Caring for hair – particularly with cancer

These tips might help prevent loss

Sent by another patient –

Hair Loss

It’s probably our biggest worry: losing hair during treatment.

J.  another patient, wrote to say “many types of Chemo make your hair fall out, because they reduce the strength of your hair”; Hormone Therapy can also weaken hair, as I found out.  Even taking other drugs can weaken hair, or leave it like straw.  So trying to avoid hair problems is a major worry.

But J says you could try:

  • Wash your hair in water that is as cold as possible.
  • Wash hair as infrequenly as possible.
  • Always brush and/or comb your hair very, very gently, and as infrequently as possibly.
  • Even better, never brush or comb;  just run your fingers through it.
  • When you wash your hair, the follicles will be very weak, so if posible wait for it to dry before brushing.combing/touching it again.
  • Consider having a new haircut, as short as possible, because
  • The longer your hair the heavier it is.
  • You might not need to brush or comb it at all, again putting less stress on hair follicles.
  • When you have a haircut, wash your hair before hand.  Ask for your hair to be cut dry.
  • Never have your hair dyed or highlightef during treatment, and probably better not before chemo starts if possible.

Cold Caps


As J. says, “the cold cap can significantly slow hair loss, but only if it is used correctly.

  • Nurses must choose the correct size (blue or green)
  • Nurses must make your hair very wet
  • Nurses will probably have to make significant adjustments to ensure it fits as closely to the skull as possible




Does all this work?

J. says “Effectivness will vary from one person to another, but I have had 6 sessions of chemo –  had lost virtually al the hair on my body, except for a relatively thick mop of short hair on my head!”

When I need a very gentle shampoo and Conditioner I use the Living Nature ones.  Their conditioner contains genuine Manuka honey in their Balancing product, and is available in the UK from Botanical Brands on 0845 250 8455, or

So J, many thanks for sending through your tips from your experience.  I am sure it will help others who want to hear what it was like for us – not what we are told will happen.

And Good Luck to other readers! !

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