Chemotherapy And Hair Loss - Tips To Help You Keep Your Hair

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If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, then you may need to start going through cancer treatments as soon as possible to reduce the tumors and cancer cells in the body. Thankfully, a cancer diagnosis is often not a death sentence anymore, and five year survival statistics are enough to give anyone hope. This is especially true if the cancer was caught early on.

However, you likely know that cancer treatments do have a wide variety of side effects. If you need to go through chemotherapy, then you are likely to contend with vomiting issues, extreme fatigue, dry mouth, and skin issues. Generally speaking, these problems occur because chemotherapy drugs target the fast growing cells in the body, but the cancer cells are not the only ones that grow fast. Some of these fast growing cells can be found in the hair roots, and this makes hair loss a common chemotherapy side effect. Hair loss can be devastating to your self esteem. There are some tricks that you can use to try to reduce hair loss, like the suggestions below.

Invest in a Cold Cap

Cold caps are very popular devices that are being used by chemotherapy patients today to minimize hair loss, and many people see success with the products. Cold caps are specialized fabric or canvas head coverings that completely cover the top and back portion of the head. The products contain small pockets or openings where dry ice or ice packs can be placed around the head. Some units also contain gels or fluids that are cooled using an electronic device and then pumped around the head continually.

The caps are meant to keep the hair follicles and the head cool, and the ice or gel is often kept at temperatures below -20 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure this. The cooling process causes the blood vessels around the scalp to constrict so it is difficult for chemotherapy drugs to reach and destroy the hair follicles. It should be noted though, that this can be dangerous if cancerous tumors are located near the head or if there are signs that the cancer has spread throughout the body, since the caps will leave the scalp area untreated by the medications.

Cold Cap Tips

If you do decide to use a cold cap to reduce hair loss, then make sure to use it before, during, and after chemotherapy treatments for the best results. This may mean keeping a variety of caps and dry ice in a cooler during appointments and changing the caps every 30 to 40 minutes. This may not be a concern if you use an electronic cap, but these products are often much more expensive than dry ice varieties.

You also should think about wearing an extra sweater or a scarf when the cold cap is placed on your head, since the cold temperatures may make you uncomfortable. Also, some caps can be heavy, so bring a pillow with you so you can rest your head comfortably.

Try a Hair Loss Medications

If cooling your scalp does not sound like a comfortable prospect, then you can slow hair loss and thinning issues, and you can also quickly regrow hair that has fallen out by using a hair loss medication on your scalp. These medicines, creams, and shampoos are typically utilized by both men and women who have hereditary hair loss issues.

Minoxidil is the name of the active ingredient in the hair loss medication, and this substance opens up the blood vessels across the scalp to increase the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are supplied to the hair follicles. This helps to encourage new hair growth. If you decide to use Minoxidil, think about purchasing a foam product that is easier to apply to a head full of hair. Use the foam in between chemotherapy sessions.