Hair loss due to chemotherapy
The majority of people who have to go through the chemotherapy treatment process are being treated for cancer. For those who bravely see the process through, the whole situation can be made much worse on an emotional level when their hair begins to fall out due to the style of therapy.
Hair loss due to chemotherapy occurs as a result of chemicals that aggressively kill cancer cells, attacking healthy cells in the process and often causing nausea. This side effect leads to hair loss anywhere between 2-4 weeks into treatment. Once the therapy is finished, the hair will grow back.
How does chemotherapy work?
Due to the severity of a cancer diagnosis, treatment needs to be started as soon as possible. The reason that cancer is so deadly is the speed at which the condition develops, with tumours growing rapidly. To combat this, oncologists need an equally strong treatment, and this is referred to as radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy – or chemo – is often combined with both invasive surgical removal of visible tumours, as well as biological therapy in the form of bacteria and vaccines to give the patient the best chance of survival.
The medication itself is used to either shrink the tumours prior to surgery, known as neoadjuvant chemotherapy, or to destroy the remaining tumours after surgery, known as adjuvant chemotherapy.
The delivery system of the medication as well as the specific chemicals used can vary depending on the patient and the type of cancer that they have. So while some patients can be treated with alkylating agents, others may be treated with antimetabolites or anti-microtubule agents.
The severity of hair loss is often directly proportionate to the size of the dosage.
Will my hair grow back the same?
Nearly all patients who have had their cancer go into remission after chemotherapy will regain their hair after a certain length of time – usually once all traces of the drug have left the body which can be several weeks.
Often, the patient will notice that their hair is initially a little different in colour or texture in the beginning, but over time, the hair should return to its original condition. Doctors believe that this initial difference is due to the damage taken by healthy cells as a result of the treatment. For example, if the pigmentation cells that control hair colour are damaged, then they need to heal before the original colour returns.
Are there any steps I can take to prevent hair loss due to chemotherapy?
Sadly, hair loss during treatment is almost a certainty. However, as it can grow back once chemotherapy is finished it’s important to prioritise your overall health and receive the correct care.
To ensure that your hair returns in a healthy state once chemo is over, there are some steps you can take:
- Avoid any physical or chemical styling methods before, during, and after treatment. This includes curling irons, hot rollers, bleaches, dyes and perms.
- Only use a soft brush when styling your hair to avoid the risk of damaging the fragile returning hair.
- Ensure that your scalp is protected at all times during the hair loss, as exposure to the elements can damage your skin, and could affect the speed of regrowth.
- Invest in a good hair-covering, wig, or hat to limit the emotional stress caused by hair loss, and focus on your health first.
If you are worried that you are suffering from hair loss as a result of chemotherapy, it is always advisable to visit your GP to discuss the options that are available to you. However, we will always be available to provide additional support and offer a number of different therapies to help you recover from hair loss due to chemotherapy such as our bespoke perm-a-graph system, so please book a consultation with the Hair Growth Studio if you’d like advice from a different perspective.
What is a Perm-a-Graph?
This is our bespoke solution to hair loss. We take a sample of your hair, apply it to a skin membrane and then bond it to your scalp. We can pull your existing hair through the skin membrane to give you a full head of hair.
Below is one of our clients who we treated:
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Are you suffering from hair loss due to chemotherapy? Our Perm-a-graph procedure can help to restore your hair safely. Contact us to find out how we can help you feel your best.