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Which Chemo Drugs Cause Hair Loss

Tips For Hair Loss Or Thinning

Hair loss from chemotherapy: what is it? who gets it? how do we treat it?
  • Use gentle hair products such as baby shampoos.
  • Don’t use perms or hair colours on thinning hair colours may not take well and perms can damage the hair.
  • Use a soft baby brush and comb thinning hair gently.
  • Avoid using hair dryers, curling tongs, hair straighteners and curlers on thinning hair and pat your hair dry after washing.
  • If your scalp flakes or itches this means it is dry use oil or moisturiser, not dandruff shampoo.
  • Protect your scalp by covering your head in the sun.

What Medications Can Cause Hair Loss 46 Known Drugs

May 26, 2021

Losing your hair or dealing with baldness can be incredibly frustrating.

As you age, it’s also not altogether unexpected: a majority of men will deal with hair loss sometime in their life due to natural causes, but it can be delayed — and hair restored — with proper hair loss treatment.

But medications for other conditions can also cause hair loss, and certain drugs can contribute not only to hair loss but excessive hair growth and changes in color and texture as well.

There’s good news though, as these changes in your hair are typically reversible once you stop taking the drug thats causing them. Here’s what you should know about medications and hair loss.

What Causes Hair Loss In Men 14 Common Causes

When it comes to men losing their hair, its a darn common experience.

Nearly 40% of guys in their 30s will experience some amount of hereditary hair loss, with over 50% experiencing it by the time they turn 50. Hair loss can start as early as puberty, and an estimated 50 million American men experience male pattern baldness, known scientifically as androgenic alopecia.

While genes play the largest role, hormones, diet, medications, and a few other causes can also be to blame for hair loss in men.

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When Does Hair Grow Back After Chemotherapy

How long it takes for the hair on your head to grow back after chemotherapy varies a lot from person to person. Heres a typical timetable for hair regrowth on the head:

  • 34 weeks after chemotherapy ends: soft fuzz
  • 1 month to 6 weeks after: real hair starts to grow
  • 23 months after: about an inch of hair
  • 36 months: about 23 inches of hair
  • 12 months: 46 inches of hair

The hair on your head may be a different color, texture, or volume when it grows back. If you were dyeing or chemically treating your hair before you started chemotherapy, you might be surprised to see what your natural hair looks like when it grows back.

In many cases, hair eventually returns to the way it used to be after the effect of chemotherapy on the hair follicle wears off. But some people have incomplete hair regrowth. And sometimes permanent baldness and loss of eyebrows and eyelashes can occur, particularly in people who received Taxotere.

How To Prevent And Manage Hair Loss

How Long After Chemo Will Hair Grow Back : How To Style Hair During ...

If youre receiving treatment for breast cancer that can cause hair loss, its important to know you have options. Below, you can learn about ways to prevent and manage hair loss as a side effect of breast cancer treatments.

If chemotherapy medicines that will cause hair loss are part of your breast cancer treatment plan, there are steps you can take to prepare, possibly lessen hair loss, and protect your hair as it grows back. Learn more about Managing Hair Loss From Chemotherapy, including tips for hair loss on your head, eyebrows, and eyelashes.

Cold caps and scalp cooling systems are tightly fitting hat-like devices filled with a cold gel or liquid coolant. Cold caps and scalp cooling systems have helped many people keep some or quite a bit of their hair during chemotherapy. Learn more about Cold Caps and Scalp Cooling Systems

Many people find that wearing a wig is a good solution for them if they experience hair loss from breast cancer treatment. A wig can provide a sense of normalcy, consistency, and privacy during cancer treatment. Experimenting with different wig styles and colors can also be quite fun! Not sure if a wig is right for you or where to begin looking for one? Read more about wigs to learn about where to buy a wig or get one for free, how to choose one that suits you, how to care for a wig, and more.

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Why Will I Lose My Hair During Cancer Treatment

Cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, attack fast-growing cancer cells. These treatments can also affect normal cells that grow fast, such as hair cells.

Chemotherapy can cause hair loss on your scalp, pubic area, arms, legs, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Radiation therapy to your head often causes hair loss on your scalp. Sometimes, depending on the dose of radiation to your head, your hair may grow back differently from how it looked before, or it may not grow back at all.

Hair Loss After Chemotherapy: 10 Things To Know

If you need chemotherapy as a part of your cancer treatment, you might have some concerns about losing your hair. But does every chemotherapy drug cause hair loss? And is there anything you can do to prevent this possible side effect?

We talked to Deepti Chopra, M.B.B.S., a body image specialist in our Psychiatric Oncology Center. Heres what she wants patients to know.

What are the most common causes of hair loss during cancer treatment?

Most hair loss during cancer treatment is caused by chemotherapy. Thats because chemo targets rapidly growing cells, which damages hair follicles and makes the hair fall out. But radiation therapy can sometimes cause hair loss, too, when its used to treat head and neck cancers. It depends on the area thats receiving radiation.

Do all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss?

No. Not all chemotherapy drugs have hair loss as a possible side effect. Check with your care team to find out if its a potential side effect for the drugs youll be taking.

Will every patient who receives chemotherapy lose their hair?

No. Everyone has a different response. Some people might lose all of their body hair, while others experience only mild thinning.

How soon does hair loss usually appear after cancer treatment begins?

It generally becomes noticeable after about three weeks. Head hair usually goes first, followed by hair from other areas of the body. But again, everyone responds differently, so it could be sooner or later, depending on the individual.

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The Look Good Feel Better Program

The Look Good Feel Better program is designed to help people cope with the effects that cancer treatment can have on their appearance. During weekly sessions, makeup artists teach makeup techniques, skin and nail care, and hair styling and head-covering options. To register for a class, call Look Good Feel Better at 800-395-LOOK or visit

Men can find information at

A Short Haircut Might Make A Difference

Cancer survivor says chemo drug caused permanent hair loss

Shorter hair often looks fuller than longer hair. As a result, hair loss might be less noticeable if you have a short hairstyle. If you typically wear your hair long, consider cutting it before you begin chemotherapy.

After you start chemo, hair loss might make your scalp feel itchy, irritated, or sensitive. Shaving your head can help ease the discomfort. Many people also prefer the look of a cleanly shaved head to partial hair loss.

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When Hair Is Falling Out:

  • Consider getting a shorter hair cut. Shorter hair is easier to manage under a wig. A shorter style will make your hair look thicker and fuller because it does not lay as flat against the head. It may also make your hair loss less upsetting.
  • Some people choose to shave their head once hair starts falling out. If so, do not use a razor. A razor may cause nicks and cuts, which may lead to infection.
  • Wear a hair net, soft cap or turban around your head at night to collect any loose hair.
  • Be aware that during the period of time you lose hair, the scalp may be tender or sensitive. Some people tell of having a tingling feeling of the scalp during hair loss.
  • If the eyebrows start to thin, try using a clear or colored brow gel. These can be found at any discount or department store. A brow pencil can also be used to fill in gaps. Another option is to use eyeglasses with heavy colored frames. You can find these with or without a prescription.

How Is Hair Loss Diagnosed

In some cases, the cause of hair loss is obvious for example, if youre losing hair while going through chemotherapy. Other times, your healthcare provider will need to do some detective work to figure out whats causing your hair loss.

To determine the correct diagnosis, your provider may:

  • Ask about your family history, including if any relatives experienced hair loss and at what age.
  • Look at your medical history.
  • Order blood tests to measure thyroid function and iron levels.
  • Examine your scalp for signs of infection.
  • Take a scalp biopsy to check for skin disease.

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Coping With Hair Loss When You Have Cancer

Despite the difficulty facing hair loss when you have cancer, some things can help you cope with the loss of your natural hair. Try to remember some of the following:

Dont assume you will experience permanent hair loss.

Some cancer patients take comfort in the fact that hair loss is usually temporary, and they can begin to see new hair growth soon after the end of their treatment cycle.

Dont assume your hair loss will be total.

Others find relief when they realize they might not experience complete hair loss. These patients might be very happy to have thin hair instead of no hair.

Not all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss.

Speak to your doctor or another member of your health care team about what to expect regarding hair loss. The more you know, the more prepared you can be. Ask if you will lose all your hair or some of your hair. Find out how soon after you start treatment you can expect to begin losing your hair.

There might be ways to reduce the trauma of hair loss.

Sometimes, feeling like you have control can help you cope with hair loss. For example, some people take steps to minimize the anxiety of hair loss by cutting their hair short before starting treatment.

Others make sure they stock up on gentle hair products like a soft baby brush, wide-toothed comb, and mild shampoo so they can protect their remaining hair.

Inquire about methods of minimizing hair loss.

Consider head coverings.

Get support.

Which Chemotherapy Drugs Cause Hair Loss

What Causes Chemotherapy Hair Loss? (with pictures)

Your medical team will speak to you about your risk of hair loss before you begin treatment.

Lymphoma chemotherapy drugs that usually cause hair loss include:

  • conditioning chemotherapy .

Hair loss is more common with intravenous chemotherapy. Whether or not you lose your hair also depends on the dose of your chemotherapy and how often you have it.

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How To Tackle Hair Loss Caused By Chemotherapy

Although most of the drugs used in the treatment of cancer can cause hair loss, some of them do not. The pattern of hair loss differs from drug to drug. While some will cause a rapid loss of hair, others might start off with the thinning of hair.

It is also important to talk to your doctor so they can the side effects can be explained before going into the therapy. It is a good idea to let your family know what to expect, especially the young ones.

You can choose a scarf or a wig to wear after the loss of hair occurs. The loss of hair by chemotherapy is temporary. The hair that grows after the therapy might also be of a different shade from the original. This is also temporary.

However, you could reduce the impact of chemotherapy drugs on your hair follicles using a cooling cap.

Are All Cancer Patients Able To Access Financial Help With The Costs Of A Wig

Depending on where you live and which health care provider is treating you will usually determine what type of financial support is available for a wig. For example if you are being treated in a NHS hospital you will be charged a prescription charge unless you qualify for help with charges.

If you are being treated privately you may find that your private health insurance company will contribute towards the cost of a wig. Additionally there are some charities and organisations such as Wig Bank who provide low cost wigs.

Remember that you will still need to buy wig care items and accessories such as a wig stand and shampoo and conditioner suitable for your wig.

Read our in-depth section about Visiting your local NHS wig supplier.

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Do All Chemotherapies Cause Hair Loss

Many chemotherapy drugs do not affect your hair. Others cause mild hair thinning or total hair loss. Your care team can tell you if you will lose any hair. Scalp hair is the most often affected. Loss of eyelashes, eyebrows, facial hair, pubic hair, and body hair can also happen. How much hair you lose depends on the chemotherapy drug and dose, how it is given, and other treatments.

Caring For Your Hair And Head

Local breast cancer survivor says chemotherapy drug caused permanent hair loss

Here are some ways you can care for your hair and head while youre experiencing hair loss:

  • Wash and condition your hair every 2 to 4 days. Use baby shampoo or other mild shampoo . You should also use a cream rinse or hair conditioner.
  • Use shampoos and conditioners that have sunscreen to prevent sun damage to your scalp.
  • Always rinse your hair well and pat it dry with a soft towel.
  • Wash your hair after swimming in a pool.
  • Dont expose your scalp to the sun.
  • Keep your head covered in the summer.
  • In the winter, cover your head with a hat, scarf, turban, or wig to keep it warm. This can also help to catch falling hair.
  • Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase. These are smoother than other fabrics and can decrease hair tangles.
  • Brush or comb your hair gently with a soft-bristle brush or comb. Start brushing or combing your hair at the ends and gently work your way up to your scalp. You can also comb through your hair with your fingers. Wet your fingers with water first.
  • If your hair is long, you may want to have it cut short before you begin treatment.
  • Tell your hairdresser that youre receiving chemotherapy. They may be able to recommend gentle hair products.
  • Try using Bumble and bumble Hair Powder to cover bald spots and thinning areas of your hair. You can buy it at Sephora® or online from various beauty supply websites.

Dont use the following on your hair during treatment because they can be too harsh or pull on your hair:

  • Rubber bathing or swimming caps
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    Conventional Hair Loss Treatment

    There are several options when it comes to conventional treatment of hair loss, all of which come with significant side effects unless you opt for a wig or hair piece. The most common conventional hair loss remedies include topical minoxidil, oral finasteride, topical or oral hormones and steroids, hair transplants, and hair restoration surgery.

    An example of very commonly used and conventional topical treatment is minoxidil. One of the most well-known versions is Rogaine. Conventional hair growth products like Rogaine are available without a prescription and can be used by both men and women. Finasteride is an oral medication for hair loss in men only and requires a prescription. Both minoxidil and finasteride do not get to the root of hair loss and only work to regrow hair as long as you use these medications. Once you stop using them, the hair growth, if any, will stop.

    Surgery is another conventional option thats more costly and invasive. First there is hair transplantation surgery, which takes hair from another area of the scalp where hair is growing well and moves it to a balding or thinning area. This surgery is most commonly performed for male pattern baldness. Only around 5 percent of female hair loss sufferers are said to be good candidates for hair transplant surgery. This is due to the fact that unlike men who tend to lose hair in concentrated areas, women typically experience hair loss all over their scalps.

    Precautions Regarding Hair Loss Remedies

    Is It Possible To Prevent Hair Loss

    Scientists have tested different drugs to see if they could prevent hair loss in people who are treated for cancer. So far, there are no treatments approved for use in the UK to prevent hair loss.

    You might have heard of something called cold capping or scalp cooling, where you wear a hat filled with a cold gel or liquid while you have your chemotherapy. Cold capping reduces the flow of blood carrying chemotherapy to your hair. Although it can reduce hair loss, it is not recommended for people with lymphoma or other cancers affecting blood cells. This is because you could have lymphoma cells in the blood vessels of your scalp. If you wear a cold cap, the cells are more likely to survive chemotherapy, making the treatment less effective.

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