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Hair Care for Cancer Patients

by Sandy Taylor

During cancer treatment, patients experience hair loss, dry skin, and nails become brittle. Of all the side effects in women’s health, hair loss is the most dreaded and distressful. One thing that cancer patients need to know is that these hairs grow back except for a few rare cases. The extent of severity depends on the type of chemotherapy drugs administered to the patient. This means that higher dosages may result in more hair loss and vice versa is also true. Some patients experience hair breakage while others experience hair loss. Whichever the case, the following are helpful ways of taking care of the hair while treating cancer.

1. Use Mild hair products

Many hair shampoos and conditioners contain harsh chemicals and fragrances that only serve specific hair types. Some conditioners are so oily and contain humectants, emollients, etc. For a person living better with cancer, the first thing is to keep off such products. For cancer hair care, choose a mild shampoo and hair conditioner that is gentle to the scalp. A Baby shampoo that has a good PH balance meant for the dry inflamed scalp can be the best to use in this case. A cancer survivor with itchy scalp can apply mineral oil or baby oil instead of using harsh hair oil.

2. Scalp cooling Caps Therapy

This is a therapy that is widely embraced in Europe during post-surgery cancer care. It involves freezing the scalp which reduces the effects of chemotherapy on the scalp slowing hair loss. This method is friendly to both women and men’s health but can be quite costly even though many cancer patients report positive results out of it.

3. A new hairstyle could help

Persons who want to live better with cancer may consider choosing a hairstyle that does not involve too much curling, blow-drying or application of hair products. They can go for a simple hair cut that requires little hair products application and can be styled in different ways. Some people shave their hair completely during cancer treatment. This is also advisable if a cancer patient is comfortable with it and also to avoid seeing how their hair is falling out.

4. Avoid coloring and perming

During post-surgery cancer care, doctors advise cancer patients against perming and coloring their hair. This applies to all patients; whether they are experiencing hair fall out or not. Chemotherapy affects the hair shaft resulting in a flaky, dry, and itchy scalp. Perming or coloring the hair can lead to an unpredictable outcome or can even increase the thinning of the hair. If you really have to color your hair, go for temporary hair colors that cannot cause you irritation on the scalp. The color should be free of paraphenylenediamine or peroxide. It is also important to wait until you are done with chemotherapy to apply any lightening agent on your hair.

5. Do as little as you can with your hair

Be as gentle as you can when handling the hair and the scalp. A cancer survivor should brush the hair with a wide-toothed comb. If you were used to blow-drying, brushing, pulling or styling your hair frequently, this should stop to reduce hair breakage and loss. You can shampoo and condition the hair once in a while but washing the hair once a week is enough. If possible, avoid using any products that contain chemicals as much as possible until after radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Embrace the use of natural products like organic castor oil to promote regrowth of healthy hair brows and eyelashes. It is also advisable to sleep with a hair net to prevent falling hair from clumping on your pillow forcing you to clean it all over again.

Haircare to cancer patients after treatment

• Continue being gentle to your hair

Your new hair growth will still be vulnerable to damage caused by blow-drying, hard brushing, and using curling gels. Continue with gentle hair care by avoiding such products and bleaching agents as well. Processing the hair causes more damage to new hair and can cause sensitivity and irritation to the scalp.

• Be patient with your hair

Hair regrowth after cancer treatment happens slowly and may take so much time to come back to normal. It is important to be patient with the process and practice appropriate care as you wait for it to slowly revert to normal.

Final Thought

Hair is important especially when it comes to self-esteem that can be harmful to both women and men’s health. Hair is a symbol of femininity and losing it can cause frustrations and distress to women’s health. People who want to live better with cancer should be strong enough to face and fight the battle. Once they come out stronger, that defines who they really are. It is important to understand that the hair will likely grow back and taking good care of it determines how well it copes with the condition. Just hid to the above steps and all will be well.

Article Written By Wanda Bandojo

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