Managing Hair Loss

Hair loss is probably the most noticeable, and some would say traumatic, effect that cancer treatment may cause. Remember that hair loss is temporary. You can make the transition a lot easier by taking control and preparing for hair loss. 

Here are some helpful tips:

PRIOR TO HAIR LOSS

Depending on the type of treatment you’re receiving your hair may either thin during the course of your treatment or fall out completely. Your oncology team will be able to tell you when you may expect hair loss.

It’s best to look for a wig before you start treatments so your hair alternatives specialist can match your present hairstyle, colour and texture as closely as possible.

THINNING HAIR
If you notice your hair is thinning, you should take note of the following:

  • Refrain from colouring your hair
  • Your scalp may be very sensitive. You may wish to wear a sleep cap during the day and night for comfort and to catch the hair.
  • The texture of your hair will change and it may feel brittle. A hydrating shampoo and conditioner can help make your hair feel softer.
  • Gently dry your hair with a towel.
  • Consider cutting your hair shorter than usual. This will help your hair look thicker and make the hair loss less noticeable. Also, short hair doesn’t put stress on already weak hair follicles.
  • Don’t shave your head to the scalp as this may cause irritation. It’s recommended to cut hair to 1/8”
  • Avoid overuse of blow dryers, curling irons, hot rollers, hair sprays and any products with an alcohol base.
  • When sleeping, use a satin-like pillowcase to minimize tugging your hair at the scalp.

FULL HAIR LOSS 

When you’ve lost your hair, your scalp may become drier. Gently massage your scalp with your facial moisturizer to make it feel more comfortable and to increase circulation to your stressed hair follicles.

Caring for your scalp will greatly reduce sensitivity and itchiness, allowing you to wear a wig, scarf or hat more comfortably.