How Do You Prepare for Chemotherapy Hair Loss?

Cancer patient looking out window | Chavie Russell Wigs

Preparation is vital, so they say. But nothing ever prepares a person for cancer, and it can be a stressful, life-changing experience. The chemotherapy treatment also has underlying difficulties for patients because of the side effects. However, cancer treatments have seen so much improvement over the years that patients' prognosis and survival rates have significantly increased. 

While this is good news for cancer patient's general health and well-being, we also have to consider their mental and emotional well-being. Not all chemotherapy treatments cause hair loss or baldness; for some that do and see these side effects, it can be a blow to their self-esteem and confidence, and they will withdraw from their social lives. 

But before you can provide any significant intervention, such as wearing a human hair wig to regain confidence, there has to be acceptance and preparation for what is to come. Doctors will inform patients that hair loss will be an outcome they’re supposed to expect when undergoing certain chemotherapy treatments. 

While that may be hard to accept initially, the silver lining is that you can prepare for hair loss, and the sooner the acceptance comes, the better the solutions you can think of, such as shopping for human hair wigs, scarves, and turbans that will keep you looking fabulous. 

At Chavie Russell Wigs, we understand how difficult the transition phase can be, and cancer patients need all the support they can get, even from their wig stylists. We’ve prepared this guide to give you an overview of preparing yourself for chemo-related hair loss and the steps to make the transition easier. Read on. 

Know When Hair Loss Happens

A woman with hair loss checking for wigs | Chavie Russell Wigs

The American Cancer Society states that chemotherapy-related hair fall happens one to three weeks after starting, and you’ll notice significant thinning after about a month. At least a few weeks before you start chemotherapy, give yourself time to weigh your options when it comes to your hair.

You shouldn’t immediately shave or do any drastic measures; instead, do some research and try to imagine yourself in the mirror wearing a turban, scarf, or wig. Better yet, try to visit some shops and see how each hair option would look on you. 

A cancer diagnosis shouldn’t also hinder proper hygiene and maintenance of your body.  Although understandably, you will feel down and possibly neglect the other aspects of your body, you need to take good care of your well-being more than ever. Pace yourself and seek help whenever possible. 

This goes the same thing for your hair. You might think that because you’ll eventually lose hair anyway, there’s no reason to wash, comb, or blow dry it. Remember that chemo-related hair loss is temporary, and you’ll see hair growth immediately after treatment. This means that you should take care of your hair more than ever to ensure that when it grows back, it will look and feel as healthy as ever. Do not stop your hair care routine and use organic or cancer-friendly products no matter how short it gets. 

Cut Your Hair Short Before Chemo

One way to make the transition easier is by cutting your hair short weeks before your chemotherapy. If you’ve been on the fence about shaving your head entirely, you can gradually ease into it by cutting your hair short. Visit your hair salon and talk to your hairstylist about which short hairstyles best suit your face shape.  

Your hair will eventually fall off, whether long or short, once the chemotherapy begins. Doctors would usually advise their patients to have their hair cut short to avoid hair fall happening during random times, such as when a patient is outside. 

It’s also not advisable to cut your hair short during chemotherapy. Not only will this waste your money, but you’ll also end up disappointed because of unpredictable hair fall. You’ll eventually have to shave your hair entirely.

Be Ready to Shave Your Head

Shaving your head full of hair can be an anxious undertaking and one you’d rather not do yourself. This undertaking requires lots of pep talks and probably lots of hesitation to visit the salon. This is why looking for options first to mitigate hair loss should be top of your list, such as looking for a beautiful hair accessory such as a turban, head scarf, or better yet, a human hair wig. 

Once you’ve set your mind to shaving your head and you plan on doing it yourself, here are a few tips:

  • Use an electric clipper instead of a razor when shaving your head, and do not clip down to the scalp, as this will make it more tender and sensitive. This will also push down the rigid hair, possibly leading to ingrown hairs and a very itchy scalp.
  • Leave about half an inch to an inch of hair when clipping. This will avoid itchiness once hair starts falling on your bed while you sleep. It is best to wear a mesh cap to catch the falling strands and keep them lying flat.

Remember that shaving your head will not make you any less and will only be temporary. Confidence starts by accepting whatever life throws at us and seeing the opportunity that it presents. Start by grabbing this chance to change your hairdo and try new styles by wearing a human hair wig. 

Keep a Memento of Your Hair

If you decide to keep your old style while wearing a human hair wig, you should have a memento of your hair before it all falls off or decide to shave it. Keeping a hair memento can match the color and texture of your hair with that of the wig, making it appear very natural.

Mementos can be a lock of your hair or your best selfie picture, which you can show to your stylist as a reference. Better yet, you can also visit your stylist before all your hair falls off, and this can help her assess where your hairline is and how dense your hair is to make you a customized wig that looks very close to your natural hair. 

Moisturize Your Scalp

Chemotherapy will prevent your scalp from producing sebum, an essential body oil that naturally moisturizes your scalp and skin. Dry skin can cover your hair follicles and prevent new hair from emerging properly once your chemotherapy ends. It’s best to exfoliate your scalp using a soft brush or an exfoliating glove and couple it with a good conditioner to keep your scalp healthy and moisturized. 

Check and Prepare Your Health Insurance Policy

If you have an insurance policy, check with the company if they can cover the cost when your doctor prescribes you a cranial or head prosthesis. It will help if you have health insurance that can cover the wig cost, as it can save you money, and you can focus your finances on other essential things. 

Final Thoughts

We can’t imagine a patient's ordeal when dealing with cancer and hair loss. This is why at Chavie Russell Wigs, we try to ease the transition by offering you options before you even start your chemotherapy. We’re with you all the way and support your journey back to good health and regain your confidence. Book a consultation with us!