Cancer is devastating. To add fuel to the fire is the hair loss associated with chemotherapy. Often, cancer patients wonder why they lose hair during the treatment.
Cancer cells tend to divide quickly. Hair follicles also have a tendency to divide quickly. When chemotherapy is applied, the drug cannot distinguish between both the fast-dividing cells. It works on both. So, along with the cancer cells, your hair follicles also die.
This leads to profuse hair loss.
Chemotherapy or radiation treatment hair loss is one of the most dreaded types of hair loss. It often sends a cancer patient to further depression.
Severity of hair loss varies from patient to patient. It depends on the type and dosage of drug used. You may suffer from mere thinning of hair, or you may lose all your hair.
Hair loss begins after a few chemotherapy sessions. You will notice gradual loss. Some patients notice their hair coming out in locks.
The hair that remain become dry or dull.
In some patients, chemotherapy triggers hair loss on the whole body. So, they start losing their eyebrows, their pubic hair, and hair on other areas.
Thankfully, chemotherapy or radiation treatment hair loss is temporary. Hair grow back after some time. But you must give your hair time. It may take a while like a month or even six months after the treatment.
Do not set your hair dreams high after chemotherapy. Hair that regrows after the treatment is often of a different texture. Sometimes, the color is different too!
People with straight hair may find their new hair curly. Somebody with blonde hair may find their new hair in gray. Your hair might restore its original pigment later, or it might not, say doctors.
In this case, you have to wait and watch, suggest experts.
Use a mild, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. You may want to undergo a minoxidil-infused hair regrowth treatment after chemotherapy, but you must discuss this with your oncologist and trichologist.
Refrain from salon treatments like coloring, bleaching, perming, straightening, or blow drying. Your scalp and hair are still recovering from the effects of chemotherapy. They are highly sensitive. Chemicals used in various salon treatments can irritate scalp. It can trigger severe hair loss.
Your oncologist may have already suggested a good diet to endure the effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. A nutritious diet will also have a positive effect on your new hair growth.
Radiation treatment is not as notorious as chemotherapy in causing hair loss. This is because radiation targets only the specific area of cancerous growth. So, you may notice hair loss on the skin of that area. You may not experience hair loss on the scalp.
Chemotherapy, on the other hand, works on the whole body. It targets cancer cells that may have metastasized (spread) to other body parts, away from the original cancerous area. That’s why your follicles get attacked.