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Coping with Hair Loss

Hair loss may occur with some chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the head. It usually begins 1-3 weeks after the start of treatment, and begins to grow back 4-6 weeks after the last treatment. Your hair may look or feel different than before. Body hair, as well as scalp hair, may be lost. The following suggestions may be helpful.

Be gentle with your hair:

  • Don’t rub to dry it.
  • Use warm water and a mild shampoo.
  • Use a soft brush or wide-toothed comb.
  • Avoid hair dryers, dyes and permanents.
  • Avoid tight hair ties and bands.
  • Have your hair cut short prior to treatment.
  • You may want to shop for a wig before treatment. Some insurance plans may cover the cost.
  • You may want to wear a hat, scarf or turban.
  • Check with your health care provider before using any lotions on your scalp.
  • Use sunscreen on your scalp if it is not covered
  • A satin pillowcase may help to decrease pulling on your hair.
  • Talk to your social worker or RN about how you feel if hair loss is troubling for you.
  • The Image Recovery Center offers a complimentary consultation to every Cancer Center patient. Call 410-502-5623.

©Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Revised 6/09

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