Recover Overcoming Treatment Hair Loss
Losing your hair as a result of chemotherapy can be a traumatic experience. Chemotherapy hair loss may include scalp, facial, pubic and body hair, and hair in the armpit. The reaction may vary from slight thinning to complete loss of hair.
Yes, it does grow back eventually. But in the interim, some women suffer from image issues because of chemotherapy hair loss. They also may become so self-conscious about being bald that they avoid venturing out in public and enjoying their normal daily activities.
Wigs, hats and scarves are short-term solutions, providing a way to mask the problem. But how do you get your hair to grow back full and healthy after breast cancer treatment?
First, keep things in perspective. Overcoming breast cancer treatment is challenging enough, physically and emotionally, so you shouldn’t add unnecessary stress to your life by being overly concerned about your hair loss. It will grow back. I know, easier said than done.
Second, understand that chemotherapy drugs are designed to kill rapidly growing cancer cells. Other cells, like hair follicle cells multiply just as quickly, helping develop and grow hair (and fingernails). So, while chemotherapy drugs destroy cancer cells, they are not selective and can also destroy the cells responsible for normal hair and nail growth -- hence, the loss of hair during chemotherapy treatment.
What this means is that after undergoing chemotherapy, your hair follicles and natural oils in the scalp are depleted. To regrow your hair, both need to be rejuvenated and restored.
If you are recovering from chemotherapy you should avoid using harsh chemical processes such as perms, relaxers, bleaching and coloring until your hair has grown at least three inches – or, ideally, not until at least one year after your last treatment. Chemotherapy can cause skin sensitivity, and these hair chemicals can be extremely irritating and cause more damage to the scalp.
Here are some ways with which you can rejuvenate your hair follicles and restore your scalp:
Use Natural Oils
Various brands of oils, available in beauty stores, can help repair damaged hair follicles. You can use coconut, almond or olive oil to treat them. It’s quite simple: Just apply the oil at night, massage it into the scalp and leave it on until morning. Use a mild shampoo to wash your hair. Continue this treatment for a few months to restore the damaged hair follicles. Oils keep follicles healthy and nourished, and it is even more effective to heat the oil before applying it.
Tea tree oil has many antifungal and antibacterial properties. Applied regularly, it not only helps in treating damaged hair follicles, but also repairs dry hair and scalp. You can add it to your conditioner and apply it to the hair. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then wash it out with lukewarm water.
Follow a Healthy Diet
The health and condition of hair is a measure of your body's health. Since your body has been compromised from chemotherapy, it is important to restore it to its normal functioning its capacity. A healthier diet will automatically be reflected in the hair. Consider including lots of green vegetables and fruits in your diet; drink at least 8 to 10 8- ounce glasses of water every day.
Take Proper Care of Your Hair and Scalp
Take proper care of your hair. When going out into the sun, cover your head with a scarf or use an umbrella. Give your hair adequate time to recover from the chemotherapy.
Overcoming hair loss from chemotherapy is manageable, but it does take time. Natural alternatives such as those noted above can stimulate hair regrowth, but there are also over-the-counter products that have proven to be effective in treating chemotherapy hair loss.
Nioxin, unlike many other hair-care products, does not have damaging alcohols and PVP film formers that coat the hair and create buildup on the scalp that clogs the follicles. Instead, it contains essential oils, vitamins and nutrients that are essential for healthy new hair growth. Nioxin products are hypoallergenic and biodegradable. No harmful side effects have been reported.
Nioxin works on the scalp by cleansing away, detoxifying and dissolving build-up on the scalp and hair follicle. It opens up the path for nutrients to enter and feed the roots for healthy hair. It restores the moisture balance to the scalp, increases cellular energy and restores elasticity to the hair. It also increases microcirculation by using your body’s oxygen-containing blood and the nutrients to feed your hair follicles.
Although not originally developed for cancer patients, Nioxin has been proven safe even for use during chemotherapy treatments to help promote a healthy scalp. If used before chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Nioxin will strengthen the hair and remove toxins, protecting the hair from damage on a cellular level. However, if you are currently undergoing any medical treatment, you should consult your doctor before use.
If you are interested in using Nioxin to regrow your hair, go to Partner Shopping to make your selection.
If you want to know more about breast cancer and hair loss, you can hear what one breast cancer survivor learned about her hair -loss experience in Changes and Challenge.
In addition, Breast Cancer Care’s Breast Cancer and Hair Loss is an excellent resource for dealing with hair loss from breast cancer treatment.