hair loss

Hair loss in men, women, and children is a commonly known side effect of the cancer fighting drug treatment known as chemotherapy. As chemotherapy drugs fight off the cancer cells inside of a patient’s body, the drugs can also occasionally damage similar types of healthy body cells, including those in the hair matrix. This chemotherapy induced hair loss tends to be underway as early as one to two weeks into treatment, picking up speed after four to eight weeks of chemotherapy drug treatments continue. While there are many articles out there on finding the right wig or hat, or dealing with the emotional consequences of chemotherapy induced hair loss, here are some tips that may help you keep more of your hair during treatment and let you know what to expect your hair to be like afterward, when it grows back.

Prevent hair loss with scalp hypothermia

In many cases, hair loss due to chemotherapy treatments has been slowed or stopped by placing ice packs on the scalp before and after chemotherapy treatment. Since the ice helps slow blood flow to the hair follicles, chilling the scalp helps reduce the amount of the chemotherapy drugs that actually find their way into the follicular cells. Unfortunately, the main problem with this sort of hair loss prevention is just that— chilling the scalp prevents chemotherapy drugs from getting into the hair follicles, increasing the likelihood of a cancer reoccurrence, and increasing the likelihood that said cancer relapse would come to rest in the scalp or even the brain. As a result, this practice should only be tried with a doctor’s assistance, after the doctor has signed off on attempting the scalp hypothermia in the first place. Otherwise, it is probably best to simply deal with the hair loss during treatment and look forward to its swift return afterward.

Hair after chemotherapy

Chances are, once your chemotherapy treatments are over, your hair will grow back surprisingly quickly. Since your hair grows in cycles, there’s a chance that this cycle’s hair growth will have a different texture, and possibly be thinner as well. If this is a concern for you, some hair growth medicines such as Minoxidil or Rogaine have been shown to be effective even in cases where the hair loss is induced chemically, such as due to chemotherapy treatments.

Foods for hair growth

  • Salmon
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Beans
  • Lentils