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Should I shave my hair before Chemo? FAQs & What you need to know

This post has been verified by Ali Nowroozi

Wondering if you should shave your hair before chemo? Look no further. We have addressed the most commonly asked questions in this article.  For some women, shaving the head for chemo is not a big problem. For others, it becomes a source of anxiety. We would like to preface that feeling nervous over shaving your hair is completely normal and you don’t have to rush into making this decision. In this article, we will be giving you useful tips on shaving (or not shaving!) your hair before chemo and answering some commonly asked questions.

Does all chemo make you lose your hair?

Not all chemotherapy causes hair loss. There are some types of chemo that people go through without losing hair. This depends on the type of chemo you will be going through. Ask your doctor whether the chemotherapy you will be going through will cause hair loss. If the answer is ‘yes’, you can be certain that the hair loss will occur, as it’s clear cut which types of chemo cause hair loss and which ones don’t.

Will my hair grow back after chemotherapy is over?

Yes it will! The hair loss from chemo is only temporary and you will see hair growth after chemo within a month to 6 months.

Should I shave my head before chemotherapy? When should I cut my hair for chemo?

People often stress about cutting their hair before chemo, you’d be glad to hear that you don’t have to shave your hair or make that decision on the spot. Some women shave their hair ahead of time to get used to the new look as soon as possible. There is no correct answer, it’s up to you! If you feel comfortable shaving it ahead of time, maybe you want to get accustomed to the new look you can do that. Otherwise, you can let your hair fall out slowly. It’s entirely up to you and whichever you feel more comfortable with! To help you with the decision; we have seen positive results from people who have shaved their hair a few days before chemotherapy. They have expressed that they were glad they got this out of the way before their first ever chemotherapy, as the first session of chemo can be a lot to take in.

Important note: If you choose to shave your hair, don’t shave it down to the skin as this will cause ingrown hair after your treatment when your hair starts to fall out.

How to shave your head for Chemo?

“Do I need someone to help me shave my head before chemotherapy?” While it is useful to have somebody help you shave your head, it’s not necessary. It’s very easy to do on your own. First, detangle your hair and grab your clippers and progressively shorten your hair until it is short enough. After this run through your scalp making sure you’ve passed through every part. Behind the ears is usually the part most people miss. You can touch your hair to feel the parts that have been left and make sure to go through those parts too.

How long after chemo does your hair fall out?

How many sessions of chemo before hair starts to fall? Well, hair loss can occur either after your first treatment or within two weeks. The hair will fall gradually rather than it being sudden. After your third day, the hair loss will accumulate to the point where you’ll have to comb out the fallen hair in order to wear hats/wigs comfortably.

How to comb fallen hair after chemo without hurting the scalp?

People can often experience scalp soreness when combing after chemo. This can, however, be minimized using this technique.

  1. Shampoo your hair and leave the shampoo on
  2. Comb through gently – the shampoo will minimize the friction
  3. Wash the remaining shampoo off

In the end, we want you to know at Masumi we know how challenging losing your hair can be and we want you to know that we are here every step of the way!

So, remember you are not alone on this journey. We are always here for you!

We hope this article was helpful! You can also check out our article on scalp care during chemo

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