Cancer is a word that scares almost everyone, because what it entails is pain and treatments that suck the body of everything. When cancer hits your body, and you undergo chemotherapy, your body starts to heal of the cancer, but your body also starts to lose hair and often skin’s elasticity. The problem with chemotherapy is that the medicine used is unable to differentiate between cancerous and healthy cells, destroying both in the process. This is the reason why you start to lose hair from not only your scalp, but also your eyebrows, eyelashes and often even your armpits.
However, the one silver lining with chemotherapy is that once the treatment is over and your body is free of cancer, you can actually think about your hair growing back. As a matter of fact, in most cases, once the body is free from cancer and the chemotherapy medications, hair starts to grow back. The rate at which the hair will regrow can change from person to person, but the average is about three months.
There are tips and tricks that will allow you to speed up your hair growth after chemotherapy and although these might not be as effective for the different stages of male pattern baldness, they will most certainly work for people who are trying to regrow their hair post chemotherapy.
- Eat right– For probably most things that can ail the human body, what you eat can help you. This means that if you start eating right, you can rid your body of a lot of problems and it is true for hair regrowth after chemotherapy too. In order for your hair to grow faster, you need to have a diet that is protein rich, because at the end of the day, your hair is made up of protein. Include eggs, meats, lentils, beans and tofu in your regular diet and you will be able to see your hair grow longer faster. However, you need to be careful with soy, because too much of soy protein could instigate cancer cells. You also need to include foods with omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are also known to improve hair growth. Fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are known to be good sources of these fatty acids and can be consumed by cancer patients. At this time, you might want to avoid saturated fats and artificial sugars.
- Extra nourishment for the body and hair – After chemotherapy, your body needs all the extra nourishment it can get and at times, the extra might come in the form of supplements. For better hair growth, you will need to add some extra minerals and vitamins in your diet. Studies have shown that B vitamins can actually help improve the turnover of cells and particularly, B6 and B12 are extremely beneficial for hair. You will also need beta carotene for better hair and carrots are a great source of the same. Biotin is yet another B vitamin which can provide your hair with the necessary boost. Similarly, vitamins E and C will not only increase the hair growth, but also provide protection to the hair follicles.
- Be gentle – The hair that is growing back is extremely fragile, which is why you need to make sure that you treat it with extreme care. Not only you need to change out your regular hair care products with options that are much gentler on hair, you also need to handle your hair with extra care too. This means that you should avoid any chemical treatments such as colouring or straightening. Even heat based treatments such as ironing or curling should be left for only the special occasions. When your hair starts to grow back, they might look and feel different from what they used to be and if you want to go back to your old look, give your hair some time.
- Essential oils – As clichéd as this might sound, essential oils can actually help with proper hair growth. All you need to do is warm some oil and gently massage it on your scalp. Oils such as lavender, bergamot, rosemary and ylang-ylang are known to improve hair growth after chemotherapy. While these oils might not create new hair, they can certainly nourish and protect the hair that is starting to grow. These oils will also nourish the hair follicles, allowing the hair to grow long and strong.
- Minoxidil– And then of course, there is the option of Minoxidil, which can be purchased over the counter as Rogaine, Regaine and Avacor. These have been approved by the FDA, almost all over the world and regular usage of the same is known to improve hair growth in most cases. Certain hair specialists actually recommend the usage of Minoxidil during and after chemotherapy, but if you are using it during chemo, you need to make sure that you get all the clearances.
Hair loss during chemotherapy is inevitable, but there are some steps that you can take before and during your sessions. For instance, if you know that you are about to undergo chemotherapy, stop using any chemicals on your hair, because these will only damage your hair further. Improve your diet from the start, because this will help your body cope with the damage properly. You can always talk to your doctor and ask whether you can start taking vitamin and mineral based supplements before and during the chemo sessions. And most importantly, keep a positive attitude and remember that the hair that has gone today, will be back tomorrow.