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There are several practical ways to cope with hair loss or if your hair becomes thin, dry or brittle and more difficult to manage. They don’t make the problem disappear, but can make life a bit easier for you during this difficult time.
Some hospitals have staff who can show you how to wear different types of headwear| and give you ideas and tips|. You can ask your nurses whether there is anyone who can do this for you. You could also ask a professional hairdresser for advice.
Some hospitals run hair and beauty programmes for people affected by cancer. Your nurses should be able to tell you if your hospital has such a programme, or if not, whether there is one at another nearby hospital. Most of these programmes are for women, but Look Good...Feel Better USA| has information for men affected by cancer, which includes practical tips on coping with hair loss.
You can also find information about Macmillan's partnership with TONI&GUY| salons across the UK to provide hair care information for those affected by cancer.
You could think about having your hair cut short before your treatment starts. If your hair is shorter, it will feel like you are losing less hair when it does fall out. If you’re used to long hair, you may find it easier to have it cut in stages to give you time to adjust to a new length. Some people prefer to shave their heads completely before they start losing their hair. This can give a sense of control over what is going to happen and you may prefer to do this, rather than wait for your hair to fall out.
Some people may not want to cut their hair for cultural or religious reasons, and may find alternative headwear helpful.
If your hair is dry or brittle during or after cancer treatment:
If your hair falls out, it’s important to take care of the skin on your head and other places where you had hair, as it may be more sensitive than skin elsewhere.
BootsWebMD is working with Macmillan to provide access to even more high-quality information to people affected by cancer. To learn more about hair loss|, visit BootsWebMD.com.
Content last reviewed: 1 July 2012
Next planned review: 2014
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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