the European Journal of Oncology Nursing, has found that while patients who wear cold caps during chemotherapy still experience some hair loss, its less severe than in patients who dont use a scalp cooling product. Those patients are also less likely to purchase wigs, and among those who do buy some sort of camouflage, are less likely to use it.
Similar results have been observed by other teams. In fact, the latest review of studies on scalp cooling, which looked over 32 different papers on the subject, went on to advocate in no uncertain terms that scalp cooling should be available in every hospital and health care professionals should offer the possibility of scalp cooling to all eligible patients.
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Hair Loss After Chemotherapy: 10 Things To Know
If you need chemotherapy as a part of your cancer treatment, you might have some concerns about losing your hair. But does every chemotherapy drug cause hair loss? And is there anything you can do to prevent this possible side effect?
What are the most common causes of hair loss during cancer treatment?
Most hair loss during cancer treatment is caused by chemotherapy. Thats because chemo targets rapidly growing cells, which damages hair follicles and makes the hair fall out. But radiation therapy can sometimes cause hair loss, too, when its used to treat head and neck cancers. It depends on the area thats receiving radiation.
Do all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss?
No. Not all chemotherapy drugs have hair loss as a possible side effect. Check with your care team to find out if its a potential side effect for the drugs youll be taking.
Will every patient who receives chemotherapy lose their hair?
No. Everyone has a different response. Some people might lose all of their body hair, while others experience only mild thinning.
How soon does hair loss usually appear after cancer treatment begins?
It generally becomes noticeable after about three weeks. Head hair usually goes first, followed by hair from other areas of the body. But again, everyone responds differently, so it could be sooner or later, depending on the individual.
The Look Good Feel Better Program
The Look Good Feel Better program is designed to help people cope with the effects that cancer treatment can have on their appearance. During weekly sessions, makeup artists teach makeup techniques, skin and nail care, and hair styling and head-covering options. To register for a class, call Look Good Feel Better at 800-395-LOOK or visit www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org.
Men can find information at www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org/programs/men.
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When It Comes To Building Confidence After Cancer
There are many ways to build confidence when it comes to cancer hair regrowth, such as
- Wearing make-up: if you dont use it usually you can learn how to apply it through online tutorials or with an expert in-person.
- Wear accessories which bring you joy: for example, colourful glasses and jewellery which you have loved for a long time or complimentary new pieces which make you happy when you wear them.
- Question your style: what you loved to wear may have changed and this can act as a fresh start. Colour analysis and full image consultation is something that I offer my clients who are unsure where to start.
Try scalp concealer, a spray that matches the colour of your hair and disguises patchy regrowth.
Nevo Burrell, image and hair advisor
Does Hair Grow Back After Chemo
Many cancer patients have questions and concerns about hair loss and hair regrowth after chemo. The degree of hair loss during treatments depends on factors including the type of chemotherapy, dosage, frequency of treatment, and the manner in which it is administered. The good news is chemotherapy-induced hair loss is nearly always reversible. Knowing what to expect can help you prepare for chemos many side effects, including hair loss. Ask your cancer team what type of chemotherapy drug they plan on administering, about the side effects, and for scientific data backing up its efficacy. Of course the most important thing is to select a drug that delivers the most optimal patient outcomes, whether it causes hair loss or not.
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At What Speed Does New Hair Grow
Its important to know that following chemotherapy the hair nearly always grows back but it can take a while and be slower then before hair loss. Very rarely, after high does of chemotherapy treatment the hair may not grow back at all or produce very fine hair. If you do experience any problems or concerns with new hair growth we are here to support you.
The growth rate of hair can vary a great deal but the average hair on the scalp grows at approximately half and inch a month, which gives an average growth of six inches a year. However following chemotherapy treatment it often takes a while for the follicle to recover and in turn produce a visible replacement hair. Most of the time this results in slow growing hair at first.
In our experience, after three months we would expect to see a short covering of hair over the scalp. However it may be very short to begin with. Whilst hair would normally, on average grow approximately half and inch per month, resulting in one and a half inches over a three-months. However, in the three months after chemotherapy treatment, it would not be unusual to see only half an inch or less of new hair growth.
For most people, once treatment has finished the first new hairs can start to peek through at around three to six weeks after chemotherapy has finished. Some people even find that their hair grows before treatment has ended, especially those on combination chemotherapy regimes.
/ My New Hair Has A Different Colour And Texture Will It Stay Like This
Good question. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesnt. Sometimes yourchemo curls will disappear after a few months. But for some women, the changes are permanent. It is a mystery why this happens. Not much has been written about this in medical literature. So all you can do is guess and wait. Sometimes your hair suddenly looks normal again after a year.
Remember that changedoesnt mean a drastic turnaround. We have yet to meet someone who originally had black hair and ended up with red hair after chemo. However blond hair does often get darker.
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Easy Ways To Make Your Hair Grow After Chemo
When I first learned that I had cancer, losing my hair was the least of my worries. It wasnt until my treatment was over and I was back to feeling like myself again did my hair situation bother me. I felt good and wanted my long curly hair back somethin fierce! At that stage of the cancer fighting game, I was willing to try anything and everything in effort to hurry this regrowth process along. I just wanted to make my hair grow back as fast as humanly possible! Today, I want to share whats worked for me some of the best ways to make your hair grow back after chemo.
To most people, cancer treatment and hair loss go hand in hand. In fact, when people learn that I had cancer, 9 times out of 10 their first question usually has to do with my hair! Did you lose your hair?Were you completely bald?Did your hair always look like this or did it grow back completely different?How did you get it to grow so fast?!
Me and my long hair at one of my first chemotherapy infusions.
Whether you are a cancer patient researching tips & tricks to use to help your hair grow back after chemo, the victim of a bad haircut or simply want longer, stronger, healthier hair Ive got you covered!
Side note: Not everyone undergoing cancer treatment will experience varying degrees of hair loss, but many do.