How to Deal with Hair Loss When Undergoing Chemo
A cancer diagnosis is nothing short of overwhelming. In addition to the many choices you will need to make about your treatment plan, the experience also takes a toll on your mental, physical, and emotional wellness. Chemotherapy is a commonly used drug treatment used to help cure cancer and treat symptoms, but it can also be extremely hard on the body. The therapy uses powerful chemicals to kill the rapidly developing cancer cells. However, other healthy cells in your body, such as the cells that make up your hair follicles, will suffer damage as well.
While the prospect of losing your hair can be alarming, you can find ways to get through the treatment process as positively and confidently as possible. First, take steps to learn more below about hair loss during cancer treatment, as well as how you can help yourself cope with damage to your hair follicles. When you are focused on finding the best ways to respond to symptoms, you can keep a good attitude and embrace the changes you experience until treatment is over and your hair grows back.
Step 1: Understand When & Why Hair Loss Occurs
It is never easy to experience hair loss associated with cancer treatment. However, it can help to know why it occurs, as well as how common it is for patients. According to Medical News Today, chemotherapy usually leads to some degree of hair loss because it negatively impacts the hair follicles on your head.
Hair follicles are made up of many cells that divide to produce thick, healthy hair. When the cancer-killing chemotherapy gets to the follicles, a condition called chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA) is said to occur. The first phase of CIA usually begins a week or two after starting treatment when hair may begin to fall out around the ears and on the top of the head. Hair color and structure may also begin to change, with the final phase of hair loss occurring 1-3 months after treatment begins.
Thankfully, this side effect is only temporary. For the vast majority of cancer patients, the condition will clear up once their chemotherapy regimen is over. The normal texture and color of your hair will usually return to normal, even if it takes a little while for it to look or feel like usual.
Step 2: Care for Your Hair & Scalp
One of the best ways to prolong the effects of hair loss and promote healthy hair regrowth is to care for your scalp. Use a mild shampoo, such as baby shampoo, to wash in the bath or shower. When detangling dry hair, use a wide-tooth comb or an infant hairbrush. This will help to prevent pulling on the hair. It can also help to reduce the frequency of how often you wash your locks. A few times per week should be fine.
Since hair loss usually occurs first in the areas that experience the most traction, switch to a satin pillowcase. This will help prevent the rubbing during sleep that can lead to more hair falling out. Stay away from accessories like ponytails and large clips that may pull on your locks.
Step 3: Find a Stylish Headcover
While bald is always beautiful, you can also choose to use a headcover. Headcovers are an excellent way to complement your look, protect your head, and keep yourself motivated throughout the course of your chemotherapy treatment. As Verywell Health tells us, there is a headcover for hair loss for everybody. Turbans are one of the most on-trend hair coverings today for their beauty and versatility. Scarves also come in styles and materials for every personality. If you like hats, feel free to wear a baseball cap, beanie, or boater.
Some people choose to go with real hair wigs, synthetic hair wigs, or hairpieces. Feel free to consult with a hairdresser or stylist. They can help you to consider how to complement details like your face shape and your hairstyles. By getting creative and using your imagination, you can love your look while you undergo the treatment process.
Step 4: Get Some Emotional Support
Even if you do everything you can to care for yourself, it is normal to feel many emotions when you lose your hair. Seeking support for your feelings can help you to cope and feel more positive. Start by talking to a friend or loved one. Tell them if you feel sad, angry, or any upsetting state. In some cases, just sharing what you are going through can improve your state of mind.
Other people going through cancer treatment prefer to seek encouragement and understanding through a support group, counselor, or therapist. Many clinics and hospitals have groups onsite. You may even be able to find regular sessions online. If you decide to go to counseling, find a professional who works with people who are undergoing chemotherapy. Their experience will help you feel more comfortable about the process and help you find solutions for improving your mental wellness.
Caring for Yourself While Undergoing Chemo
Another way to care for your hair loss while undergoing chemotherapy is to find ways to promote future healthy hair growth. Our Capillus® laser therapy caps energize and stimulate cells within the hair follicle with no known side effects. They are even used to promote hair growth in women with conditions such as female pattern baldness.
Each device utilizes what is known as photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT). Formerly often referred to as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), this technology helps to stimulate and improve the function of cells in the body. For this reason, it can also promote growth and healing on the scalp, all without the use of pharmaceuticals or invasive procedures.
While it is never easy to experience hair loss, there are ways you can get started on the road to healthy hair today. Discover the laser therapy cap that is right for you. Whichever product and coverage you choose, just six minutes per day is all you need for thicker, healthier hair. Using the laser therapy cap of your choice is just one of the ways you can keep a positive attitude as you conquer your chemotherapy treatment.