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How quickly will my hair fall out?

Hair Loss Through Chemotherapy

Trevor Sorbie (Director) gives expert video advice on: How quickly will my hair fall out?; Will my hair grow back?; Will I lose my eyebrows and eyelashes during chemotherapy? and more...

How quickly will my hair fall out?

There are different types of chemotherapy to my understanding and a doctor or surgeon will know which chemotherapy he is giving you. Not all chemotherapy has hair loss attached to it, but with the ones that do, it happens quite aggressively and it's usually after the second or third dose that the hair will fall out. When I say fall out, I do mean that you can take literally handfuls of hair in your hand, or when you shampoo your hair, you will see masses of hair coming out. It's a very disturbing part of the whole treatment - probably the most disturbing part. From my experience dealing with women with this disease, the hair loss is probably the most devastating part - sometimes even worse than the actual cancer itself, believe or not, for the people that I've known.

What will happen when my hair falls out after chemotherapy?

Once you've lost your hair, it's really a case of going through all the different treatments that are provided for you. But then the hair will come back.

Will my hair grow back?

Hair will come back after chemotherapy. That is a fact. The interesting thing about when the hair grows is that it in 60% of the people that have chemo, their hair will come back in a different form. When I say that, what I mean is, it could come back a different colour, it could come back a different texture, it very often comes back curly with people who have had straight hair, and basically it can have a whole different thickness. The toxins are destroying parts of the body and killing off the cancer, or trying to, and therefore it is affecting things like the follicle of the hair and it disturbs the way hair is formed, so that when it does grow, it comes back in a different form. But the most important thing is: the hair will come back.

How soon will I be able to colour my hair after chemotherapy?

This is a question where I wasn't 100% sure what the answer was, so I went to Phillip Kingsley who is one of the top tricologists in the country in Mayfair and his main man is a friend called Glen Lions. I asked him that very question and his answer was, "As soon as your hair comes back after chemotherapy, you can colour your hair." He says that what happens on the outside of your scalp has nothing to do with the inside of your scalp where the actual hair starts to grow, where the root of the hair is. That is one of the most asked questions: "When can I recolor my hair?"

Will I lose my eyebrows and eyelashes during chemotherapy?

During chemotherapy, you not only can lose your hair, you can actually lose your eyebrows and eyelashes. This is something that really disturbs a lot of ladies because they feel hair loss is one thing, but when you lose your eyebrows and your eyelashes they feel completely naked. I did have one lady who said, “If I had to choose between my eyelashes and my hair going, I would rather choose my hair to go." I found that extremely unbelievable, that just her little eyelashes were more important than all the hair on her head, but that's how people react in certain cases. So yes, you can lose your eyebrows and eyelashes during chemotherapy.

Should I get my hair cut short?

I advise people who are going to have chemotherapy, and are told by the surgeon that they're definitely going to lose their hair, if they have long hair, to have it cut a lot shorter. The reason quite simply is, if you see a length of hair that's very long going down the plug, it's far more noticeable than a hair that's shorter. I don't advise people to skin their heads, because I think that's a little bit too aggressive and too much to handle all in one go. I even suggest sometimes to do it gradually, in stages, so that they gradually get used to it. Even having your hair cut from long to short is traumatic, for anyone, let alone with the situation that they are in. But I strongly advise people to have it cut, it takes some of the trauma out of what's coming when they actually lose their hair.