Chemo Hats, Cancer Wigs and Chemo Curls – A Survivor’s Guide

chemo curls, post-chemotherapy hairEvery cancer survivor has their share of war stories, but women deal with the complications of cancer treatment in different ways.  For starters, women have a much harder time with losing their hair than men do.  In fact, many women start shopping for cancer wigs and chemo hats before they even get a second opinion.  Blame the media or Hollywood, but we women are obsessed with our appearance – especially our hair!


If you have recently been through cancer treatment, then chances are you have learned to deal with the related hair loss. And whether you chose to buy a cancer wig, headscarf, chemo hat, or all three, you have probably longed for the day when your blessed locks would begin to grow.  So what do you do when they start to grow in the wrong direction?

Chemotherapy not only changes your body chemistry, it can also have an effect on the texture of your hair.  This means when your hair does return, it may be different from the hair you once knew.  When your post-chemotherapy hair is curlier than you remember, it is called “chemo curls”.  Because chemotherapy drugs have also penetrated the roots of your hair, and will continue to do so as long as the drugs are in your system, you may need to get used to curly hair for awhile.  Chemo treatments may also affect the color of your hair, but you can expect a return of more “normal” hair over the next 6 to 12 months.

If curly hair isn’t your favorite look, then you may be tempted to continue wearing the stylish cancer wig, but remember to treat your new hair gently.  Use a very mild shampoo, and conditioners that are made for dry and damaged hair.  Remember to gently massage your scalp during every shampoo to enhance the circulation to your roots.  This will also help remove any dry or flaky skin.  Dry your hair gently with a towel and only use a hair dryer on the lowest setting.  Avoid vigorous brushing and any type of heat styling for a while, and use styling products with a very light hold.  Most stylists will tell you to refrain from hair coloring until your new hair is at least three inches long and your scalp is no longer tender.

If you feel self-conscious about your new hair at first, remember you can still wear a chemo hat or cancer wig, as well as a colorful headscarf until your new hair is grown in a little more.

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