For many people, hair is a principal part of their identity. How hair is styled, and its length, texture, and color are critically important. Even its smell makes the difference between a confident day and an insecure day – the sort of day often referred to as a “bad hair day.”
When you receive a cancer diagnosis and have to proceed with chemotherapy treatments that cause hair loss, your world flips upside down. There are all sorts of strategies to cope. For example, you may have someone in your corner willing to buzz their own hair off to stand in solidarity with you. You may have already picked out a beautiful wig or complementary hairpiece, or you may prefer to hold on to the strands you have left, working with what you have to frame your face.
Why Chemotherapy Causes Hair Loss
Chemotherapy causes hair loss because it is indiscriminate when tackling abnormal, rapidly dividing cells. It does not distinguish between cancer cells and the cells that make up your hair follicles. Your hair follicles are some of the fastest-growing cells in your body. They divide every 23 to 72 hours. As chemotherapy works to destroy cancer cells, hair follicles are collateral damage. The associated hair loss is a condition known as alopecia.
Exactly how chemotherapy affects your hair follicles depends on a few factors, including how frequently you receive chemotherapy medicines and your overall physical and mental health. Your level of stress plays an important role in the side effects you experience.
The hair you lose may not just be from your head. Chemotherapy medicines can affect other parts of your body like eyebrows, underarms, legs, and arms. Though it’s possible for hair loss to be permanent, in most cases, hair grows back three to four weeks after the last chemotherapy treatment.
After a full year post-treatment, you can often expect to see four to six inches of hair regrowth. You may notice the new hair that grows is different in appearance and texture. That’s a normal outcome for chemotherapy patients.
New Therapies Give New Hope to Chemotherapy Patients
How much hair falls out during the process of chemotherapy can be reduced with new treatments that limit the amount of chemotherapy drugs that reach your scalp. Similarly, there are treatments that help to speed up hair regrowth following cancer treatment. Putting a comprehensive plan in place to help you regain your confidence after cancer helps you visualize a healthful life post-treatment.
You don’t have to figure it out alone. If you’re suffering from hair loss, contact Custom Hair today by clicking here.
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Pexels / 9145 via Pixabay