Chemotherapy treatment is a key weapon in the battle against cancer. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of chemo is hair loss. So how do you encourage your hair to grow back once your chemo treatment has finished and you are in remission?
Hair regrowth after chemo
Your hair will naturally begin to grow back once the chemo drugs are out of your system. This takes place over many months and begins with a soft, fuzzy covering of 'baby' hair. During your hair's regrowth period, it's important to manage your hair properly.
Managing your diet
Eat a healthy diet and supplement it with the following vitamins that are good for your skin condition and hair growth:
- vitamin B complex encourages blood flow to your scalp, stimulating hair growth
- vitamin E aids capillary function
- vitamin C promotes the health of hair follicles
- biotin can help hair to grow thicker and faster
- inositol is a simple carbohydrate that promotes cell function in the scalp to help stimulate the growth of hair cells
- omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help to moisturise hair and are found in oily fish or you could take evening primrose oil supplements if you don't like fish
Managing your hair regrowth
There are a number of ways in which you can encourage your hair to grow back.
- Apply moisturiser to your scalp. This can help stop the itching that comes when your hair begins to regrow and helps to prevent flakiness.
- Use specially blended products containing essential oils to massage your scalp. Look for blends containing rosemary oil to regulate hair loss, ylang-ylang and bergamot to strengthen the hair shaft, and lavender oil to combat dandruff and strengthen the hair's roots.
- Protect your scalp when you go outside by wearing hats, scarves or wigs.
- Have your hair trimmed regularly as it grows. A clever stylist can cut the hair in such a way that it looks thicker and more luxuriant.
- Avoid having your hair bleached, permed or straightened until at least 18 months after you've finished chemo. Chemical and heat treatments can damage the fragile hair in the early stages of regrowth.
- When you go to bed, cover your hair with a satin scarf to reduce the friction between your hair and your pillow case, which can cause the hair to break and thin.
- Use a soft-bristled brush to prevent damage to the delicate hair and scalp. If your hair becomes tangled, use a wide-toothed comb and work slowly from the bottom to avoid pulling on your scalp.
If you lose your hair following chemotherapy treatment, don't despair. You can encourage your hair to grow back to its former glory by being patient and following the tips outlined above. You may also benefit from other hair regrowth treatment depending on your body and scalp.