Hair loss is one of the most recognizable, and dreaded, side effects of chemotherapy. Though there is no physical pain involved, and the hair will eventually grow back, there is a widely-accepted and understandable psychic injury that comes with the loss, and cancer patients are generally anxious for their hair to grow back both. We’ll share with you the top hair growth products for cancer patients and how they work.
The reason that chemotherapy drugs impact hair is that they are designed to target cells that grow rapidly. While this is obviously good for the goal of killing cancer cells, it also has the collateral effect of killing healthy cells that are meant to grow fast, including bone marrow, hair follicles, the lining of the digestive tract, and more. Depending upon what type of chemotherapy drug is used, cancer patients can lose hair from their scalp, their eyebrows and eyelashes, their armpits, and the rest of their body as well. Though cancer patients are advised that this hair loss is temporary in most cases, that rarely helps prevent the sense of loss that comes when the hair starts to fall out about two weeks after the chemotherapy treatment begins.
Ten to fifteen days after chemotherapy begins, cancer patients will often experience hair falling out in clumps, with about half gone after a week or so. About two weeks after the chemotherapy sessions are completed the hair will begin to grow back, at first as a soft fuzz. Cancer patients with hair loss generally see about a quarter to half inch of hair after about a month, though for some the process takes longer. Some cancer patients with hair loss find that as their hair gets longer and comes in more fully, they see changes in color or texture. For some this is a temporary effect and for others it is permanent.
Though hair growth will most likely happen at the same rate it did prior to your chemotherapy treatment, it is understandable to want to expedite the process of hair growth for cancer patients. There are commercially available hair growth products for cancer patients that claim to do this, but it is important to be realistic and to remember that in time, your hair will return to normal.
In the meantime, it is a good idea to do everything you can to strengthen your body, as the healthier you are, the healthier your hair follicles will be. Eat a balanced diet, exercise, get plenty of sleep and avoid cigarettes and alcohol. Vitamins such as Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Biotin are all said to improve blood flow to the scalp and boost hair growth for cancer patients.
There is a carbohydrate called inositol that is said to do the same and can be taken as a supplement or from eating navy and lima beans, wheat germ, and citrus fruits among other food sources. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are said to encourage regrowth, and many cancer patients wanting hair growth often times rub essential oils such as rosemary, ylang-ylang, bergamot and lavender into their scalp to regenerate and stimulate the cells.
Some of the top hair growth products for cancer patients that are on the market and that claim to stimulate hair growth include:
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