Hair loss is difficult to predict for chemotherapy patients. Even when taking the same drugs, different women may or may not lose their hair. In addition to the hair on their heads, women may lose eyebrow, eyelash, and facial, pubic, underarm and leg hair. If hair loss does occur, it most often begins within two weeks after the first chemotherapy infusion. Click the link below and download an in depth guide to losing your hair due to chemotherapy treatments.
Alopecia and Hair Loss
Hair is a crowning glory and an important part of a woman’s identity but for more than 5 million people in the United States who suffer from hair loss, called alopecia. Hairloss can have a profound negative impact on their self image. Causes of hair loss and thinning hair may include illness, skin disorders, chemicals, medications, as well as stress, hormone deficiency, poor diet or heriditary traits. Alopecia occurs in females of all ages, but young persons are often most affected.
There most common forms of alopecia found in women are:
Andogenetic Alopecia is most commonly called male or female pattern baldness and is said to be caused by a derivative of the male hormone testosterone called DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) and can be sometimes by treated with prescription medicine or blood testing.
Telogen Effluvium is caused when your body goes through something traumatic like extreme stress, major surgery, or child birth and usually temporary.
Anagen Effluvium is caused when something like Chemotherapy interrupts the hair follicles production and is usually temporary.
Alopecia Areata is the most common variation of alopecia and usually starts with one or more small, round, smooth, bald patches.
Alopecia Totalis is total loss of hair on the scalp.
Alopecia Universalis is the rarest from of alopecia and is the loss of hair over the entire scalp and body.
Alopecia is a mysterious illness. Many alopecia sufferers never know why they lose their hair or why it grows back. In all forms of alopecia, the hair follicles remain alive and are ready to resume normal hair production. Hair loss can be temporary or permanent. In some cases, hair regrowth may occur even without treatment and even after many years. In some rare cases, it culd even occur seasonally.
Women who suffer hair loss experience a drastic change to their appearance, which can be traumatic for them and their way of life.
If you suffer from alopecia, you are not alone. This guide will answer questions about coping with alopecia and hair loss.
Common Reactions to Alopecia
Psychological reactions to alopecia can include a variety of feelings and frustrations for those who suffer from the disease, as well as for family members. After discovering hair loss, it’s not uncommon for women to feel a sense of loss and grief. They may become withdrawn and isolate themselves for fear that others may find out they have a hairloss problem. They may be angry and embarrassed about their situation, and sadness and depression may set in. It is important to know that you are not alone and their are many professionals and wonderful web forums available to discuss and research your concerns and issues.
Many females experience extreme psychological reactions to the loss of their hair. If alopecia has caused a dramatic change in your lifestyle – if you don’t participate in activities that used to bring you joy, if you miss work or school frequently, or if you can’t reach out to those who are close to you you may need to consider these forums to see that women everywhere are finding new and easy ways to regain their confidence and thier lives. One of our personal favorites is heralopecia.com.
Coping With Hair Loss
If you have alopecia, it's possible that your body's chemical makeup is imbalanced or has a vitamin, mineral or nutritional deficiency. By simply adding the missing vitamins and minerals through supplements, your hair may grow back.
You can get a complete picture of your health history and learn what is stored inside your body by having your hair analyzed. Visit www.hairanalysistest.com to find out how you can test your hair in the comfort of your own home with a hair analysis test kit (cost is under $200).
If you are experiencing hair loss on the top or back of your head, but still have your hairline, you are a perfect candidate for a hairpieceor topper that can be blended into your remaining hair. Patients with alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis will need a wig or a full hairpiece. A wide variety of wigs and wig products are available, but before making a purchase, it’s important to educate yourself. Advertisements are created to sell expensive products and don’t always tell the truth, so it’s important to know what you are looking for.
Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Wig or Hairpiece
Before choosing a wig or hairpiece, answer the following questions about your lifestyle:
How many hours each day will you need your hairpiece or topper?
Do you exercise, work out, walk or run?
Is your head large, average or small?
What kind of climate do you live in?
Will you be around young children?
The facts are:
Human hair wigs look more natural, but humidity affects them – they can go limp or curl up just like your own hair. You have to be ready to spend time styling your wig.
Synthetic wigs are cheaper,don’t react to humidity, hold their style, but tend to lose their luster if not properly cared for and can get very hot in the summer. They are made of plastic fibers after all.
How to Choose a Wig or Hairpiece
Choosing a wig or hairpiece can be a daunting task. This guide will help you find the right solution to your particular hair loss.
If you can handle it, visit wig shops and try on as many wigs as possible, but do not make a purchase until you shop around. Wigs can be purchased through a wig shop or off the Internet, or they can be custom built by a wigmaker. Wig shops and online wig stores usually purchase wigs from the same manufacturers, and chances are you may find a better deal online. If you find a wig at a shop then find out if that shop can do alterations, hair cutting, or add lace fronts. beware of the wig seller who doesn't understand how to cut wigs or color them. It is a well know fact that a wig made for the masses has anywhere from 20 - 50% more hair in it then you are used to. It will be a shock when first putting a new hairpiece or wig since it takes very little time to get "used to" the feeling and look of you hair if it's thinning. It can be a mindblowing what a average amount of hair will look like on your head if you are not ready mentally.
Wigs come in three catagories:
Synthetic wigs are made of synthetic fibers, are the least expensive of all wig types and need little attention and care. Synthetic wigs are prestyled and will keep their styles after washingif left to dry correctly. They are easy to care for and come in a wide choice of colors. Synthetic wigs are not intended to be worn on totally bald heads without a wigcap. Left unprotected, the cap may irritate the scalp and become hot and itchy and sore. They usually come in one size with adjustable straps. Synthetic wig hair is very thick and dense and can lose its luster after awhile. They cannot be colored or permed, so styling options are limited. Synthetic wigs may not fit properly as they are made for one size fits all; if the head is large, it can fit tightly and cause headaches; if the head is small, the wig can fall off or move around because of a loose fit. Look for wig brands that sell petite sizes if you find your wigs are too big. Synthetic wigs can be purchased in wig shops or online.
Human hair wigs are made of either Chinese, Indian, Northern or Southern Russian, Mondolvian, or Virgin/unprocessed hair to name a few. Human hair wigs are usually more expensive than synthetic wigs, but you pay the price for a more natural and versatile wig. They usually look and feel more believable to clients and can last longer than synthetic wigs if properly cared for. You can curl, color and perm human hair and add highlights and lowlights. Human hair is more breathable and is usually less dense, but not always. It is usually the case that the more you spend on your human hair wig the better it will be constructed and the finer the hair quality. Some online human hair wigs are comparable in price to custom made wigs due to the origin of the hair. Human hair must be styled after every wash, is soft and natural to the touch, and looks more natural in sunlight and under certain artificial lights. These wigs can also be purchased in wig shops or online.
Custom made wigs and Wigmakers caps are designed specifically for comfort and are constructed out of the finest materials including silks and french lace. Custom made wigs are created by wigmakers, who are extremely knowledgeable about wig construction and who take exact measurements of the head and scalp so that the cap fits perfectly. Custom wigs are designed to adhere with either natural adhesive or double stick tape and are not as dense as synthetic or human hair wigs. They density of these wigs can be decided in the design process. As can the side or center part, crown swirl and even the babay fine hairs surrounding the face. They can be custom matched to base color, lowlights or/and highlights. Custom wigs sometimes are comparable in price to online human hair wigs and can be purchased through a custom wigmaker.
Most people assume that human hair wigs are better than synthetic wigs, but your best choice will depend on what you expect from your wig, how you are going to wear it and how much time you can devote to caring for it.
You may be wearing your wig every day, so treat it kindly. Wigs can get pricey, but remember that purchasing a good wig will be worth every penny. You and your comfort are worth it!