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Preparing for Chemotherapy-Induced Hair Loss

Preparing Yourself to Lose Your Hair


Updated August 09, 2010

If your doctor has prescribed a chemotherapy drug that is known to cause hair loss, prepare yourself for hair loss before treatment begins. Early preparation can help you cope when you hair begins to thin and fall out.

How to Prepare for Hair Loss Before Chemotherapy

  • Buy a wig. Purchasing a wig or hairpiece before hair loss is ideal because it allows you to choose a wig that matches your hair color best, and you will have it on hand right when hair loss starts. You may want to consider buying at least two wigs, so one can be worn while another is being washed or styled.

  • Cut hair short. Many men and women opt to cut hair short or shave their heads before hair starts to fall out. It is much less shocking to have short clumps of hair fall out in the shower or in your hands than a handful of long strands. Plus, hair often comes out in uneven patches, and short hair style can help temporarily mask that.

  • Go hat shopping. Even if you buy a wig, you will need some type of head covering for when you are not wearing a wig, especially in cold weather. Your scalp may be sensitive when not covered, not to mention cold. Scarves and hats also provide excellent protection from the sun and wind.

  • See a cosmetologist. Because chemotherapy can cause hair loss all over the body, some people consult with a cosmetologist about what to do when eyebrows and eyelashes are lost. A cosmetologist can teach you how to draw in eyebrows with makeup and use false eyelashes.

  • Stock up on sunscreen. If you venture outdoors without covering your head and you hair has fallen out, you will need to apply sunscreen to prevent sunburn. An already-sensitive scalp combined with a sunburn can be extremely uncomfortable.

If you feel especially anxious about losing your hair during chemotherapy, talk to your doctor. He may be able to recommend a chemotherapy support group, where you can discuss your concerns with others who are going through chemotherapy.


"Hair Loss." Treatment Topics and Resources. American Cancer Society. Accessed November 09, 2008.

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