When you think of chemo you usually think of hair loss. The good news is that not all drugs that treat cancer cause hair loss. I highly recommend asking your doctor directly to find out for sure. This post will help you make a game plan on how to handle the whole chemo, hair loss, and wigs process. I have compiled the list below on what to expect and an action plan on how to handle it. Its not everything, however, it is a great place to start.
Hair loss from cancer treatment may also depend on the following factors:
- The dosage of the drug.
- Individual sensitivity.
- Drug combinations.
- Past cancer treatment.
If you do experience hair loss it may only be a mild thinning of your hair. Other people either experience partial hair loss or completely lose all their hair. If your hair is going to fall out, it usually starts about two to three weeks after treatment starts.
Most people think that the hair loss will be sudden. The truth is that it happens gradually. The silver lining in all of this is that hair lost during treatment will usually start to grow back after chemotherapy is finished.
Chemo, Hair Loss & Wigs Dallas
Tips On How to Prepare for Hair Loss
- Make sure you will need a wig. Ask your doctor what to expect and plan accordingly.
- To slow down the hair loss process – go easy on your own hair. Stay away of harsh shampoos with alcohol or salicylic acid. Take a break from color, perming, and other harsh chemicals. Stop using hot tools and even rollers. Use a soft boars hair brush and let your hair dry naturally. The less wear and tear will dramatically slow chemo related hair loss.
- You may want to consider shaving your head once you start losing your hair. This can help you feel more in control of the situation and help you avoid waking up to hair on your pillow. Use some electric clippers – don’t use a razor. You can cut your head!
- If shaving your head isn’t an option, you can get a mesh wig cap to sleep in. This will help catch loose hair.
- Check to see if your wig is covered by insurance. You will need to get a prescription from your doctor for a cranial hair prosthesis. In addition, you will need a receipt from a wig salon with the same wording.
- Medicare doesn’t cover wigs no matter what you call them, however, medical wigs are usually tax deductible.
- Prepare your family. Let them know what to expect and why your treatment is so important. The more positive you can be the better they’ll react.
- If you are up for it – try a shorter style. This will help your hair look thicker and fuller. Also, shorter hair is easier to manager under a wig.
- As you lose your hair your scalp may become itchy and even tender. Get a mild moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to use during this time. You may even want to get a good scalp oil or treatment to help sooth your skin.
- Sleep on a silk pillowcase to help reduce friction when you are sleeping. In addition, wear a soft mesh wig cap or scarf around your head to collect loose hair as it falls out. Steer clear of braids and/or ponytails – they can tug and actually make your hair fall out faster.
Wigs & Chemo – Things You Need to Know
- Start doing research NOW. Schedule a consult with a reputable salon before you start losing your hair. It helps for they wig pro to see what you look like with your own natural hair.
- Don’t let your emotions get the best of you when considering what wig style, color, and construction will work for you. The whole process is going to be a lot to handle, however, you want to make the right decision for yourself – this will give you peace of mind later on when you have to actually wear a wig.
- Let the wig pro you are working with know that you are going through chemo. Take your time and ask to see several samples. We recommend light weight base without too much hair.
- Comfort and confidence are the two most important things you need to consider when purchasing a wig to wear during your cancer treatment. Inexpensive wigs usually aren’t the rout you want take during this time. The wig cap construction and fibers won’t hold up to the day to day wear and tear. In addition, they can be itchy and uncomfortable.
- It’s not unusual for your scalp to be sensitive while receiving treatment. We recommend getting a wig with monofilament cap “mono cap”. They are lighter, feel good on the scalp, and have more breathability. In addition, they look very realistic – you can even part them and see your actual scalp showing through.
- A good time to cut your hair is right before you get your wig. We recommend going as short as you feel comfortable with. Short hair will make wearing a wig easier and a lot more comfy. Seeing your hair on a pillow or sink can be an emotional roller coaster. We think that taking control of the situation can be empowering experience. Having an amazing wig ready will help you look and feel like you again asap. Our number 1 goal is to get you back to just being you.
- Have patience with the process! You are putting something on your head that is different and can feel a little weird and foreign. It does take some getting used to.
- Take care of your scalp! It’s important to clean your scalp a couple times a day to avoid skin irritation, pimples, cysts and even infections.