When you're struggling with cancer treatments and the challenges that come with a diagnosis, it may be difficult to adjust to potential hair loss and other changes to your body and appearance.
Chemotherapy treatment blasts healthy cells as well as cancerous ones, including the cells that make hair follicles; however, not everyone with cancer will lose their hair. People experience hair loss differently. Sometimes it’s a thinning process. Sometimes it comes out in large clumps or patches, some people never lose any hair at all.
The following is a list of helpful tips to help you navigate the road ahead.
- Prepare ahead for hair changes. Before you begin your treatment journey, prepare in advance for changes to your hair. Talk to your doctor about what to expect. Meet with a stylist who is familiar with cancer-related hair loss. Some people choose to wear head coverings and others don’t. Choose whatever feels the most comfortable for you.
- Avoid irritants. Heat and chemicals may cause hair to fall out. Avoid coloring, perming, hair dryers and curling irons. Use a soft bristle hairbrush or wide-tooth comb and a mild, gentle shampoo. Take special care of the scalp, which may get dry and itchy. As new hair grows in, it may be brittle and delicate and will need special care as well.
- Protect your head. Wear a hair net at night or sleep on a satin pillowcase to keep hair from coming out in clumps. When out in the sun, use sunscreen to protect your scalp, as sunburn can cause more itchiness, flakiness and dry skin. In cold weather, wear a hat or scarf outdoors to protect your head.
- There is no right or wrong way to present your hair loss to the world. Wigs, head scarves, or beautifully bald; All are equally beautiful depending on what makes you feel comfortable. If you opt for a wig, find a specialty shop that can match your natural hair color and texture and get it styled ahead of time. Some insurance plans or assistance programs may help to cover the expense. We’d be more than happy to recommend a local wig specialist!
- Consider head coverings. The Bra Room carries a selection of head coverings including turbans, scarves, caps, hats, or head wraps. Our hats and scarves are made of only highly breathable fabrics, which prevent heat build-up and skin irritation. The small amount of stretch in the materials ensures a more comfortable and stable fit.
- Build a support system. Share the challenges of hair loss with friends and family. Also, a cancer support group is a great way to meet other people dealing with hair loss. In this setting, you can get ideas and advice about how others coped with changes in their appearance. Programs such as Look Good, Feel Better offer live virtual workshops, providing valuable information and a connection for women undergoing cancer treatment. This online experience offers live instruction and tips for dealing with appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment during the one-hour, online workshops.
Whether you are shopping for Bras, Prosthetics, Swimwear or Head Coverings, The Bra Room offers a warm and inviting atmosphere. Having a great team of support, including a professional bra fitter, can help ease some of the stress and confusion surrounding the best options that are going to work for you!