Advice and support if you lose your hair

Advice and support if you lose your hair
Advice and support
                       if you lose your hair

In association with:

Endorsed by:

                                        Registered Charity Number 1130815
Advice and support if you lose your hair
My New Hair is a national independent charity providing information, advice
 and support for people experiencing medical hair loss. They provide access to a
               responsibly trained national network of hairdressers.
                       Registered Charity Number 1130815.

              For further information please visit
              You can contact our helpdesk on
                          or call us on 01798 812547

Acknowledgements                           Project and Print Sponsors
We wish to thank all of our specialist     With kind thanks to the Department of
contributors to this My New                Health, Trendco Wig Suppliers and Herb
Hair publication and gratefully            UK Limited.
acknowledge the project support from
the Department of Health.                  Education Sponsors
                                           We gratefully acknowledge L’Oreal
Copyright and credit for use of images     Professional and Trendco Wig Suppliers
© My New Hair 2011. Copyright,             as our original and ongoing valuable
design, photography and booklet            education sponsors.
content is intended for authorised My
New Hair use only. No unauthorised
reproduction of any part of this booklet
without the prior permission of My New

This booklet has been produced by          Printed by Foundry Press Ltd Horsham
My New Hair specialist advisers and        who are proud to support My New Hair.
has been reviewed by The Institute of
Trichologists, healthcare professionals    Paper Supplied by Antalis/
and people affected by medical hair        McNaughtons.
loss. This booklet is endorsed by the
Department of Health.                      Graphic design by Debbie Beaney

My New Hair images kindly supplied
by Catherine Harbour Photography.
A selection of other images kindly
supplied by Christine Headwear, Herb
UK, Sleek, Look Good ... Feel Better and
Trendco Wig Suppliers.
Advice and support if you lose your hair
“I feel my incredible career to date has led me to
                            this moment and this opportunity to help people.
                            I am so grateful that I have the skills to do this. My
                            New Hair isn’t just about hair, it’s psychological
                            medicine for people suffering from hair loss through
                            illness and for many of the people I have seen, it’s
                            the missing link in their treatment. Giving people
                            back their hair, hair that looks natural, attractive
                            and feminine gives them back a little of their
                            confidence to face the world in what could be
                            their darkest hour. It was my personal experience of
                            helping a family member during cancer treatment
  Trevor Sorbie, MBE        that inspired the idea of My New Hair.

                              I support both short term and long term hair loss
sufferers and it affects men, women and children of all ages. If this is as a result
of treatment for cancer, the outward effects of this can often remain invisible
until you start losing your hair. What we can do is give people a chance to
feel confident and normal. When people are fit and well, we look after them,
so when they are ill it is even more important as a hairdresser, to be sensitive
and make them feel special.

Many people suffering from hair loss don’t want to feel different, they often
want to be able to go out and feel normal with hair that looks real and

Using his skills and his personal insight,
Trevor recognised the need for the hair
industry to support people suffering from
medical hair loss. An accomplished
hairdresser for over 40 years, Trevor Sorbie
MBE has created and committed himself
to an entirely not for profit initiative “My
New Hair”. Trevor sought to gain the
support of his industry peers in creating
a network of “salons that care”. In
July 2009, this was awarded national
registered charity status by the Charity
Advice and support if you lose your hair
What My New Hair can do to help you .........................................................5
Hair Loss .............................................................................................................6
    Your feelings.................................................................................................6
    Preventing hair loss .....................................................................................6
    How you may lose your hair.......................................................................6
    Hair loss through Chemotherapy...............................................................7
    Hair loss through Radiotherapy . ...............................................................7
    Hair Loss from Hormone Treatments..........................................................7
Wig Provision . ....................................................................................................8
   Choosing a Wig...........................................................................................8
   Comfort and considerations......................................................................9
   Different types of Wig - The Options........................................................10
   Synthetic Fibre and Human Hair Wigs.....................................................10
   Options for Men.........................................................................................11
   Options for Children and Young Adults..................................................11
   Options for different ethnic groups.........................................................11
   Wig Bases . .................................................................................................12
   Individual/Custom made wigs.................................................................13
   Thinning Options .......................................................................................14
   Wig Size/Securing......................................................................................14
   Caring for your Wig...................................................................................14
   Fitting and Wearing a Wig . .....................................................................15
   Alternative Head Wear.............................................................................16
   Masking Solutions for Patchy Hair Loss....................................................17
Hair after Cancer Treatment...........................................................................19
    Basic Facts about Hair .............................................................................19
    When new hair grows back.....................................................................19
    Hair and Cancer........................................................................................20
    If you do not lose your hair during treatment........................................21
    Caring for Hair............................................................................................21
    Thinning Hair...............................................................................................21
    The Scalp and Hair Re-Growth.................................................................22
    Colouring Hair Post-Cancer Treatment...................................................23
    Relaxing / Straightening Hair Post-Cancer Treatment..........................25
    Benefits and Side Effects of Hair Extensions and Weaving...................26
Other Useful Information ................................................................................27
Advice and support if you lose your hair
Introduction                             What My New Hair can
                                         do to help you
My New Hair is a national,
independent charity providing            • We provide unbiased public
information, advice and support for        information, support and advice
people experiencing medical hair           around losing your hair and
loss.                                      considerations when choosing
                                           a wig. This information is
We work with medical advisors, the         professionally endorsed. We also
wig industry, specialists in aftercare     provide guidance on cutting
and experienced independent hair           and styling of wigs and advice
professionals to give you the very         when your hair begins to grow
best support.                              back. We provide this via our
                                           helpline or you can visit our
My New Hair has developed this             website
resource in partnership with the 
Department of Health to help you
through your journey from hair loss      • We provide access to a
through to aftercare if your hair          responsibly trained national
grows back. It is recognised that          network of hairdressers through
there can be differences, within           our network of Salons that Care.
healthcare, in the provision of            All our hairdressers cut and style
service and unbiased information           wigs. Some also stock a range
regarding the supply and cutting of        of wigs and many have trained
wigs.                                      with us to advanced level which
                                           includes advice on when your
The impact of losing your hair can         hair begins to grow back. You
be profound. Some people choose            can access the locations of
to wear hats or scarves. Some              our trained hairdressers plus
people choose to wear nothing.             details of wig suppliers who are
For people who choose to wear a            members of the UK Wigmakers
wig, some worry that this may look         Association via the salon
unnatural. The difference that a           information on our website.
professionally cut wig can make          • The My New Hair charity founded
should not be underestimated.              the UK’s first national hairdressers
Whilst many wigs now look much             training programme to support
more realistic, it is possible to          people with medical hair loss.
transform an “obvious wig” into            Our programme is nurse-led,
an individual’s “new hair”. Many           providing specialist expertise
people are unaware that this is            across all areas of advice, wig
possible and assume that a wig             cutting and aftercare. We
cannot be cut and styled further.          believe in supporting hairdressers
We would always advise that this           to deliver a responsible service
service be carried out by a trained        with respect and discretion for all
hairdresser.                               clients.

Hair Loss                                   Preventing hair loss
                                                        Whilst little can be done to prevent
            Your feelings                               hair loss to the local area during
                                                        radiotherapy, if you are having
            Many, but not all, people face
                                                        chemotherapy, you may ask your
            the prospect of losing their hair as
                                                        specialist nurse about the possibility
            part of their treatment for cancer.
                                                        of scalp cooling with your particular
            Hair loss can be one of the most
                                                        cancer and type of drug treatment.
            distressing side effects of cancer
Hair Loss

                                                        They will advise you if this may be
            treatment. Hair can also have
                                                        suitable for you.
            particular significance across
            different cultures.
                                                        How you may lose your
            For short term, or longer term,             hair
            hair loss sufferers, this distress is
            understandable as the way we feel           Often people ask how they may
            about ourselves and how we look,            lose their hair and when it might
            is closely linked to our feelings of self   happen. Always check with your
            esteem and self confidence. It can          medical team as this may vary
            also be a constant “reminder” of            according to your treatment.
            your treatment for cancer.                  Some people may experience
            Whether hair loss be as a result of         scalp sensitivity prior to and during
            treatment or diagnosed as longer            hair loss and also through the
            term alopecia this may make you             course of their treatment. You may
            feel vulnerable. For additional             experience hair loss during the night
            support that you may find helpful           and may wish to wear a soft cotton
            please see our “Other Useful                cap.
            Information” at the back of this

Hair loss through                        Unlike chemotherapy, hair loss only
                                         applies to areas which receive
Chemotherapy                             radiotherapy. If, for example, you
                                         are receiving radiotherapy to a
Chemotherapy uses anti cancer
                                         specific part of your head, the
drugs, which travel around the
                                         hair will fall out in that area. In this
body and reach the cancer cells
                                         instance, you may also lose hair
wherever they are. Damage to
                                         from the other side of your head
healthy cells also occurs during this
                                         where radiotherapy beams pass
process – especially to cells that are

                                                                                    Hair Loss
always growing and dividing like
the ones that make your hair grow.
                                         Hair may take six months or more to
Not all chemotherapy treatment
                                         grow back following radiotherapy.
causes hair loss. Your medical team
                                         It may also be patchy when it
and specialist nurse will talk to
                                         grows back. Although hair usually
you about your treatment and will
                                         grows back over time it is possible
discuss with you how you are likely
                                         that it may not grow back at all.
to lose your hair. You may also
                                         This depends upon the dose of
have thinning or loss of eyelashes,
                                         radiotherapy and the number of
eyebrows and other body hair.
Healthy cells normally repair
themselves quite quickly so
your hair may grow back once             Hair Loss from
treatment is finished or sometimes       Hormone Treatments
even before you finish your full
course of treatment. This may take       Some hormone treatments can
several months but it will probably      result in hair thinning due to the
grow at the same rate as it grew         lowering of levels of oestrogen.
before. There is more information        This is a similar effect to that which
about this in our “Hair After Cancer     may occur during the menopause
Treatment” section.                      when periods stop. Once you
                                         stop taking the drug, your hair will
Hair loss through                        probably grow back. It is important
                                         to recognise that hair thinning can
Radiotherapy                             also be distressing and you may
                                         wish to contact a professional wig
Radiotherapy uses high energy
                                         supplier who will also be able to
x-rays to treat cancer and is used
                                         advise you on appropriate hair
to treat a specific part of the body.
                                         pieces should you require this. Most
Like chemotherapy, radiotherapy
                                         wig suppliers can also provide
affects healthy cells and can
                                         ready to wear or custom made hair
cause hair loss. Your radiographer,
consultant or nurse will talk to you
about the likelihood of losing your
hair during treatment.

Wig Provision                          The Department of Health leaflet
                                                       HC11 “Are you Entitled to Help with
                                                       Health Costs ?” can tell you whether
                                                       you can get a free wig from the

                                                       If you are not entitled to a free
                                                       wig you can still get one from
                                                       the hospital at a subsidised price.
                                                       Currently, the level of subsidy varies
                                                       depending on the hospital so you
                                                       will need to check this with your
                                                       specialist nurse. You will need to
                                                       apply for help with the costs on an
                                                       HC1 form which the Hospital can
                                                       provide you with.

                                                       Choosing a Wig
Wig Provision

                The National Health Service (NHS)      Choosing a wig for the first time
                makes provision for the supply of      can be bewildering. If you need to
                wigs to people who need them           choose a wig for the first time, some
                in order to help with medical hair     of the following considerations may
                loss. To obtain a wig you will need    be useful :-
                to have a referral from a specialist
                eg: oncology or dermatology            • Sometimes people wish to
                department.                              choose their wig prior to losing
                                                         their hair and you may wish
                The process of wig provision varies      to familiarise yourself with
                around the country. It is expected       headwear options before your
                that wig suppliers under contract        treatment begins. Your wig may
                to the NHS must supply a good            need some slight adjustment
                standard of wig, offer choice and        once you lose your hair. This is
                provide a confidential and quality       usually easy to do yourself using
                service. The majority of suppliers       the adjustable straps or your wig
                are members of the Hairdressing          supplier will also be able to help
                and Beauty Suppliers Association         you with this.
                and have subscribed to a code
                                                       • If you are losing your hair as a
                of conduct and practices which
                                                         result of cancer treatment, it can
                comply with British Standard ISO
                                                         be helpful to start by considering
                9001. Such wig fitters are checked
                                                         whether you want to recreate a
                by the Criminal Records Bureau to
                                                         style as close to what you have
                be “fit to deal with children and
                                                         with your own hair or whether
                vulnerable adults”.
                                                         you wish to choose a different

style or colour. Some people           If you are bewildered by the
  chose to have their hair cut short     choice of styles and colours, ask a
  before their treatment and also        professional for help. Generally, if
  choose to wear a shorter wig.          the colour is right and the style is
  Others wear a longer wig and           close to what you are looking for,
  have the wig cut much shorter          the wig can be customised by a
  in preparation for when their          trained hair professional and any
  own hair begins to grow back.          excess “bulk” in the wig, can be
  You should check that this is          thinned out and the wig shaped to
  possible with the supplier when        give a more natural appearance.
  choosing the wig. Each person is
  individual and there is no right or    Comfort and
  wrong way to approach this.
• When choosing a wig, you may
  wish to take someone you trust         Comfort and fit for a wig are
  along with you if you feel you         important considerations. If a wig
  may want a second opinion or           fits snugly to your head all over, it is
  additional support. Discussing         likely to look more natural and be

                                                                                    Wig Provision
  your thoughts and ideas                more secure. However, wearing a
  together before choosing the           wig can be hot particularly in warm
  wig may be helpful too. If you         weather. Some people find that a
  have already lost some or all of       cushion band which runs around
  your hair, taking some pictures        the perimeter of a wig and “lifts” it,
  from magazines or photographs          can be slightly cooling to the head,
  can help guide a professional          making it more comfortable in
  wig supplier to what you are           warm weather.
  looking to achieve.
                                         Some wig bases are more
• It can be helpful to contact           “breathable” but these tend to be
  the wig supplier in advance to         used in wigs made for the more
  make an appointment and also           long term client and can be more
  to establish that they have a          expensive.
  discreet, private environment in
  which you can try on a range of
  wigs. Wearing a wig is likely to
  feel quite different at first and it
  is perfectly normal to feel unsure
  about this. It is important that
  any wig is fitted well and does
  not move around on your head.
  A professional supplier will be
  able to do this and alter the wig
  if necessary.                                  Wig cap

Different types of Wig -               colour fade than human hair but
                                                       generally cannot be heat styled.
                The Options                            They can develop “friction frizz”
                                                       after a period of time, especially
                It can be helpful to understand
                                                       when in constant contact with
                the main choice of wigs available.
                                                       clothing, particularly at the nape of
                There are two main wig options:
                                                       the neck. However, the aftercare
                synthetic fibre and human hair.
                                                       instructions detailed later can help
                Each type has advantages and
                                                       you minimise this.
                disadvantages. There are no set
                rules regarding selection however,
                                                       Synthetic wigs usually last for 9-12
                the following information should be
                                                       months depending upon how well
                considered to support the selection
                                                       they are cared for and how often
                                                       they are worn. A longer wig will
                                                       have a shorter life span as it is more
                Synthetic Fibre Wigs                   prone to develop friction frizz by
                                                       rubbing against clothing.
                Synthetic fibre wigs have the
                advantage of being pre-styled and
Wig Provision

                come in a large range of colours.
                                                       Human Hair Wigs
                They also provide wash and wear
                                                       Human hair wigs can be heat styled
                convenience as, when washed
                                                       to suit: blowdried, straightened
                correctly, they revert back to their
                                                       or curled and can be treated like
                original style. If you are being
                                                       growing hair. This does however
                treated for cancer, this is a key
                                                       mean that they require regular
                consideration for you as you may
                                                       attention and can be more prone
                not be well enough or have the
                                                       to colour fade. Using the very best
                energy to style a wig on a regular
                                                       products can help prolong the life
                basis. These wigs are less prone to
                                                       of the wig.

                          Synthetic Wigs                        Human Hair Wigs
                Advantages          Disadvantages       Advantages          Disadvantages
                No colour fading    Friction Frizz      No frizzing         Colour fades
                Permanent wave Unable to tint           Can apply heat      Porous
                               or colour                Can be coloured Can be more
                No styling          No heat                             costly
                                    application         Soft to touch       May be
                                                                            difficult to
                Easy to maintain    May be seen                             manage
                                    as inferior
                Vast colour
                                                        Style can be        Not available
                selection                               changed             in grey

Options for Men
                                         Alternatively, many children are
Hair loss for men can be just as         happy to wear a cap or bandana.
traumatic as it is for women. Men        These are also available with hair/
may be reluctant to seek help            fringe attached and look attractive
or enquire about their options.          as well as being practical.
However, rest assured that these
feelings and concerns are perfectly      Options for different
natural, and that the services exist
just as much for men as for women.       ethnic groups
There is a more limited selection
of ready to wear and custom-
made full hair wigs and toupees
specifically designed for men. These
are available at some reputable
wig suppliers. These are also likely
to require customisation and can
be styled for a very natural look.

                                                                                Wig Provision
Options for Children and                 There is a fairly good selection of
Young Adults                             wigs for most hair types available
                                         from wig fitters and manufacturers.
                                         However, there are also specialist
                                         wig suppliers available in the High
                                         Street and on-line that provide a
                                         huge array of wigs/pieces in Afro
                                         Caribbean, Indian, Asian and other

The range of children’s wigs can         High Street stores tend to be for
be limited but are available from        “off the peg” purchases and, often
several reputable UK wig suppliers.      lack facilities to select and try on
Older children requiring an adult        wigs discreetly in-store. Therefore,
styled wig can have it adapted to        if you decide to purchase a wig
make it smaller or try a petite style    from a High Street store without an
adult wig. The manufacturer’s            opportunity to have the wig fitted,
advice should be sought for this         we would advise that you check
service.                                 the Store’s sale or return policy
                                         before you make a purchase.
You may wish to contact the Hair
and Beauty Suppliers Association
or My New Hair for a list of suppliers
who stock a range of children’s and
petite range wigs.

Wig Bases
                In addition to the choice of
                wearing a synthetic or a human
                hair wig, there are also many more
                choices of wig base which can be

                Machine Wefted
                                                         Hand knotted wig foundation
                Most synthetic wigs are produced
                on a machine made weft. This
                is then sewn onto a stretch              Monofilament
                foundation. The machine wefting
                                                         Both human hair and synthetic
                and stretch foundation allows for
                                                         wigs can be manufactured with a
                breathe-ability and comfort of fit.
                                                         transparent monofilament top. This
                                                         gives a smoother, softer feel to the
                                                         scalp at the top and the crown.
Wig Provision

                                                         The hair/fibre are hand knotted
                                                         into the monofilament base to give
                                                         the appearance of growing hair.
                                                         Monofilament top wigs have the
                                                         added advantage of allowing the
                                                         hair to be brushed in any direction,
                                                         making it easier to change the
                                                         parting for a style. A double layer
                Machine wefted lace top wig foundation   of monofilament is also available
                                                         which can increase comfort for the
                Hand Knotted Foundations
                Hand knotted wigs are constructed
                on a stretch net, lace or full
                monofilament foundation. This type
                of foundation is very lightweight
                and extremely comfortable to
                wear. Each strand of hair/fibre
                is individually knotted into the
                foundation for a natural life like

                                                         Machine wefted monofilament top wig

Other Wig Bases                            Vacuum Wigs
                                           Custom fitted “vacuum” wigs
These tend to be aimed at the
                                           require no bonding to the scalp
long term wearer and frequently
feature as part of custom made wig
ranges. However, with advances             Individual/Custom made
in technology, they are becoming           wigs
increasingly available as a “ready
to wear” options.                          This type of wig is most often used
                                           for the long-term wearer. They
Lace                                       can be very expensive as a great
                                           deal of expertise is required for the
Ready to wear and custom made
wigs can incorporate areas of the          measuring and the production of
cap (usually the front for a natural       this type of wig. A bespoke wig can
hair line) or full caps of lace that are   enable you to lead an active life
virtually undetectable to the eye.         including swimming, sport, dancing
They tend to have bleached knots           with the added security of a wig
that create the appearance of hair         that is virtually undetectable and

                                                                                   Wig Provision
growing out of a scalp.                    secure.

                                           There are a number of specialist
                                           companies that produce custom
Edges, larger areas or the whole of        made wigs as well as partial hair
the cap can be made from a type            pieces, patches for scars, burns
of silicone which creates a second         and patches for hair loss. It is
skin. This can be secured with tapes       important to note that these wigs
to provide a secure fit.                   take 8-12 weeks to produce, and a
                                           number of fittings on a bald head
Before                                     carried out by a highly trained
                                           individual is necessary. This is one
                                           of the reasons that this wig would
                                           not be recommended if you are
                                           undergoing cancer treatment.


Thinning Options                        • Turn the wig inside out, use warm
                                                          water and cleanse with an
                There are a number of hair                appropriate product for the wig
                integration systems available,            type.
                some are similar to a wig, but with     • This process may need to be
                an open weft base that allows             carried out more than once
                the client’s own hair to be pulled        depending on whether deep
                through with a hook or tail comb.         cleansing is required.
                This will give the hair more volume.
                                                        • Use appropriate conditioning
                                                          products for real hair wigs, and
                Wig Size/Securing                         leave on the hair for a minimum
                                                          of 3-5 minutes. These products
                The majority of ready to wear
                                                          may be leave on conditioners
                wigs are available in average or
                                                          or mask style treatments and
                petite sizes. The standard cap size
                                                          should be used according to the
                for wigs is 54cm and petite sizes
                                                          manufacturer’s guidelines.
                are around 52cm. All wigs have
                elastic adjusters with velcro or hook   • Conditioning is the most
Wig Provision

                fastenings at the nape. These can         important part of the cleansing
                be altered to ensure best comfort         process for human hair wigs.
                and fit.                                  This will help to maintain the
                                                          condition, extend the life span of
                Some wigs provide an area for the         the wig and to ensure the quality
                additional use of toupee tape for         of the hair.
                added security, or this can be sewn
                                                        • The wig should be thoroughly
                into the wig by the wig supplier
                                                          rinsed using warm water and
                should you feel the need.
                                                          dried using a gentle squeezing
                                                          and patting technique to
                Caring for your Wig                       remove excess moisture. It is
                                                          best to avoid rubbing the wig to
                Care instructions should be given         prevent the hair from tangling.
                to you with your wig. This will help
                to ensure the life and quality of
                the wig is prolonged for as long as

                Washing Process
                When washing a synthetic or a real
                hair wig:

                • The wig should be pre-brushed
                  through, prior to the washing

Aftercare for synthetic wigs            Fitting and Wearing a
One of the problems regarding           Wig
synthetic wigs is the development
of “friction frizz”. By following the   Styling and Aftercare
correct aftercare instructions you      Products for Wigs
can reduce the risk of friction frizz
on longer length wigs by using a        Shampoo
serum. Never use direct heat such       Gentle action and formulated
as hair dryers, ceramic irons or        especially for fibre hair. Human
curling tongs as this will damage       hair wigs need a high quality
the fibre. It is also important to      shampoo particularly for bleached
recognise that you need to be           or coloured hair. Anti-frizz shampoos
extremely careful around heat           also work very well.
sources such as barbecues, open
fires, cigarettes/lighters, outdoor     Spray on conditioner
heaters. Caution is also required
                                        A daily use leave in conditioner
when opening the oven door as the
                                        and protection spray is ideal for
first, initial heat blast, can damage

                                                                                     Wig Provision
                                        synthetic wigs. These sprays often
the fibres.
                                        contain fibre oil, which helps to
                                        protect the wig. For human hair,
Aftercare for human hair                use a high quality anti-frizz style
wigs                                    conditioner and use according to
After washing, these wigs should        the manufacturer’s guidelines.
be combed through using a wide
tooth comb, always combing from
the tips of the hair to the root. At
this stage, care should be taken
when combing the hair, as the
knots become loose when wet
and will tighten as the wig begins
to dry. All human hair wigs can be
set using conventional curlers and
hood dryers. Heated rollers also
offer a quick curling solution and
                                        Products shown are just an example of
curling tongs and straightening irons   available products, other brands and makes
can also be used. It is important       are available.
when using heat on the human
hair, that a thermal heat protection
product is used.

Wig Lustre/Silicone based sprays
                This type of spray is recommended
                for all types of wigs, it will reduce
                the tendency to frizz if used at the
                nape area. It will also add shine
                and generally revitalise the fibre.

                Holding Spray
                Fixing Spray, a water based spray        Au Naturale
                for hold without build-up. Use a         This is totally down to personal
                holding spray that can be removed        preference and individual style.
                with cold or tepid water or one that     There is no right or wrong choice.
                brushes out.                             Some people simply prefer to
                                                         go bare, and define themselves
                Alternative Head Wear                    with make up and earrings. There
                                                         are potential advantages to this,
                Hats and Scarves                         namely simplicity, ease, comfort
Wig Provision

                                                         and freedom as well as having an
                Hats and scarves can be an               individual style that some people
                alternative to wigs, and many            seek.
                people will use these as a
                comfortable replacement. There           If you choose not to wear any head
                are a huge amount of options             cover in the future, you might find
                ranging from regular hats and            the following advice helpful:
                scarves to self-made headwear
                (from sarongs and fabrics) as well       • Bare heads are more sensitive to
                as specialist headwear which can           heat and cold. The head should
                offer:                                     be covered appropriately when
                • Comfort                                  it is hot and sunny or cold and
                • Different fabrics appropriate
                  to the temperature and                 • The scalp can be particularly
                  environment                              sensitive to sunshine and it is
                                                           recommended that a high
                • Shape with padding for structure         factor sun block is used and/or a
                  or extra fabric for tying designs or     shady hat is worn.
                  to provide extra cover up
                                                         • Some people receiving anti
                • Complete coverage of the                 cancer treatment should avoid
                  hairline                                 direct exposure to the sun and
                • Secure fit and anti-slippage             you should advise them to
                                                           discuss this with their healthcare
                • Added hairlines such as fringes          professional.
                  or at the side and back of head
                  can create the illusion of hair.

Masking Solutions for                     The application process is very easy
                                          and straight forward:
Patchy Hair Loss
                                          • Apply cream to the sponge
Unisex Spray Hair Thickener                 applicator supplied
This is a fast and effective              • Lightly cover the scalp in the hair
thickening spray, which not only            loss area
thickens hair but also helps to
                                          • Comb the hair into desired style
mask thinning areas. The product is
                                            to finish the look
dispensed as a colour powder and
can be quickly sprayed onto the           The cream is available in black,
hair and scalp areas where the hair       dark brown, medium brown, light
is thinnest. This application offers      brown/blonde, grey and grey/
the benefits of disguising the scalp’s    white.
reflection of light and the powder
molecules attached to each hair
strand makes them appear thicker.                     Products
                                                      shown are just
The product needs to be sealed in                     an example
place with a follow up application

                                                                                  Wig Provision
                                                      of available
of holding spray. Colours available                   products,
                                                      other brands
are black, dark brown, medium
                                                      and makes
brown, light brown, auburn, hazel,                    are available
light blonde, ash blonde, silver
and grey. Care should be taken if
your scalp is sensitive or your skin is
damaged in any way. If in doubt,
please discuss this with your health
                                          Make Up
Unisex Masking Solution
                                          You can use make up to draw
Unisex masking cream provides             in a lash line and eyebrows and
an instant, convenient and safe           enhance your features. Advice
way to disguise thinning areas. This      regarding how to achieve this and
non-greasy cream has a gentle             the best products to use can be
action and is ideal for both men          obtained from make up counters
and women. It is 98% water and rub        and beauty salons. Some cancer
proof, it does not stain or discolour     charities provide support and
hair and only takes minutes to            advice around aspects of well
apply. By selecting a colour slightly     being and appearance.
darker than the hair, the scalp is
subtly darkened, which neutralises
the skin’s reflection of light.

Look Good … Feel Better hold free      There are various options
                skincare and make up workshops to      available to you to help you gain
                help combat the visible side effects   self distinguishing features and
                of cancer treatment. Care should       confidence.
                be taken if your skin is sensitive
                or damaged in any way. If in           False eyelashes and eyebrows are
                doubt discuss this with your health    readily available at both high street
                professional.                          beauty departments and on-line
                                                       stores. For men, some moustaches
                                                       and beards are available, but the
                                                       options are limited. Care should
                                                       be taken if your skin is sensitive or
                                                       damaged in any way. If in doubt
                                                       please discuss this with your health

                                                         Please also see our “Other
                                                         Useful Information” section
Wig Provision

                                                         at the back of this booklet.

                Facial Hair Options
                A less considered aspect of
                medical hair loss is the absence
                of eyelashes, eyebrows, beard
                growth and body hair that may
                accompany the scalp hairloss. The
                loss of facial hair can change your
                appearance. Eyebrows provide a
                frame for the face, and you may
                find the absence of eyebrows and
                eyelashes difficult.

Hair after Cancer Treatment
Basic Facts about Hair
The cells that produce our hair have the fastest growth rate of all cells in
the human body. Each hair goes through an independent cycle of growth,
which lasts on average 5 years. Each day we shed approximately 100 hairs
as part of this cycle.

When new hair grows back
There are some differences between hair and growth rates across different
ethnic groups.

                       Caucasian           Asian            Afro-Caribbean
Hair Shaft             Oval                Round            Flat
Thickness              Mid-thickness       Thickest         Finest
Key Characteristics    Most variable       Straight. Most   Curly, tight
                       type. Can be        regular type     coiled. The

                                                                                 Hair after Cancer
                       straight, wavy or                    shape hinders

                       curly                                the spread of
                                                            natural sebum
                                                            across the hair,
                                                            leaving it fragile
                                                            and easily
Colour                 Blonde, brown,      Black            Black
Rate of Growth         1.2cm/month         1.3cm/month      0.9cm/month
Density of Follicles   Most dense          Least dense      Mid-density

On average our hair grows around          Hair and Cancer
                    1 cm per month (dependent on
                    ethnicity). Healthy hair is actually      Cancer cells also reproduce
                    rather strong; each hair can              rapidly. Chemotherapy and
                    withstand up to 100gm. Made up of         radiotherapy are designed to
                    3 layers, the outer layer (the cuticle)   target these fast growing cells,
                    offers a protective function. The         which is why our hair can be
                    cuticle can be damaged by daily           affected. Radiotherapy causes hair
                    combing and brushing, as well as          loss only in the area being treated.
                    environmental influences, e.g. the
                    sun.                                      The hair that grows back following
                                                              treatment for cancer can be
                    Hair is composed partially from a         weak due to a lack of protein.
                    special protein called keratin. When      With chemotherapy, your hair may
                    we colour hair, it is the protein         start to grow back before the end
                    in hair that the colour pigments          of the treatment. You may have
                    attach to and so it is essential to       a full head of hair between 3-6
                    have the correct protein levels.          months following the end of your
                    The rest of our hair is made up of        chemotherapy. There may be a
                    water, fatty acids and other trace        number of differences between
                    elements.                                 your new hair and your hair before
                                                              treatment. For example, the hair
                                                              often grows back very fine at first
                                                              and may be a different texture,
                                                              colour and possibly curly, even if
                                                              it was previously straight. In most
                                                              cases, your hair will revert over time
Hair after Cancer

                                                              back to its pre-cancer treatment
                                                              condition and colour.

                                                              With radiotherapy, your hair re-
                                                              growth may be slower than with
                                                              chemotherapy; it usually takes 6-12
                                                              months before you have a full head
                                                              of hair and it may grow back finer
                                                              than before the treatment. Some
                                                              people’s hair never grows back
                                                              following radiotherapy or it may
                                                              grow back patchy. The process of
                                                              re-growth can be a lot slower if you
                                                              tend to wear your wig or cover your
                                                              scalp 24 hours a day. If your new
                                                              hair is exposed to daylight it tends
                                                              to speed up the growth of your hair
                                                              after treatment.

If you do not lose your                 Please note, due to the effect of
                                             the chemotherapy drugs on the
     hair through treatment                  hair, the end colour result may be
                                             affected. You may not end up
     Some people do not experience
                                             with the exact colour you were
     hair loss throughout their cancer

     We do not recommend that hair           Caring for Hair
     is coloured during treatment.
     However, we recognise that some         As we have discussed, hair growing
     people will want to colour their hair   back after chemotherapy or
     and therefore we offer the following    radiotherapy treatment is often
     advice:                                 weak and low in protein. Therefore
                                             it is recommended to avoid
     • Advise your hairdresser of your       strenuous or harsh brushing. Use the
       medical treatment so they can         hairdryer on a gentle heat setting,
       allow for any influence this might    rather than high heat.
       have on the colour result.
     • A strand test is also advised.        In addition, the condition of the hair
                                             may be improved through regular
     • A skin sensitivity test should        cutting by removing the damaged
       always be carried out,                hair and promoting positive hair
       according to the manufacturer’s       regrowth.
     • If there is any sign of a reaction    Thinning Hair
       – redness, soreness, itching,
       irritation, etc – the colour should   Thinning hair needs gentle

                                                                                      Hair after Cancer
       be immediately washed off the         treatment. Avoid vigorous or

       hair.                                 strenuous brushing and combing.
                                             Paddle brushes often include
     • Use foiling techniques to keep
                                             nodules on the bristles, which offer
       the colour from coming into
                                             gentle massage of the hair and
       contact with the scalp.
                                             scalp. This encourages sebum
     • Avoid colours containing harsh        production and stimulates blood
       chemicals, such as ammonia or         flow. There are also massage
       resorcinol.                           brushes available for use during
                                             shampooing. These offer a gentle
     • Choose a semi-permanent
                                             scalp massage, as well as helping
       colour and so avoid oxidative
                                             to distribute the product across the
       pigments (PPDs/PTDs).
     • If using permanent colours, avoid
       the darker shades, as these have
       higher percentages of PPDs/PTDs
       (subject to hair analysis results).

20                                                                                           21
Avoid shampoos containing harsh          They can also help to repair and
                    sulphates. Instead look for ones         moisturise your scalp, reducing
                    with natural plant oils (eg; Jojoba      irritation and inflammation.
                    and Sweet Almond Oil), which work
                    in a similar way to the naturally        Some ingredients used in such scalp
                    occurring oils from our scalp and        treatments include:
                    condition the hair. Other key
                    ingredients are UV filters, to protect   Biotin, Folic Acid, Niacin, Thiamine
                    the hair from harmful environmental      HCL, Pantothenic Acid (Panthenol):
                    influences and anti-oxidants, (eg;       B vitamins, required for healthy skin,
                    green tea and fennel), which help        hair and nails.
                    to prevent damage. Remember
                    to advise your hairdresser of your       Chamomile, Aloe Vera,
                    treatment, so they can recommend         Geranium, Rosemary extracts:
                    the most suitable products for you       anti-inflammatory, anti-septic and
                    to use.                                  soothing agents.

                    When using hairdryers, use a low         Fennel, green tea and tocopherol
                    heat setting and minimise use of         (vitamin E): anti-oxidants, which
                    hair straighteners and other styling     help to prevent damage caused
                    appliances, as these operate at          by unstable molecules.
                    high temperatures. Regular trims
                    may help to stimulate positive hair      Until such time that your hair is
                    regrowth. Also, avoid tight hair-up      long enough to shampoo, an
                    styles, to prevent stress on the hair.   aqueous cream may be suitable for
                                                             cleansing and moisturising the hair
                    The Scalp and Hair                       and scalp. Once your hair is long
Hair after Cancer

                                                             enough, you can begin to use a
                    Re-Growth                                gentle shampoo and conditioner.

                                                             Selected ingredients that can have
                    Healthy hair requires a healthy          a positive influence on hair and
                    scalp. Hair needs the correct            scalp include the following:
                    amount of nutrients which are
                    supplied through the network of          Proteins, for example, Hydrolysed
                    vessels and nerves in the scalp and      Wheat Protein, Hydrolysed
                    which stimulate growth. Your scalp       Keratin and Wheat Amino Acids
                    can be very dry, sensitive and scaly     are ingredients in some hair
                    following chemotherapy. There            conditioners. They help to build up
                    are special treatments available         the strength and stability of the hair.
                    for scalps. These treatments deliver     The structure of these proteins is
                    nutrients to the scalp and protect       similar to that of naturally occurring
                    it from harmful environmental            keratin in our hair.

Plant oils, such as Jojoba and Sweet     Surfactants are the cleansing agent
Almond Oil, are popular ingredients.     in a shampoo. They are partly
They work in a similar way to the        water soluble, partly oil soluble and
natural occurring oils from our scalp    increase the spreading and wetting
(sebum), form a thin film over the       properties of a liquid. They are often
hair’s cuticle and condition and         the foaming agent in shampoos.
soften the hair. This can improve        Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate is
the feel, suppleness and shine of        an example of an extremely mild
the hair. Dry hair lacks sebum and       surfactant made from coconut
can be helped by using products          derivatives.
which contain Pantothenic Acid
(also called Panthenol). This is used    (The above information is endorsed
in both rinse off and leave in hair      by the Institute of Trichologists)
                                         Colouring Hair Post-
Sunflower Seed Oil contains a high
content of Vitamin E and may give        Cancer Treatment
other beneficial properties when
applied to skin and hair. It can         Although there is little evidence-
also protect from UV light. UV filters   based research in this area, current
are important to help protect the        medical guidance suggests waiting
hair from harmful environmental          six months before permanently
influences, such as damage from          colouring your hair. This is due to
the sun, pollution, etc.                 scalp sensitivity and the fragility of
                                         the new hair growth. Even after
Anti-inflammatory, anti-septic           a suitable period of time, a hair
and soothing agents are useful           professional should always do a
                                         skin sensitivity test to highlight any

                                                                                  Hair after Cancer
for sensitive scalps, for example
Aloe Vera, Geranium, Rosemary,           potential allergic reaction to the

Bergamot and Chamomile extracts.         colour, as well as doing a wet
                                         stretch test on your hair to check
Conditioning and moisturising            strength and elasticity before
agents include Panthenol (Vitamin        colouring. Finally, a strand test to
B12) and Comfrey extract.                check the colour result should be

                                         If you are distressed by the colour
                                         of your new hair, professionals
                                         advise that temporary or semi-
                                         permanent hair colours be used
                                         until the hair becomes stronger. If
                                         using permanent colours, avoid the
                                         darker shades, as these have higher
                                         percentages of pigments (PPDs and

It is recommended to use off-                any discomfort. It is very difficult
                    the-scalp (foiling) techniques to            to achieve a satisfactory colour
                    begin with, to stop the colour from          result on hair which is not in good
                    coming into contact with the scalp.          condition and different results
                    Also, avoid aggressive chemicals             achieved can be due to hair in
                    in hair colours, such as ammonia or          different condition. It is important
                    resorcinol.                                  that you seek expert stylist advice
                                                                 prior to any attempts to colour your
                    Before you begin to colour your              hair.
                    hair, consult a hair professional, who
                    will be able to assess the strength          In the initial period following
                    and condition of your hair and               chemotherapy, hair may not
                    advise any specific products you             respond to colour in the normal
                    should use. It is essential to note that     way and a trained hair professional
                    colouring should not take place              will draw this to your attention.
                    if your hair and scalp are brittle,          The final colour result can be
                    excessively dry or flaky, irritated or       affected by many things such as
                    breaking. Colouring must only be             medication, condition of hair and
                    carried out once your scalp and              previous colouring. A professional
                    hair are both healthy and able to            colourist, who is familiar with these
                    go through the colouring process             considerations, will be able to
                    without damage or causing you                advise you.

                                                Types of Hair Colour
Hair after Cancer

                     Technique            Pigment Type         Effect on Hair       Example

                     Temporary            Direct Pigment Coats the hair and Colour mousse
                                                         lasts 1 wash
                     Semi-permanent       Direct Pigment Coats the hair and Semi-permanent
                                                         lasts 6-8 washes   colour
                     Demi-permanent       Oxidative            Penerates the        Permanent
                                          Pigment              cuticle and lasts    colour with a
                                                               more than 8          low level of
                                                               washes               peroxide
                     Permanent            Oxidative            Changes the          Permanent
                                          Pigment              existing colour in   colour with
                                                               the hair             medium to high
                                                                                    level of peroxide

Hair colour has been extensively          Relaxing/Straightening
tested to ensure it is safe to use
under the conditions stated by            Hair Post-Cancer
the manufacturer. However, it is          Treatment
possible to be or become allergic
to one or more of the ingredients         The relaxing and straightening of
used in hair colour. Other factors        hair is only recommended for hair
which can cause an adverse                that is in good condition and of
reaction to hair colour include           a suitable length. The repeated
tattoos, permanent make-up and            combing of the hair during the
medication.                               process can put it under a lot of
                                          stress and particularly hair that is
If any of these apply to you or           weak in protein can be prone to
you have experienced a previous           breaking under these conditions.
reaction to hair colour or have           Damaged hair should be treated
other allergies, always advise your       according to the results of the wet
stylist. A skin sensitivity test should   stretch test until it is in a suitable
always be carried out before              condition for relaxing/straightening.

                                                                                   Hair after Cancer

The straightening of Afro Caribbean        method you choose, hair extensions
                    hair is not advised at all until the       and weavings can also lead to
                    hair and scalp are fully recovered.        further hair loss or thinning. When
                    As with colouring, relaxing or             the weave is done too tightly it
                    straightening should not take place        can pull on existing hair and lead
                    if the hair and scalp are brittle,         to premature shedding. Weaving
                    excessively dry or flaky, irritated or     can also damage hair follicles
                    breaking.                                  causing breakage at the point of
                                                               attachment. To help reduce the
                                                               chance of damage or shedding,
                    Benefits and Side Effects                  professional stylists should only
                                                               apply extensions and proper care
                    of Hair Extensions and                     should be taken of existing hair
                    Weaving                                    and extensions as long as they are
                    Hair extensions and weaving can            As this technique can be damaging
                    offer some temporary benefits,             to existing hair strands, individuals
                    including giving hair more volume.         need to think about the risk of
                    For individuals with healthy hair,         this procedure. If you have very
                    extensions offer an alternative            little hair, or excessive thinning,
                    to thinning hair and hair loss.            extensions may increase the risk of
                    However, for damaged hair this is          further hair loss.
                    not generally encouraged. Many
                    individuals do not like the worry
                    that accompanies temporary hair
                    extensions. These extensions can
                    fall out easily, must be removed
Hair after Cancer

                    before bathing or swimming, and
                    can be blown off in the wind.

                    However, depending on the

                    We hope that you have found this information helpful. If you have further
                    queries regarding hair loss that you would like to discuss, please do
                    contact us.

                    Helpline: 01798 812547
                    Registered charity number 1130815
                    We rely solely on donations to continue our work

Other Useful Information

Alopecia Areata Support                Cancer and Careers UK
Alopecia Areata Support run a          Directory of essential contacts for
support group for people suffering     women living and working with
from Alopecia. They host regular       cancer. You can find information
support meetings and have              and advice on everything from
representatives in the UK and          hair loss to programmes offered by
internationally.                       employers for working women with        cancer.

Alopecia Beauty Tips
Alopecia Beauty Tips aims to           Cancerbackup
provide women suffering from           Cancerbackup has merged with
Alopecia the confidence they           Macmillan to provide more than
need to look and feel fantastic.       6,000 pages of online advice and             pledges to answer ‘any questions
                                       about any cancer’.
                                       Helpline: 0808 800 0000
Cancer and Alopecia Support            Tel: 020 7840 7840
The aim of Alopecia UK is to provide
information, advice and support
for people with experience of          Cancer Black Care
alopecia areata, alopecia totalis,     Cancer Black Care information
and alopecia universalis.              centres offer information and              support for people with cancer
                                       from ethnic communities, their
                                       friends, carers and families.
                                       Tel: 020 8961 4151
                                                                             Other Useful

CLIC Sargent                              Look Good...Feel Better
               CLIC Sargent is a children’s cancer       Look Good...Feel Better is the
               charity that aims to help children        beauty industry’s charity. It runs free
               and young people survive cancer           skin care and make up workshops
               and make the most of their lives.         for cancer sufferers across the UK.
               They provide support to the patient       Tel: 01372 747 500
               and their family through diagnosis,
               treatment and afterwards.
               Helpline: 0800 197 0068
               Tel: 020 8752 2800 (London branch)
               Email:        Macmillan Cancer Support
                         Macmillan Cancer Support aim
                                                         to improve the lives of people
                                                         affected by cancer. They provide
               Christine Headwear                        practical, medical and financial
               Tel: 01538 399541                         support and push for better cancer
                                                         Tel: 0808 800 0000
               Institute of Trichologists
               The Institute of Trichologists is the
               foremost professional association         Maggie’s Centres
               for Trichologists in the world. You       Maggie’s Centres allow people
               can contact them or check                 living with cancer to access help
               their website to find a registered        with information, benefits advice,
               trichologist in your area.                psychological support both
               Helpline: 0845 604 4657                   individually and in groups, courses
               Email:         and stress reducing strategies under
                                                         one roof.
                                                         Tel: 0300 123 1801
                                                         Email: enquiries@maggiescentres.
               Little Princess Trust                     org
               The Little Princess Trust provides real
               hair wigs to children suffering from
               hair loss. They supply and fully fund
Other Useful

               the wigs from all over the world,

               and provide personal fitting/styling
               to ensure the wig is as close as
               possible to the original hair.
               Tel: 0845 094 4509

My New Hair                            Wig Suppliers and Alternative
My New Hair is a national              Headwear
independent charity providing
information, advice and support
for people experiencing medical        Claims to offer the largest selection
hair loss. They provide access to a    of bandanas in the UK. Although
responsibly trained national network   not specifically geared towards
of hairdressers.                       cancer sufferers, the products have
                                       a young and funky feel.
Helpline: 01798 812547
                                       Tel: 0800 678 5528

National Alopecia Areata
Foundation                             Black Care UK
NAAF support research to find a        Black Care UK is an internet based
cure or acceptable treatment for       company selling Afro Caribbean
alopecia, they support those with      beauty products. They offer a wide
the disease and educate the public     range of hair care products which
about alopecia areata.                 can be purchased online.                           Tel: 020 8279 0335/0337
Teenage Cancer Trust
The Teenage Cancer Trust provide
advice and support for young           Buff
people suffering from cancer.          ‘Buff’ headwear is a versatile strip of
Teenage Cancer Trust units exist in    breathable micro-fibre material that
hospitals around the country.          can be worn in 12 different ways.
Tel: 020 7612 0370                     It is not specifically designed for             cancer sufferers which will appeal
                                       to younger women (or the young at
Top 50 Blogs for Understanding &       Tel: 01707 852 244
Coping with Alopecia         
This article provides sources of
support and information for men,
                                                                                 Other Useful

women and children living with

The Hairdressing and Beauty           NHC Necessity Headwear
               Suppliers Association                 Collection
               The HBSA is a network of industry     At NHC the ranges of hats, hair
               professionals, and includes the       accessories, wraps, caps, turbans,
               Association of UK Wig Suppliers.      fringes and headscarves are
               The HBSA website contains a           uniquely designed for those
               list of all of the UK wig suppliers   suffering from medical hair loss.
               registered with them that you can     Tel: 01992 474104
               contact directly to find your most
                                                     Email: info@necessityheadwear.
               local agent.
               Tel: 01707 649 499

                                                     Suburban Turban
               Hats 4 Heads
                                                     Suburban Turban, founded by
               Hats 4 Heads aim to provide           milliner Nicky Zip, has a range
               stylish hats for all ages with one    of contemporary headwear
               main requirement: they must be        designed specifically for women
               comfortable for people who have       experiencing hair loss.
               lost their hair through illness.
                                                     Tel: 0845 003 2800
               Tel: 0161 941 6748
                                                     Email: nicky@suburbanturban.

               Headstrong from Breast Cancer
                                            is an online shop
               Free service offered by Breast        providing stylish hats and scarves
               Cancer Care for people with           for those experiencing hair loss
               cancer. They offer tips on hair       from cancer treatment.
               and scalp care, and help people
                                                     Tel: 07505 028099
               experiment with scarves, hats and
               hairpieces in a comfortable and       Email:
               private environment.        
               Helpline: 0808 800 600
               Tel: 0845 092 0800
Other Useful

               Email: info@breastcancercare.

Would you like more information or
to become a Friend of My New Hair

We would like to be able to keep you up-to-date with what is
happening in our charity, future fundraising and other planned
events. If you would like further information or to become a “Friend of
My New Hair” and are happy for us to contact you, please would you
kindly complete the information below and return this to us.

My New Hair
Roffey Park Institute
Forest Road
West Sussex
RH12 4TB

You can contact our helpdesk on 01798 812547
or email

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Address:_ ______________________________________________________





Please note that this information is for My New Hair use only. Should you not
wish to receive any further information you can unsubscribe by emailing or by calling our helpdesk 01798 812547
My New Hair is a national independent charity providing
   information, advice and support for people experiencing medical
     hair loss. They provide access to a responsibly trained national
       network of hairdressers. Registered Charity Number 1130815

          For further information please visit
          You can contact our helpdesk on
                        or call us on 01798 812547

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