Chemotherapy and Cancer – Hair [video]

Video author: Streaming Well
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Video Transcript
Everybody always has questions that you think about and you just don't know who to ask. So let's start with Topaz.

Topaz: I have a question about hair when it grows back because the new hair is different from the hair we had before. Like you said, maybe we've treated it with colors and perms or whatever. We don't want to damage the new hair. So what's the best shampoo or cleaning product for your new hair?

Good question. The first 5 inches of your hair pretty much take care of themselves. Many times you don't even have to wash your hair if you don't really want to, if you don't really have an oily scalp. Rinsing your hair actually can many times work. But if you do want to wash your hair, a mild shampoo is what I generally recommend if you aren't treating your hair. So do you believe, then, a baby shampoo would be a good start? Baby shampoo actually is a lot more irritating than you think because it is about trying to get the cradle cap, which is very common for children to have. And you're not suffering from that. If anything, your scalp is probably more sensitive. And so again, a sensitive, gentle shampoo would be something I would go for first. You'll find many times that when it first starts coming out that it almost can look as if you've had a bad perm. It almost has that sort of burnt quality to it. And that actually does go away. And as your hair does grow from the root out, not from the ends, as it does grow out, you can just cut it off and your hair will return to its normal condition generally within 6 months.

Hanifa: When we start our chemo and the hair starts falling, is it best to cut it before it starts falling?

If you can bear it, I would always recommend trying a cold cap, which is a procedure where they put a cap on your head to sort of reduce the temperature. And if you can bear it and if you can get enough support to try that, that's the first port of call I would try. When the hair does start to fall out, if that's what does start to happen, ideally, I think it's just best to cut it off and get it out of the way and not have to sort of go through the trauma of worrying about what's going to happen next because, more than likely, it is going to come out. It's a confidence issue, and it is about addressing it when you feel as if you can cope with it. And the moment that you can cope with it and you can put that past you, then in your mind you can start to think that you are moving forward. And I think that's the easiest and most productive way to look at it.

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