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Hair Loss & Hair Care FAQs

Yes, in the majority of cases your hair will grow back. The damage to the cells caused by chemotherapy is not permanent, so once the chemotherapy leaves your system, you should start to have some hair regrowth.

hair loss after chemotherapy growing back

An example of how quickly your hair can recover from hair loss.

It usually takes around two months after treatment has finished to start seeing proper hair growth. There are products that can help stimulate hair growth, but you may find these contain chemicals that can irritate your scalp, so it's best to save your hair growth shampoo until you've finished treatment and your skin has started repairing itself.

There are many different types of chemotherapy, and people also receive different strengths of chemotherapy depending on their age, mode of treatment and outcomes. Although hair loss is a common side effect of chemo, not all people will experience it. And some may experience different kinds of hair loss (for example only in their eyebrows), while others may experience the full extent of hair loss.

Hair loss can be difficult to predict, so it is always best to prepare for the fact that you may lose your hair, rather than finding yourself 'caught out' if it does occur. For example, protecting your hair with strengthening hair loss treatments can help to prevent some hair falling out from breakage if your hair texture becomes dry or brittle.

Hair is meant to protect the skin. When the skin loses it, it can become more sensitive, especially if it has not been exposed to the elements before. Sensitive skin is at greater risk of becoming dry and irritated, especially if you're using harsh products. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can also cause the skin to become extra sensitive to products with perfumes and certain additives. 

Using natural or organic hair products that don't contain chemicals can help reduce irritation to the scalp. It's also preferable to use gentle, hydrating hair products, soaps and lotions designed for sensitive scalp.

Though hair loss can be caused by many treatments for cancer, hair loss in chemotherapy is down to the chemo drugs doing exactly what they're designed to do - targeting and destroying cells that are multiplying rapidly. Since most cancers are made up of rapidly renewing cells, this is a great way for the drug to target unhealthy tissue. However, there are certain parts of your body which also renew at a rapid rate, and your hair and fingernails are among them. This is why during most treatments for cancer, hair loss is a common side effect.

If you're going through chemotherapy, the likelihood is that you will experience some degree of hair loss. However, there are some hair loss solutions that can help to minimise this. Cooling caps for chemo are one way to prevent hair loss during cancer treatment, and are available in some chemotherapy clinics and hospitals. The cooling caps work by keeping your head at a very cold temperature, reducing the circulation to your scalp. This prevents the full dose of chemotherapy drugs from reaching your scalp, minimising the damage to the hair follicles. With most cooling caps, you will still experience some hair loss and thinning, but this may be less noticeable than you expect.

cancer hair loss cooling cap

A typical cooling cap designed for wear during chemotherapy sessions.

If your hair is falling out in specific areas or patches, there are a few different products for thinning hair available to you. One way to cover up localised hair thinning is using hair building fibers. These microscopic fibers are available in a range of natural hair colours that cling to your remaining hair, giving the impression of denser hair coverage and filling in patches of thinning hair. 

Another option to hide thinning hair is to use a specialist hair loss treatment system, which can help to create the illusion of thicker hair by coating each individual hair with a protective layer. This layer has the double effect of reducing hair loss through breakage, and making hair look denser and more healthy.


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