Your guide to understanding hair loss due to Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the term used to describe medicines that will treat cancer with chemicals (drugs). Chemotherapy targets all rapidly dividing cells – healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Unfortunately, some types of Chemotherapy can have some unwelcoming side affects. Hair loss or thinning can be one of those.
Chemotherapy works by attacking cancer cells in the body. This process is designed to destroy and eradicate the cancer. Because this treatment circulates in the blood stream it means that other normal healthy cells in the body can also be affected, therefore hair cells are affected.
When the sensitive hair bulb that holds the hair root in place is attacked it affects the hair in different ways. You may notice once treatment starts your hair can become brittle, dry and lifeless. Thinning and/or falling out, which result in the hair loss may also happen. It is a temporary disruption to your hair. Once treatment that incurs hair loss has stopped, hair nearly always grows back after Chemotherapy treatment.
When should you make an appointment to come in to us?
After it has been confirmed that you are going to experience hair loss due to chemotherapy, it is advisable to contact us as soon as possible for an appointment. Many experience gradual hair loss between 14 to 16 days after first treatment commences.
Choosing your wig before hair loss starts is advisable for two reasons:
- We can see the style and colour of your hair, which will make it easier to find the appropriate wig that will match your original look. Some are brave to change their style or colour to something that they could never achieve on their own hair. There are no rules!
- Hasty decisions regarding wig choice can be made if on treatment and as a result, some clients may rush the process of choosing their wig only to realise they have made a rash decision and may be unhappy with their choice.
If you are unable to get in before hair loss occurs, don’t worry. Just bring along with you a recent photograph of yourself. This will give me a good idea of your hair colour and style.
An appointment is necessary. The consultation takes 1-hour in private calm and warm surroundings. This allows us to give all our clients that personal and individual attention that they deserve. We would recommend that you bring along either a friend or family member with you for some moral support and for that second opinion.
Our Holistic approach to hair loss
For many women, coping with hair loss due to chemotherapy treatment can be one of the most difficult challenges of cancer, but it does not have to be this way. For the past 30 years we believe the first step towards dealing with hair loss due to chemotherapy is to understand and become aware of what to expect and the different stages of hair loss. This will enable you to take control of your hair loss and make the experience less traumatic.
We believe learning, coping and preparation techniques before the changes of hair loss occur, can play a key role in helping clients not just to cope, but to rise above the changes to their self-image and self-esteem posed by hair loss.
During this period of uncertainty and fear, being able to grasp even the smallest sense of control is very empowering. Our aim is to help and support you through all the different stages of hair loss.
When hair loss starts, what happens next?
For many hair loss can start between 10 to16 days after their first treatment. Hair loss will start gradually. You will notice more hair on your brush or if you pull at your hair there will be more hair than your normal natural shedding. Your hair will NOT all come out at once.
The experience of hair loss varies from one person to the next. The information and tips that we gave you on your first visit will help you make positive decisions on how you approach your hair loss. An appointment is necessary.
At this appointment, we will be demonstrating:
- How to put your wig on correctly
- How to style your wig
- How to wash your wig correctly with the correct products
- How to wear certain headwear
- Hints and tips on looking after your scalp and products
- What to use for loss of eyebrows
We offer to all our clients help and support throughout treatment and after their treatment.
If there are any problems, we are here!
Medical cardholders and private insurance:
You may not be aware but if you have a medical card or have private insurance, you can claim against the purchase of your wig.
Medical cardholders: Bring your medical card and a letter from the hospital that you are attending (Your specialist nurse can write this up for you.) along with you to your appointment and we will do all the necessary paper work for you on your behalf.
Private insurance: Will reimburse or at least contribute towards the cost of your wig.
We are here to help and assist you.