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Cancer treatment: Here's how to take care of hair after chemotherapy, radiation

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Feb 09, 2023 02:45 PM IST

Chemotherapy and radiation drugs affect the healthy cells of the body too hence, the skin and hair problems start to show. Hair fall is usually noticeable about 2-4 weeks post the treatment and the scalp may feel tender. Here's how to take care of hair after chemotherapy

Cancer is an emotionally and physically crippling disease and even with the latest treatments, hair fall is a given side effect of cancer, which becomes emotionally crippling for someone who is losing hair because of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy related hair loss is not limited to scalp hair but effects hair on eyebrows, eyelashes etc hence, some temporary solutions include wearing a wig or cap to cover up the lost hair and regain confidence in one’s self esteem but they are not permanent solutions.

Cancer treatment: Here's how to take care of hair after chemotherapy, radiation (Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rinky Kapoor, Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Dermato-Surgeon at The Esthetic Clinics, explained why chemotherapy causes hair loss and said, “Chemotherapy and radiation drugs are very potent medications that aim to destroy the rapidly multiplying cancer cells in the body. but these durst also have an affect on the healthy cells of the body and hence the skin and hair problems start to show. Hair follicles are a home of one of the fastest growing cells in the body and cancer treatments damage them too. Hair fall is usually noticeable about 2-4 weeks post the treatment and the scalp may feel tender. This hair loss can last for a few weeks post treatment too.”

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Talking about what you can do, she siad, “Chemotherapy hair loss is not permanent, your hair will grow back eventually but there might be some change in shade and texture and rate of hair growth. This regrowth might not be as quick as you want it to be but about an inch in a month or two after the treatment. To address the issue of hair growth just talk to your doctor about treatments and hair care for long lasting relief.”

According to her, following are some treatments that can help you in taking good care of your hair post cancer recovery -

· Cold cap/scalp cooling: This preventive treatment is done during chemotherapy. The cap cools the scalp so that there is less damage to the follicles. but this cannot be used on every patient.

· Medications: Minoxidil is the most popular hair fall treatment medication prescribed by doctors worldwide. This needs to be applied on scalp twice a day. The downside is that once you stop minoxidil hair fall might start again.

· QR678 hair regrowth therapy: An FDA approved treatment, QR678 is a safe and provenly effective way to improve hair health post chemotherapy and accelerate new hair growth. QR678 is a natural formulation full of peptides, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that is injected directly in the follicles to promote hair growth. This is a permanent hair loss solution and has no side effects.

· PRP or the platelet rich plasma therapy: This treatment involves using the healthy platelet from the patients and injecting it in follicles to provide them a boost of health. This treatment needs a booster dose every ever or six months.

· Hair transplants: These are suitable options for chemotherapy patients whose hair follicles are damaged beyond revival. Follicular unit extraction (FUE) and Follicular unit transplant (FUT) are two most popular hair transplant methods used to cover the blading spots on the head.

She insisted that while the treatments work their way, you can help your hair health by taking good care of your health by -

· Using a gentle shampoo on your scalp.

· Avoid washing your hair everyday and use a gentle detangles spray to clear the tangles.

· Use a wide toothed comb and soft brush while combine to avoid pulling your hairs

· When going outdoors use a good sun protection on the scalp in the form of hat, sunscreen, turbans, or scarf or cap

· Avoid heat-styling, chemical curling, straightening, and hair colour for 2-3 months post chemotherapy

· Switch to a silk pillowcase to avoid friction in hair

· Ask your stylist for an easy to maintain hairstyle such as short hair

· Don’t rub your hair dry post shampoo, instead just use a microfibre towel to soak the excess moisture.

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