Chemotherapy hair loss is probably the most well known of all the side effects caused by this type of cancer therapy.
That’s because your hair is such an obvious part of your body. So, if your hair disappears, it’s as though part of your very identity disappears too. For some people, their hair seems to almost define who they are.
Scalp hair growth is one of the most dynamic, active mechanisms in the human body.
In fact, your hair grows faster than any other part of your body except bone marrow.
The other types of hair you have (body hair, pubic hair, eyebrows, etc.) don't grow nearly as fast as scalp hair. Or, at the very least, the growing phase of their hair growth cycle is not as long.
So, given that cancer develops when genetic damage to your cells causes them to rapidly divide out of control, you can immediately see a connection between hair growth and cancer growth - both involve rapid cell growth and division.
Chemotherapy drugs are extremely powerful, toxic chemical agents that are specifically designed to kill cancer cells.
But, since cancer cells are actually your own cells gone rogue, chemotherapy drugs can indiscriminately kill many other normal, healthy cell types too.
The drugs used will target cells that divide rapidly. And these can include cells in the mouth, digestive system, bone marrow, skin and, of course, hair follicles. So that’s why chemotherapy hair loss can develop.
If localized targeting is possible, it could prevent scalp hair from falling out (providing the treatment is nowhere near your head obviously).
And since there are so many different types of drug used, the potential side effects of each one will vary considerably - so, chemo hair loss might not be inevitable.
But, even if it does develop, your hair should
eventually grow back. So, that might make you question whether or not
this type of hair loss is really something to be worried about…
If you're dealing with cancer, then you might think that hair loss would be the least of your problems.
But, I'm not so sure…
It's bad enough having cancer in the first place. But having to experience the trauma of quite rapid (and perhaps total) chemo-related hair loss from your scalp must make things appear even worse.
Hair loss is often a primary cause of depression, self-esteem issues, etc.
And to recover quickly and fully from any condition or disease that affects your health or even threatens your life, a positive attitude is essential.
So, taking measures to try and "keep your hair on" whilst you’re undergoing chemotherapy is definitely worth doing…
To limit, or perhaps even prevent, the unpleasant side effect of hair loss, a cold cap can be worn when the chemotherapy drugs are administered.
Cold caps will do just that - keep your scalp freezing cold so that your hair follicle activity and scalp circulation both slow down.
And, if the circulation is reduced significantly, exposure of the hair follicles to the chemo drugs will also be reduced.
Clearly then, if a cold cap can partially or totally prevent chemo hair loss like this, then it's certainly something worth using.
Following final chemotherapy treatment, normal scalp hair should start growing again after about a month.
My own approach for restoring normal hair growth were designed to treat the type of hair loss I suffered from - androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) and not chemo hair loss.
My approach involves eight techniques, with five being specific to androgenetic alopecia.
But, three (massage-related) techniques are designed to kick-start healthy hair growth again by stimulating the scalp follicles, improving scalp flexibility and increasing overall blood flow through the capillary network.
So, in theory, these three techniques should be able to provide help for people with chemo hair loss too.
However, if you didn’t suffer any hair loss at all before your cancer treatment, then your hair will most probably grow back on its own without the need for any extra help.
If you did suffer hair loss before chemo treatment, and are concerned about just how much hair will regrow, you can learn more about my techniques by reading the FAQ page.
Note: Always consult with a doctor to identify which type of hair loss you have and how best to treat it.