By Sarah Kown
I bet you never thought you’d see yourself bald. For both women and men, losing hair can be one of the most difficult elements of cancer treatment to accept. Our hair is an identity-marker. It makes us feel attractive. Since hair loss due to cancer treatment is often inevitable, instead of dreading it, own it!
Here are six helpful tips:
1. Cut your hair shorter before it falls out.
Your hair won’t all fall out at the same time. It tends to fall out gradually in clumps, which can be traumatizing to say the least. Instead of seeing your long, beautiful locks at the bottom of the shower or on your pillow in the morning, it’s easier to either shave it off right away or get a very short haircut. If you have long hair, do it gradually. Start with a bob, then work your way to a pixie cut. This way it won’t be as obvious once it becomes patchy.
2. Go wig shopping.
If you’ve ever wondered what you look like with a different hairstyle, now is the time to try. Some wigs are beautiful and look very natural. I’m always amazed when one of my patients takes off their hair before treatment and I had absolutely no idea it was a wig. Some wigs can come at a hefty price, so be sure to do your research before buying one online. Just because a wig is made with 100% human hair, the quality of the hair differs greatly between companies. Those that use ‘Remy’ hair (meaning real unprocessed hair) tend to be the best quality. For more specific advice, check out our article “How to Choose and Wear a Wig as a Cancer Patient.”
3. Use an eyelash/eyebrow serum.
Using these products during treatment won’t keep your hair from falling out but using them after your finished treatment will help them to grow back. Xlash is more affordable than Latisse, and doesn’t require a prescription. However, I've personally had better results with Latisse. My lashes grew noticeably longer and thicker within the first 2-3 months.
4. Give microblading a try.
Although it can be pricey, microblading lasts about 18 weeks – the perfect length of time for your eyebrows to grow back. Unlike tattooing, microblading is done with a very fine needle, which implants a medical grade pigment on the epidermis layer of the skin, making it semi-permanent. Fine, realistic looking hair strokes are used to form brows that are unique to each person according to the shape of their face.
5. Take biotin and a good multivitamin daily.
Some vitamins and minerals can affect cancer treatment so if you’re still undergoing treatment, be sure to ask your doctor before taking any. When choosing a multivitamin make sure that it contains Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, along with Iron and Zinc. Supplement it with biotin capsules to increase the rate of hair re-growth.
6. Massage your scalp with oil.
Scientists believe that a scalp massage can improve hair growth. By encouraging blood flow to the scalp, the follicles receive more nutrients and oxygen, which promotes hair growth. In addition, the scalp massage is also thought to result in increased hair thickness. Also, how amazing are head massages!? Get a spouse or family member to help you out.
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