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Headcovers & Hats FAQs

  • Knit hats for chemo patients are usually elasticated, often made from a variety of fabrics like cotton, wool or bamboo, and sit snugly on your head. A turban is a style of headwear that has become increasingly fashionable - with more and more turban-style hats being made. Scarves are long pieces of material that (like hats) can be made from a variety of fabrics. Scarves need to be tied and styled onto the head, which can be fiddly for some, but once mastered, look very chic.

    All of these headwear options are effective ways to protect yourself from harmful sunrays when suffering from hair loss due to chemotherapy. It’s just up to you to choose a style!
  • It all comes down to personal preference and dexterity! These are the most important factors to consider when choosing headwear, since style and the ability to fashion the headwear is mostly up to you.

    Cancer hats for men are popular choices for outdoor activities because they offer great protection against the elements. On the other hand, women often go for bamboo hats, since they are highly breathable, good for hot and cold weather, and fashionable - with ruching and buckles. There’s also a variety of hats, such as soft cotton beanies, which are often worn at bedtime; keeping you warm and preventing annoying loose stray hairs on your pillow.

    Turban style are proving more and more popular amongst chemo patients in the UK as of late - especially those made out of bamboo.  These are perfect for female cancer patients because they can be styled in a variety of ways - allowing you to change up your look as often as you’d like.

    Scarves for chemo patients come in a variety of forms. Most of them are permanently tied and attached to a soft stretch band that sits comfortably around the head. This is done to help those who might suffer reduced mobility. Elegant, trendy, fashionable, the variety of colours and fabrics is all but infinite, giving you a wide range of options to choose from.

    Personal preference and dexterity are the biggest factors when it comes to choosing how to cover your head. Hats are very easy to wear, and very breathable. They are a great choice when walking around the house, or to sleep in at nighttime to protect your pillow from loose stray hair. Turban style hats are proving more and more popular, especially those made out of bamboo. Scarves are a stylish option for covering your head, but if you are experiencing peripheral neuropathy, or have limited upper arm movement, tying a scarf may prove difficult.
  • The best hats for cancer patients are made of natural fibres such as wool, cotton and bamboo. These are softer less irritating than man-made fibres like polyester.

    Wool: Wool is a natural insulator, meaning it will keep hot air in. This is great for cold winter days as woollen hats for hair loss due to chemo will not only help your confidence but also help to keep you warm!​

    Cotton: During summer, however, you may find that hats for cancer patients which are made of wool can get a little too warm. Cotton fabric is a wonderful alternative. Made from plants, cotton is a lightweight fabric that is perfect for keeping your head covered during the warmer season and it can be washed more easily than wool.

    Bamboo: This soft fabric contains all the best properties of wool and cotton. Bamboo hats, turbans, and scarves for cancer patients undergoing chemo are very breathable, but equally, warm - making them a good choice for you on all occasions. Bamboo has the extra advantage of having antibacterial properties which will reduce the itchiness you might suffer with other fabrics if worn for extended periods of time. Comfy, stylish, feminine, and colourful are some of the words used by breast cancer patients to describe these lovely hats.
  • We know that losing your hair can be a blow to your confidence. Many people find a bit of strength in wearing a hat, turban, scarves when out of the house, or even indoors!

    The only reason to avoid wearing a hat is if you notice that your head is becoming severely irritated or reddened by the headwear’s fabric. If you do find you develop a rash, or your scalp becomes irritated when wearing a certain fabric, you should stop wearing it and let your doctor know.

    Other than this, there is no reason why you should not find a headwear option that you are comfortable with. Scarves, hats and turbans for cancer patients are not only good when it comes to making you feel more comfortable with your looks, but also when it comes to keeping your head warm and covered from the sun.
  • If you wear a hat regularly and for extended periods of time, you may find that you start to sweat. Hats made from non-absorbent materials can cause the sweat on your scalp to build up, and once built up it can irritate your scalp, causing it to become itchy. Additionally, there are some materials  (like certain wools) that can tickle your scalp, causing further itchiness.

    Some materials are better than others when it comes to hats for cancer patients. For instance, bamboo hats, scarves and turbans are an excellent choice if you suffer from itchiness or irritation because they’re incredibly soft and breathable, and also antibacterial! The antibacterial properties make it much less prone to infection and irritation if you are a cancer patient with sensitive skin.
  • Undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy can make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure. The sun itself is very drying as well. Wearing hats on account of hair loss due to chemo is a good way to stay safe from harmful sunrays when outdoors. There is a wide range of knit hats, scarves and turbans you can pick from to fit your lifestyle AND your style for all occasions.

    However, if you're confident that you don't need a hat in the warmer weather, remember that you will need to apply sunscreen to the top of your head (something which you may not have done previously). When deciding what type of sunscreen to use, choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen, so you are protected against both UVA and UVB rays.

    Additionally, choose a high SPF of 15 or 30, and remember to reapply regularly, especially if you become sweaty and are not using a waterproof sunscreen. If you do choose to wear a hat for cancer patients, remember to pick those made of a fabric like wool, cotton or bamboo which are always better choices than man-made fabrics (as we know that the latter can be more irritating to the sensitive skin of chemo patients).
  • Tying a headscarf may seem tricky at first, but remember: practice, practice, practice!

    There are multiple ways that scarves and turbans for chemo patients can be tied, but it will depend on the length of your scarf, the material, and your personality or style. We are currently developing a guide on how to tie headscarves, but in the meantime, play around and practice. You'll be able to find plenty of video guides on Youtube that help demonstrate how you can tie a headscarf easily.

    You might want to know that many scarves and turbans don’t require any tying at all! Some of these scarves and turbans have incorporated elastic bands or lycra, specially designed for cancer patients who might often suffer reduced mobility. We hope this is not the case for you, but know that you can use these headwear options if so! They will provide easy, soft and secure fits, so there is no reason why you should miss out on the more fashionable and daring alternatives.
  • When losing hair, cancer patients often comment how much hair they see on their pillow when they wake up. This does not mean that you are suffering an increased hair loss during the night, but simply that the hair accumulates in one single spot (your pillow), making it more apparent. Some people find wearing a hat or beanie during the night is a good solution to this problem. We know it can also be quite stressful to see your hair on the pillow every morning when you wake up. If you are having this problem, you might want to consider a soft lightweight sleeping cap. There are some good options if you are looking for night-time headwear - such as cotton beanies and sleep hats.
  • People like you who are undergoing chemo and hair loss as a side effect have found that sleep hats can serve three purposes:

    1) They keep your head warm overnight, especially during the cooler months:
    Studies show we lose body warmth through parts of our body that are exposed, especially the feet and head, so you may find yourself a bit colder during the night if you lose your hair on account of chemotherapy and don’t wear a hat.

    2) Reduces irritation and itchiness caused by your hair:
    The hair you lose during the night will remain on your pillow and can become a nuisance by scratching your neck, ears, or back and even causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. Wearing a sleeping cap for cancer patients can help reduce itchiness and irritation caused by stray hairs.

    3) Improve mood:
    The worst part might just be simply being reminded every morning of your hair loss. We know this can have a grave impact on your mood and make you feel down. Cancer patients suffer greatly from stress and anxiety, both of which contribute to hair loss.
    Wearing a knit hat or beanie at night keeps all your hair in the cap, which can be easily washed, so you don’t have to see or be reminded how much hair you have lost overnight. This can help to reduce stress and anxiety altogether.

  • Perhaps the most commonly known side effect of cancer treatment is hair loss (full or partial) or hair thinning. This happens as a result of chemotherapy or other drug treatments that you might be undergoing as a patient. Chemicals in the chemotherapy and anticancer drug treatments get transported in the blood to the scalp, and cause damage to the hair follicles, which, in time, might cause it to thin and even fall.

    The degree of loss depends on your exact regimen and your own sensitivity to it. Some of the symptoms you may experience are hair thinning and loss, eyebrow thinning and loss, and irritated skin on your scalp.
    If this should occur to you, remember you will have to take some special precautions you might not have needed before. The skin on your scalp might get very sensitive - requiring special care when outdoors, and so wearing a hat, scarf or turban for cancer patients might be a good idea.
  • There are some well known methods that help prevent or mitigate hair loss, however, none of these are 100% fool proof. Here are some things you might want to try or know about:

    Cooling caps:  Possibly the most innovative method for reducing hair loss is scalp hypothermia. This method consists of cooling the scalp with ice packs or cooling caps for a period of time before, during, and after each chemotherapy session. This is done in order to constrict the blood vessels in the scalp, reducing the amount of chemotherapy drugs that reach your hair follicles. Some newer versions of these devices use a two-piece cooling cap system that is controlled by a computer, which helps to circulate a cooled liquid through a cap a person wears during each chemotherapy treatment. A second cap, made from neoprene (a type of artificial rubber), covers the cooling cap to hold it in place and keep the cold from escaping.

    Supplements: Some vitamins are known to promote hair growth and can be administered to cancer patients with no risk involved.

    Specialist shampoos and conditioners: Hair care products containing vitamin B7 have helped some people revitalize and thicken their hair. To minimise further hair loss, consider gentle shampoos that are organic and natural (and free from chemicals, perfumes, sulphates and parabens).
  • Chemo hats are specially designed hats for cancer patients, which take into account the sensitive, dry scalp many chemotherapy patients may experience as a side effect of treatment. Though you can of course wear any beanie or headscarf you wish during treatment, most materials are likely to cause irritation to your scalp while you're going through hair loss. In contrast, cancer headcovers are made from softer, scalp-friendly materials like bamboo and silk, which are far less likely to irritate the scalp. Bamboo cancer hats are particularly helpful for cancer patients, as they are renowned for their breathability and naturally antibacterial fibres which help to prevent infection of your sensitive skin.
  • Some people find that after losing their hair, their chemo hat or headscarf doesn't quite look 'right' somehow. Often this is due to the loss of hair changing the shape of your silhouette - you may be used to having the volume of your hair there, and your head may seem smaller or differently shaped. If this effect is bothering you, there are plenty of ways you can adjust your cancer headwear to look more 'realistic'. 

    Many styles of chemo hat are designed with this issue in mind, and feature ruching, ruffles, or clever layering of material to create the illusion of shape and volume. You can also tie headscarves in a way that adds more volume where you need it, or even use the long ends of a flowing silk scarf to create the elegant length you may be missing from your hair. Though of course this doesn't replace your hair, it can create a similar effect and help you look and feel more like your normal self.

    If your cancer head covers still feel a little 'flat', one trick many people use is to 'stuff' their chemo headwear with material, or even a sock, to add volume and shape. After all, professional hairdressers use plenty of tricks to create the appearance of volume and height where there naturally isn't any - why should styling your chemo hat be any different?