Do You Lose Your Hair With Radiation?

What is Radiation?

Radiation is often used in cancer treatment to target cancer in a specific area to shrink or kill the cells. This typically happens before a cancer removal surgery and can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy.

When receiving radiation, a beam of high energy waves is pointed directly at the area where the cancer is prevalent. This targeted approach aims to kill cancer cells without killing too many of the surrounding healthy cells.


Hair Loss and Other Radiation Side Effects

Some people will experience side effects with radiation treatment. The side effects can range from mild to severe and will differ from person to person. Immediate side effects can include nausea and skin irritation. Long term side effects that can cause issues with major organs and body systems are also possible. The side effects that people experience will depend largely on where radiation is received.

Skin irritation in the area where you receive radiation treatment can leave your skin red, tender or itchy, much like a sunburn. You can also experience hair loss in the area where this occurs. For example, if you are receiving radiation treatment near your underarm, you may experience a loss of hair in that area.

We recommend our Alra Therapy lotion to help soothe sensitive skin during treatments. This nourishing cream was developed by a chemist for his wife when she was undergoing radiation treatments. He also created an aluminum free deodorant that can safely be worn during treatments.

People receiving radiation on the brain or scalp can often lose the hair on their head. This hair loss will often be sudden and can come out in large clumps soon after radiation treatment begins. In order to prepare for this, many people who will be receiving radiation in this area will cut their hair short before beginning radiation.


Coping with Radiation and Hair Loss

Because the skin will be sensitive from the radiation treatment, it is important to protect yourself from the sun's damaging rays by wearing sunscreen. A soft hat with built in SPF is a great way to keep your face and scalp covered, protected and comfortable. Our All Cotton Snuggle Beanie, Soft All Cotton Beret and our Rosette Beanie all feature SPF 50 built right into the fabric and are soft enough to be worn on sensitive scalps.

Wearing a large sun hat is also a great way to provide skin protection when undergoing radiation. If your scalp is too sensitive for the harsher materials that sun hats are often made of, wearing a wig cap underneath will create a comfortable barrier between the hat and your scalp while also adding another layer of protection. Alternately, we recommend adding our Lace Hat Liner in soft cotton or bamboo underneath your favorite sun hat.

No matter what you decide to wear to protect your scalp when experiencing hair loss due to radiation, we offer a large selection of headwear items to choose from.


Related Articles:

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