A lot of people have the misconception that chemotherapy drugs are only reserved for cancer patients. This is not true. Chemotherapy drugs can be given to people for a number of different purposes. It does not necessarily have to be for killing cancerous cells and impeding the growth of cancer in the body. One of the most important functions of chemotherapy drugs is to treat autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Chemotherapy and the Inevitability of Hair Loss
You are probably aware of the fact that chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss in patients. Cancer victims are often portrayed as individuals who have gone completely bald. Some cancer victims can actually lose all the hair in their body, including the eyelashes and the eyebrows. This puts a lot of people under the impression that cancer triggers the complete loss of body and scalp hair. Once again, this is a faulty assumption. It is the use of chemotherapy medications prescribed for cancer that leads to hair loss in the patients. In fact, it is virtually impossible for anyone to take chemotherapy drugs and not suffer from mild hair at the least. If you experience mild hair loss after a few rounds of chemotherapy, then you could consider yourself to be extremely luck. This is because many people lose all the hair in the body after taking chemotherapy.
How Chemotherapy Causes Hair Loss
You could imagine how this loss of hair affects the individual. While it takes several years for a person suffering from pattern baldness to completely shed his or her beautiful locks, it could take a person a matter of few weeks or months to go bald when under the effect of chemotherapy. That is how devastating this drug can be for your hair. Chemotherapy drugs are designed to kill fast growing cells in the body. Cancerous calls are fast growing, which is why they are vulnerable to being attacked by chemotherapy drugs. As good as the drugs sound, they are unable to differentiate between hair cells and cancerous cells since both of them grow at a very rapid rate. As a result of that, the hair follicles are attacked by the chemotherapy drugs. This eventually leads to the loss of hair all across the scalp and the body.
A Genuine Need to Prevent Chemotherapy-Induced Hair Loss
As mentioned before, the detrimental effects of chemotherapy can completely change a person’s life. Living with cancer or any other autoimmune disease is quite horrendous in itself. When you add the extra burden and trauma of hair loss, it simply shrinks a person’s enthusiasm towards life and crushes his or her fighting spirit. For this reason, you will come across a lot of victims of cancer and autoimmune disorders who are desperately looking for a way to prevent chemotherapy from causing hair loss. Some people might argue that the patients should be grateful that the chemotherapy is working away to eliminate the potentially fatal disease in their bodies. However, unless you are in the shoes of a person who has experienced complete loss of hair due to chemotherapy, you will never be able to understand the trials and tribulation that the person has gone through. Hair loss can turn a person’s world upside down. Hence, there is definitely a genuine need to prevent chemotherapy-induced hair loss.
There aren’t too many ways of preventing chemotherapy-induced hair loss. As a matter of fact, there is only one prevention method that is reliable enough to be discussed here. Even then, this method has shown to be effective in only some cases, and does not work for all. Scalp cooling is the name of this prevention method for chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Scalp cooling can be carried out by placing ice packs or an ice cap on the scalp. The cooling is done while the chemotherapy treatment carries on. The science behind scalp cooling is quite simple. You undergo scalp cooling in an attempt to constrict the vessels near your scalp region. By doing this, you are significantly lowering the damage that is caused by chemotherapy. The procedure has a wide range of success rates. In simple terms, the procedure does not always work. There is a 50-50 chance at best of the scalp cooling actually working for you when you undergo chemotherapy. It is not that the working mechanism of this hair loss prevention technique is flawed. It is just that there is no concrete scientific evidence to validate its effects on hair loss.
What Else can be Done?
There are other preventive measures that you can take to give yourself a good chance of coming out of chemotherapy without losing all of your hair. For starters, you can eat healthy to stay healthy. Take lots of vitamins and stock up on the proteins. Supply your hair with all the nutrients it needs to grow fast, thick and strong. You are advised to use organic shampoo that is enriched with Aloe Vera and essential oils. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest the drinking green tea can improve your chances of retaining your hair during chemotherapy. The key is to not lose hope and fight on. Chemotherapy-induced hair loss is not permanent. Once the treatment is concluded successfully, you can grow back your hair without fail.