Options For Hair Care While On Chemotherapy

Brittle Hair, Hair Loss, Dryness Of Hair- Here Are Some Options On How To Relieve These Chemos- Related Hair Problems

By Shyamali Singhal, MD

Surgical Oncologist

Founder of Hope & Beauty

Chemotherapy drugs are strong and harsh medications that damage rapidly growing cancer cells. Unfortunately, these drugs do not differentiate between cancer cells from other rapidly growing cells in the human body — including those in hair roots.

Sometimes the eyelash, eyebrow, and other body hair can also fall out. Some chemotherapy drugs are more likely than others to cause this side- effect, and different doses can cause a wide range of unwanted effects, anything from a mere thinning to complete baldness. 

This is why Dr. Shyamali Singhal, the oncologist,  has selected a line of specially designed products for cancer patients, to help and reduce these problems.

Fear Of Hair Loss

Patients often don’t even think about how important hair is to them until they face losing it. And if they have cancer and are about to undergo chemotherapy, the chances of hair loss are becoming very high. For many cancer patients, hair loss is a message to the world that they have cancer. Patients might feel discomfort when trying to share this information with others. This is why the fear of this side- effect is often bigger than of other chemotherapy complications. Dr. Singhal always advises patients to talk to their doctor about any concerns regarding chemotherapy and possible hair related side- effects. Preparing for the possibility of hair loss may help in coping with this problem.

 

Development Of Side- Effect Symptoms

Hair loss usually starts falling out two to four weeks after the beginning of treatment.

The first thing patients usually notice is patches of loose hair on their pillow, on their hairbrush while brushing their hair or in the shower drain. The scalp may become overly sensitive.

Hair loss will continue during the entire treatment and up to a few weeks after.

Cancer patients report hair loss as a distressing side effect of treatment. Every time they see themselves in a mirror, their changed appearance is a reminder of the illness. Dr. Singhal knows how patients’ subjective sense of wellbeing is important for their recovery, which is why she suggests using Hope & Beauty hair care products.

 

How To Slow Down The Hair Loss

To slow down hair loss, Dr. Singhal advises patients to stay away from shampoos containing strong fragrances, alcohol, or salicylic acid. Patients should also avoid color, perm, or chemically straightening of hair. Rollers, curling irons, or straightening irons can damage hair, especially when it’s already brittle and dry from chemo or radiation. To save their hair from this, patients should use a soft-bristled hairbrush, and instead of using a blow-dryer, they should air-dry their hair.

Shortening the hair might also be a smart choice. Short hair doesn’t lie flat against the scalp, so the hair can look thicker and fuller.

Hair Recovery

After treatment, it may take several weeks for hair to recover and start growing back again.

It may happen that when hair starts to grow back, it can look slightly different from the hair the way it was previously. Luckily, this difference is usually temporary.

New hair might have a different texture or color. It might be curlier than it was before, or it could be gray until the cells that control the pigment in your hair begin functioning again. Using Hope & Beauty hair care products, the process of hair recovery can be made quicker and less stressful for patients.

 

Hair Loss Prevention

There is no treatment that can guarantee that hair won’t fall out during chemotherapy. Several treatments have been explored as possible ways to prevent hair loss, but none of those has been unexceptionally effective, including:

 

-Scalp cooling caps also referred to as scalp hypothermia. During chemotherapy infusions, a closely fitted, liquid-cooled cap can be placed on patients’ head to slow blood flow to their scalp. This minimizes chemotherapy drugs flow to patients’ follicles.

-Minoxidil is a drug approved for hair loss. It isn’t likely to prevent hair loss, but some research shows it may speed up hair regrowth. 

 

Emotional Support And Self Care Are Essential For Succesful Recovery

It’s normal to feel anxious, depressed, or self-conscious about hair loss. A support group can help connect patients with others going through the same experience. It helps to share feelings and offer advice. Hair usually begins growing back after the treatments end. But whether it grows back to its previous thickness and fullness depends on the received treatment, and caring attention a patient commits to self-care. For this reason, Dr. Singhal has selected a line of products for hair care that are appropriate for cancer patients. 

 


Dr. Shyamali Singhal, Founder of Hope & Beauty has over twenty years of experience as a Surgical Oncologist, and in that time she has obtained understanding and deep insight into all of the side-effects that radiation and chemotherapy can have on the body of a cancer patient.
“Cancer diagnosis and treatment can cause lasting trauma to patients’ bodies. Often, it has a devastating impact on minds too. That’s why acts of self-care, however small, are so important for all patients with a cancer diagnosis. Taking time – be it a day, an hour or even just a few minutes – to look after yourself, mentally and physically, can help manage the many issues the disease brings”, states Dr. Singhal.
She decided to help cancer patients by applying her expertise in selecting products that are suitable for cancer patients. Her mission with Hope & Beauty is to assist cancer patients as they’re recovering from cancer treatment. Dr. Singhal recognizes how important it is for cancer patients to look and feel good about themselves while they fight cancer, and recover from it.