Hair and scalp
Hair loss is one of the most dreaded side effects. It is also one of the signs that the treatment is working: by introducing a toxic product in the blood, chemotherapy destroys rapidly-multiplying cells, such as cancer cells, but also some healthy cells such as those in hair follicles. This is why hair and body hair are often the first affected. However, not everyone will have alopecia. Either way, your hair will grow back after your final session.
Caring for your hair and your scalp
If you’re experienced hair loss, wash your hair with a very gentle shampoo the day before your sessions and avoid using shampoo for the following 3 to 5 days. Gently pat your hair dry with a towel. Avoid anything that may be harsh on your scalp and your hair: hair-dryers, flat-irons or curling irons, hot rollers, perms, dyes, braids, and tight buns.
Using a cold cap on wet hair about fifteen minutes before starting chemotherapy can help reduce penetration of toxins in hair cells, which will prevent hair loss. The cap must be changed as soon as it softens, and removed about half an hour after the end of the session.
Ask your medical team for advice.
Go to bed with a net over your hair or on a satin cotton pillowcase.
Caring for your scalp
If your hair has fallen out, you may experience itching or feel like your “hair hurts”. Take care of your scalp by using adapted skincare products: massage it daily or ask someone to help you massage it with a nourishing, anti-itching product. You can leave the product on by wrapping a warm towel around your head.
Choose hair products that include "Polysorbate 21" to soothe your scalp and restore the softness and shine to your hair.
Selecting your “Head Covering”
Synthetic or natural wig, hat, beanie, or headscarf... You have many options to choose from. Ask a friend or family member to help you decide.
Specialized shops and major brands offer personalized appointments, allowing you to make your selection freely and discreetly. Some will even meet you in your home or hospital room. Once you have made your selection, you may decide to cut your hair shorter if you like, to get used to your new appearance.
And remember: this is only temporary.