Hair loss is a common side effect of some cancer treatments. For many people, losing their hair can be one of the more difficult things to deal with. However, there are lots of things you can do to help cope with hair loss, feel more confident, and support your hair as it regrows.
Some cancer treatments including chemotherapy and radiotherapy can cause the loss of hair on the head and face, as well as other areas of the body.
Hair loss tips
If you’re worried about hair loss, there are a number of things you can do to help minimise the impact. Here are some top tips:
- Treat things gently - it’s important to treat your head and scalp gently by using natural products without any harsh chemicals, as these can damage delicate hair follicles and irritate the scalp. You can see a range of scalp-friendly products here.
- Be prepared - if you’re planning to wear a wig, the Live Better With community recommend using a wig liner made from bamboo, which is naturally breathable and will help protect against sweating and itching. It’s also worth choosing your wig ahead of time, so you can find the right colour and style and get accustomed to wearing it.
- Take control - many people find that having their hair cut short or shaving their head before their treatment can help them to feel more in control of their hair loss. Shaving can also help to lessen any irritation caused by treatment.
- Wear a cold cap - some people find that using a cold cap can help with their hair loss. This is a special strap-on hat that cools the scalp, helping to reduce hair loss by slowing the blood flow to the scalp and minimising the amount of chemotherapy drugs that reach the hair follicles. You can find out more about cold caps here.
- Talk to your hairdresser - they may be able to advise you on wigs and hair care. The charity, My New Hair, also has a salon finder to help you locate a specially trained hairdresser near you.
Dealing with hair loss
As you begin to lose your hair, you can take steps to help feel more comfortable and confident:
- Cover your head at night... many people find wearing a soft sleep hat at night can help to keep them warm and comfortable, while also minimising itching and containing any lost hair.
- ...and during the day - it’s also important to protect your head from any extremes of temperature during the day, by wearing a head covering, or applying a good sun lotion in hot weather.
- Use makeup to add definition - there are some great eyebrow stencils, pencils and gels that can help to add extra definition and boost your confidence.
- Look after your scalp - as you go through treatment, your scalp may become sore and irritated. Using a scalp lotion can help to soothe and moisturise your scalp. The Live Better With community recommend Ozalys Soothing Care Soft Scalp Lotion:
“Fantastic to find a cream that works so well & it doesn't leave you feeling greasy. A little really goes a long way too, so it’s great value for money.” Live Better With community member
- Treat new hair growth carefully - when your hair begins to regrow, it’s likely to be quite fragile. Continue to treat things gently by avoiding any harsh brushing or towel rubbing, or using heated styling tools such as straighteners or tongs, which can damage the hair shaft.
Best products for hair regrowth
At Live Better With, we stock a wide range of community-recommended products that can help protect weak and fragile hair and promote strong, healthy regrowth. Here are some of our favourites:
- Tints of Nature Structure Treatment - this specially formulated treatment works to repair and protect damaged hair and add moisture back in, using natural ingredients such as quinoa, aloe and chamomile which are gentle on your hair and scalp.
Lindens Biotin Vitamins for Hair Growth - many people find that taking a supplement can help. This supplement contains biotin, which supports the body’s natural production of keratin and helps promote strong and healthy hair growth.
(Please note: you should always check with your doctor before taking any supplement.)
- RapidBrow Eyebrow Enhancing Serum - this serum contains a blend of proteins, peptides and nutrients to help condition, repair and restore eyebrows.
- Revita.COR Hair Growth Stimulating Conditioner - containing powerful active ingredients, including caffeine, ginseng and lupine extract, this conditioner helps to improve the health of the scalp, hair follicles and hair strands:
“Hair is growing back thick and strong and my scalp is not itchy any more.” Live Better With community member
- Nioxin System 2 Treatment Kit - this 3-step hair regime is specially formulated to protect against hair loss, provide denser-looking hair and support healthy regrowth.
- FAST Hair Growth Shampoo and Conditioner - containing a unique blend of essential vitamins, amino acids and natural herbs, FAST (Fortified Amino Scalp Therapy) is designed to promote faster hair growth, moisturise and protect the hair, and increase blood flow to the scalp:
“I can’t believe the growth that has occurred in just 4 weeks of using these products every other day… it leaves my hair super soft and shiny… my scalp feels clean & refreshed with the shampoo while the conditioner feels soothing & moisturising.” Live Better With community member
Best headscarves and headcovers
The right headwear can make all the difference following cancer treatment, helping to protect your scalp and make you feel more comfortable and confident.
These days, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to headwear. From stylish headscarves and scarf hats to comfy bamboo beanies, there are styles and colours to suit any taste. You can see our full range of scarves and headcovers here.
Here are some of the more popular options:
- Bamboo hats: bamboo is our top recommended fabric for a sensitive scalp, with its natural softness, breathability and antibacterial properties to help keep your scalp feeling fresh and dry. Our hats are simple to use and come in a range of styles, including the popular Live Better With 3 Roses Bamboo Hat, with its stylish and elegant ruched style and gorgeous rose appliques, and the practical and comfortable Men’s Bamboo Hat.
- Headscarves and scarf hats: these come in a range of materials and colours. Our wraparound bamboo chemo scarf offers all the elegance of a tied headscarf, without the need to learn complex tying techniques, while our scarf hats consist of a soft hat and interlaced scarf which can be styled in a number of different ways.
Turbans and headbands: Twist and Tie Wraparound Turbans offer a chic, easy to wear option. Meanwhile, the Headbands of Hope Infinity Turban give a twist on the classic turban style headband - and for every headband purchased Headbands of Hope donate a headband to a child fighting cancer.
- Beanies: these can help to keep your head warm indoors or outdoors. The Bold Men’s Beanie is a popular choice for men with chemo hair loss, while our Chemo Beanies for women are lightweight, feminine and easy to wear.
Have you been affected by hair loss following cancer treatment? Are you looking for advice, or do you have any tips to share? Why not join the Live Better With community forum.