The first myth attached with cancer is loss of hair. But to be honest, these phases are not constant and differ from patient to patient. I know a few who have lost their hair within the first chemo cycle. Then there are others who had a gradual hair loss – first thinning, then falling, then slightly patchy and then it comes off. You cannot particularly know what it’s going to be like for you. But there is the perfect way of pre planning for whatever the case may be. And as much as you might want to – doing a complete shave is not the only way to avoid the trauma of losing your hair (especially for women). You can still look great through other ways.
I personally did do some pre-planning in my mother’s case, and these are some of the things we thought worked best for her…
What you need to do (women)
- Get a nice hair cut that evens out your hair. 2 inches above the shoulder is a good length. Idea is to avoid tying it up and making your hair wash simple and easier so that there is no tugging on the hair.
- Once your hair starts to thin, probably 2 - 4 weeks into your chemo treatment – go for a shorter haircut. A pixie cut is ideal for women, it’ll also help to hide some of the bald patches later on.
- By the time you lose your hair, you will be used to it and well prepared for it.
- If you want to avoid dealing with a bald head, get a nice wig made and buy about 3 scarves. A good wig typically takes about 20 days to a month to get made so best to do it before you start Chemo. You an style your wig and make it look different in so many ways!
What you need to do (men) – Most men just go for a clean shave right at the start, but the Wig option is always open for you too.
When washing your hair – ensure you are gentle and are using mild shampoos. Avoid hair styling and sprays as they're very harsh on the hair and the scalp.
Since you're generally indoors, you don't need to wash it very often either. If you've gone with the wig - you can have it washed once a week.
I used to take my mother's wig to the salon and get it washed, conditioned and beautifully styled - all she had to do was put it on! If you're worried it will look too fake, you can always tie a nice scarf like a hair band !