What to Expect When You Undergo Chemotherapy

When you are told you have to undergo chemotherapy, the words, “You are going to lose your hair,” can be very stressful for women and men alike. The fear of the unknown can make the thought of hair loss unbearable. Hair can be a big part of a person’s identity so not seeing the person you used to be, can be disheartening and difficult. Dealing with hair loss, both emotionally and physically, can be easier once you know what expect.

Journey Through Chemotherapy

Why does hair loss occur with chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy-induced alopecia (hair loss) comes from the cellular level. Chemotherapy is effective in targeting all fast-growing dividing cells. The hair follicle is a highly active structure with a host of cells that frequently divide to produce the growth of hair; therefore, it is also affected by treatment.

When does hair loss occur?

Hair loss often begins between the 9th to 21st days after your first treatment. You may experience it a bit earlier depending on the type of treatment or if you’ve had surgery before starting treatment. Everyone is different and in certain treatments hair loss can occur even earlier. With years of experience Mary will guide you through each step of the hair loss process and share the knowledge she has gained through many years of working with her clients.

How do you know when your hair is going to fall out ?

Most patients experience a sense of tightness in their scalp or the feeling of a very tight ponytail. This occurs when the hair follicle protects itself from the treatment of chemotherapy and detaches itself from the hair on the scalp. The remaining hair sits in the pores on the scalp until it simply grows up and falls out. The hair in some cases dies and can matt if it’s very long. This can be very distressing and it is best to speak with Mary as soon as you begin to experience any of the above symptoms. Many people experience other symptoms of soreness and itchiness. The process of losing hair is very different in each individual and can last over a few days or more.

For those who lose their hair, the decision to shave their head is always  extremely personal, some will decide to shave it straight away and others may never it at all, choosing to let it fall out naturally. Similarly the decision as to when to begin to wear your headpiece is also very personal, with some people choosing to wear it from the outset in order to feel that they have more control over their illness . It is vital that you make the right choice for you.

Mary will be there to  help you make that decision.

Headscary Lady

What are other possible side effects of hair loss?

Some people have an easier experience of hair loss and go through little or no side effects. Others can experience many different things such as:

  • Itchy scalp
  • Tenderness, pain or soreness on the scalp
  • Cradle cap (crusty or oily scaly patches) or dry, flaky scalp
  • Redness
  • The scalp feeling warm to the touch
  • Rashes in small clusters
  • Sore bumps known as folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles)

Some of these words may sounds so scary, but if you have discomfort remember, it will pass! You may have none of the symptoms listed above, or you may have a few, if you experience any unpleasant side effects they will last about two to three weeks or less. There are ways you can minimise these negative side effects.

Mary suggests you treat your head as you would any other part your body and moisturise as soon as the hair has gone. This will help close the pores and help avoid tight and flaky scalps. Moisturise with a mild, none perfumed cream and not one rich in oil, as this can make the hairpiece slide.

Always remember…

“Confidence is the most beautiful thing you can wear”

Will I lose all my hair or will it just thin?

Your hair loss is determined by what chemotherapy drugs you are taking. Some cause partial hair loss while others cause complete hair loss. Your team should tell you what to expect when your treatment has been chosen.

Will I lose eyelashes and eyebrows?

This will depend on your chemotherapy drugs, as well as the amount of treatments you have. It is possible if you are undergoing 12 chemo treatments or more to lose all of your eyebrows and eyelashes. Eyebrow and eyelash loss usually doesn’t occur until later in your treatment. Again each person’s experience can be totally different.

When will my hair start growing again?

Every person is different in how fast his or her hair starts to grow back. Some see growth towards the end of treatment, while it takes others three to six months to really start seeing good results. Once the hair starts growing, you may notice a change in texture or colour. It may even come back curly! The hair has been constrained inside the follicle for a long time and when it starts to grow again it comes through the pores on the head with a bend on it, this is commonly known as Chemo Curl. It is good to discuss with Mary on what is best for your hair at this time as it is generally the second growth of hair that is the strongest.

What if my hair comes back really fine?

The texture of hair is so different from person to person and it may be quite fine at first and thicken through time. At this point in your hair growth development it is important to ensure you create a good hair regime using the correct products to promote good hair growth. We have an extensive range of these products at escape hair loss clinic.

Can I colour my hair ?

It’s important to check with your consultant when you can colour your hair. Most people wait until after all treatment is finished. It is advisable to ensure your hair colour is organic and free from PPD (dye in colour).

With 35 years experience in hairdressing Mary will advise you on your choice of hair colouring. With a hair salon attached to the clinic you can be sure you are in safe hands.

We Are Here When You Need Us

Going through hair loss is not an easy thing to do, it can be a time of sadness, anxiety and even despair, which is why we are here for you when you need us. If you would like to speak to us about your hair loss issues and look at solutions that will help you look and feel like your old self then drop us a line to book your hair loss consultation.

Get in Touch
Get in touch with Escape Hair Loss

Hair Loss Services

  • Hair loss solutions
  • Scalp analysis 
  • Hair pieces and toppers
Wig fitting & styling
  • Choosing your hair piece
  • Going through Chemotherapy -
    A step by step guide
  • Home care advice
After care
  • Help and advice
  • Style and care of human hair pieces
  • Call out service
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Dundalk, Ardee, Drogheda, Blackrock, Castlebellingham, Dunleer, Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Navan, Kells, Trim, North County Dublin, South County Dublin, Dublin City Centre, Fingal County. If you are not in one of these areas Get in Touch with us and we will discuss how best we can help you on your journey.