Hair Care Advice for Cancer Patients

Expert advice for caring for your hair before, during, and after chemotherapy.
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Coping With Hair Loss

Hair loss typically begins three to four weeks after the first dose of chemotherapy, and is usually complete six to eight weeks later. Since it is so traumatic to see long locks fall out in chunks, I recommend that women opt for a shorter style before their treatment begins.

As your hair gets thinner, follow these styling tips:

  • Use a volumizing shampoo and conditioner such as Pantene Pro-V Sheer Volume Conditioner to give a thicker feel to the hair.
  • Use your hairdryer on a slow speed with low heat. Dry hair using a soft round brush that is 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter to give your hair some body. Another option is to use Velcro or sponge rollers to add some body to your hair.
  • Style hair using a volumizing mousse like L'Oreal Studio Line Mega Mousse Mega Body, or a spray such as Phytovolume Actif Maximizing Volume Spray. Avoid pomades, cremes or serums or hair will appear limp and greasy. Waxes can help as a thickener in some cases, especially the spray variety. I like Artec Manipulating SprayWax.
  • Keep in mind that hair that is lifted off the head seems thinner because you can see the scalp easier. Longer lengths also make the hair appear thinner.
  • Opt for a side part instead of styling hair straight back. This will help conceal the thinness.

Don't Neglect Your Scalp

While you're undergoing treatment, the scalp can be sensitive and tender, in some cases. Treat your scalp as you would facial skin: Apply Lubriderm or a mild moisturizer to soothe a sensitive scalp, and if you go outside bare-headed, wear sunscreen.

Continued on page 2:  Choosing and Wearing a Wig


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