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Hair loss during chemotherapy

Chemotherapy to treat cancer can make a person's hair fall out.

Not all chemotherapy drugs have hair loss as a side effect, and a person may lose only some hair, not all of it. Hair can also become brittle with chemotherapy.

Talk to your cancer care team about hair loss with the treatments being planned for you so you know what to expect.

Techniques to cool the scalp during chemotherapy can help stop the drugs reaching hair follicles to help prevent hair loss.

Some people are not concerned by becoming bald during cancer treatment, but advice may be available on suitable wigs, hairpieces, hats, turbans or scarves. These may also help keep the head warm.

Hair usually grows back after cancer treatment.

What does new hair look like after chemotherapy?

As hair begins to grow back after chemotherapy, it will have a different texture. For example, it may be curlier than before. Six months to a year later, your hair will have returned to its normal texture. 

Until your hair grows back, using moisturiser on your scalp might help skin feel more comfortable and less itchy.

Do not worry if hair starts growing back during chemotherapy. This is not a sign that your chemotherapy is not working. It is just a natural part of the process.

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on August 08, 2016

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