Does Hair Grow Back After Chemo?
Every time I see a cancer patient in a hospital, the first thing I notice is their thinning hair. As we all know, cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy will soon lose their hair.
Now, the question is, “Does hair grow back after chemo?”
That’s what we’ll find out in this post.
Does Hair Ever Grow Back After Chemo?
Regardless of the type of cancer you have, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy to eliminate the cancer cells from your body.
As a consequence of this treatment, you may experience hair loss. It’s one of the side effects of this therapy that many cancer patients fear most.
I know some cancer patients fear losing their hair more than the complications of chemo. That’s how they value their hair.
As they say, you won’t realize the importance of hair until you lose it.
Furthermore, if you’re not comfortable sharing your cancer diagnosis and treatment with anyone, you may fear that people will still know because of this side effect.
As always, you can talk to your doctor about this issue and the preparation you may need to cope with it.
So, going back to the question about hair growing back after chemo, the answer is yes.
Your hair will grow back.
However, it can take weeks after treatment for your hair to fully grow back. When it starts to grow back, it’ll be different from the hair you lost during treatment.
Then again, the difference is temporary.
For instance, your new hair can have a different color or texture. It may grow curlier than before. It may also look gray.
How Many Chemo Patients Will Lose Their Hair?
An estimated 65% of patients undergoing chemo will experience hair loss. Thankfully, when the therapy ends, your hair will grow back.
In other words, chemo-induced hair loss is reversible.
Hair loss is a traumatic aspect of this therapy. Some patients will even refuse to undergo treatment because of this side effect.
Chemo-induced hair loss commonly affects your scalp. However, you may also notice that you’re losing hair in your armpit, pubic hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows.
But why do you have to lose hair during chemotherapy?
Hair loss during chemotherapy is expected because the treatment attacks the cancer cells in the body. And it includes the hair matrix cells.
How Soon Do You Lose Hair with Chemo?
You won’t notice it immediately after chemotherapy. Your hair starts to fall out two weeks after starting treatment.
But when it does fall out, you’ll lose it in clumps. You’ll notice loose hair on your pillow.
Hair loss will continue throughout your treatment.
However, not all cancer patients will lose their hair. It still depends on the type of chemotherapy you’re receiving.
Whether or not you’ll completely go bald after treatment, losing your hair can be a distressing effect. Each time you look in the mirror, your changed appearance will remind you of your illness.
Can You Prevent Hair Loss During Chemotherapy?
Sadly, your doctor can’t guarantee that you won’t experience hair loss throughout your treatment. However, there are some possible treatments to prevent hair loss.
But they are not a 100% guarantee.
For instance, you may apply Minoxidil to your scalp before and during the therapy. However, this drug-approved for hair loss won’t prevent hair loss but it may speed up hair regrowth.
You may also wonder about the use of a head massage brush to promote hair growth. There’s no evidence that it can help in stimulating hair growth for chemo-induced hair loss.
However, if you experience scalp irritation, you may use this brush while in the shower. But you must not overdo it. It may cause more harm than good.
Talk to your doctor about whether or not it’s safe for you to use this brush.
You may still shampoo your hair but do it as little as possible. Use a gentle shampoo once a week. Avoid using hot water as it can dry out your scalp.
Again, ask your doctor about what shampoo you can use.
Does Biotin Help Hair Growth After Chemo?
Biotin is vitamin H. It may boost the appearance of your hair and skin.
However, when it comes to helping your hair growth after chemo, there’s not enough evidence to prove that taking a biotin supplement can help.
But some studies suggest supplementing your body with bionic may help hair look thicker after chemo. Still, it’s not proven.
What is the Best Shampoo to Use After Chemo?
There’s no need for you to shampoo your hair every day. Instead, you can shampoo every two to four days.
Choose a mild shampoo, like baby shampoo. To condition your hair, you may use a cream rinse.
What You Can Do to Your Thinning Hair After Chemo?
Be kind to your hair. No matter how frustrating your situation is, you must not bleach or color it.
The reason for this is that the chemicals used in these hair products can weaken your hair.
You should also avoid using heating devices, like hot rollers. Instead, opt to air-dry your hair.
You may also consider cutting your hair so it will look fuller. In this way, as your hair starts to fall out, people won’t notice it anymore.
Before chemotherapy, you should plan what kind of head covering you want to use. You may use scarves or wigs.
But it’s up to you what kind of head covering you can use to hide your hair loss.
Also, you must be patient.
Your hair will grow back but hair growth will be slow. In other words, your hair won’t look normal immediately.
Covering your head is completely optional. You may opt to use wigs to maintain your look. You may also use hats and scarves.
Other cancer patients won’t cover their balding scalp at all. For them, it’s a symbol of bravery.
You may also consider massage therapy to counter the negative symptoms of cancer and the side effects of chemo.
After chemotherapy, your hair will grow back. But it takes time. Understandably, you want it to grow back immediately.
But it doesn’t work that way. The only thing that you can do is to help it grow faster by taking care of it.
You should also be ready for the possibility that the new hair won’t be the same as the hair you had before.
It’s okay to be upset. But don’t let it ruin your mindset. It’s just hair.
Over to you. What are the things that you did to boost hair growth after chemo? Please let me know in the comments section below.
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