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4 Ways To Prepare For Hair Loss During Chemotherapy

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is terrifying. The inevitable changes and that lie ahead are overwhelming and so hard to process. For instance, side effects from undergoing chemotherapy include fatigue and feeling sick. But one aspect that is especially hard to come to terms with is the idea of hair loss. It affects the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, underarm and pubic regions.

Understandably, the prospect of losing head hair is distressing. In fact, hair forms such an integral part of our identity. So, naturally, this visible and noticeable change in appearance can affect our confidence. Not only does this affect us physically, but emotionally as well.

It can be hard to accept the physical changes that lie ahead. But, doing so will be helpful in dealing with the news. As a result, it can aid you through this testing transition. So, in this article we list 4 effective ways to prepare for hair loss during chemotherapy.

The first things to be aware of are the changes that lie in store:

  • Chemotherapy generally causes hair loss because it targets rapidly dividing cells. As well as affecting cancerous cells, it also targets healthy cells. That is how it affects hair follicles.
  • In most cases, hair loss starts two weeks after starting chemotherapy
  • You will experience an itchy and sore scalp
  • Three weeks into the chemotherapy treatment and hair loss will be present on about 50% of your hair
  • You will not wake up one day right after starting chemo and be completely bald. It is a process.

It’s important not to feel pressured into making decisions. What works for someone else may not work for you. Remember that it is a personal decision.

  1. Reduce sore and itchy sensations

Disclaimer: this is advice for those of you who have already started chemo.

After starting chemo, you will begin to feel different sensations on your scalp. In fact, a helpful way to prepare for hair loss is to reduce the discomfort of an itchy scalp. The first step to reducing this itchiness and soreness is to cut your hair short. By this point, encouraging hair to come out will be valuable in relieving discomfort. It’s helpful to know that this tenderness finishes once hair loss is complete.

Often cancer patients ask, “Should I cut my hair before chemo?” The answer is that haircuts before chemo can be beneficial. For instance, they aid in adjusting to your new appearance. But, if that thought is overly daunting, you can leave it to the day before starting the treatment or even later.

Here are some haircut ideas before chemotherapy that will be highly beneficial:

  • Before cutting your hair short, comb through it, shampoo it and then rinse it. Next, put in conditioner and then gently comb out any dead hair. Don’t worry, as it is a painless method. Afterwards, you can wash out the conditioner and then cut your hair short to about 2 inches.
  • Frequently, women ask how to shave your head during chemo. In fact, the best tip for a chemo head shave is that you should avoid shaving all the way. Why? Because it can cause ingrown hairs! So, the best answer on how to shave the head of a chemotherapy patient? Use the #2 attachment.
  • Using a lint roller is an effective way to get rid of any other free hairs.
  • Some women ask, “Can I bleach my hair while on chemo?” The answer is no. You should definitely avoid bleaching and dying your hair as this can cause damage. Also, stay well clear of using any chemicals and heat on it. So, switch to air drying.
  1. Learn to care for your scalp

It’s super important to learn how to care for a bald head during chemo. So, this chemo bald head care will be of great use to you:

  • First of all, shampoo your head every day due to the oil that your body is still producing. If not washed away, this build-up has the potential to cause cradle cap.
  • There is no need to use conditioner as it’s explicitly for hair. Whereas, shampoo works on the scalp.
  • Also, it’s vital to protect your scalp from direct rays as it can burn with ease, so wear sunblock and stay in the shade.
  1. Discover what works best for you: wigs, headwear etc.

A great way to prepare for hair loss is to find headwear and wigs that appeal to you.


Look into the differences between synthetic and human hair wigs.

  • It is your chance to play around with different lengths, colors and hairstyles.
  • Become familiar with wig care products and useful accessories such as wig stands, wig shampoo and conditioner.
  • A wig cap is an excellent investment. It is more hygienic due to the wig not making direct contact with the scalp that often perspires.


A popular alternative to wigs is headwear for hair loss.

  1. Disguise hair loss on your face

For example, you can find ways to disguise hair loss on the eyebrows and eyelashes.

  • Applying false eyelashes is an effective way to look like your former self.
  • Also, drawing on eyebrows has the same result.
  • Not confident on how to apply make-up? Don’t worry, because there are plenty of videos online. They will recommend the make-up products that work best for chemo patients. Then, using their step-by-step guides, you will quickly learn how to expertly draw on eyelashes. As a result, this will accentuate facial features such as your eyes.

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