This year alone there will be 230,480 new cases of breast cancer. 39,520 women will not see 2017. For our loving, loyal client’s, hair loss can be a devastating side effect of chemotherapy. Hair and skin are dramatically affected by chemotherapy, leading to frustration and loss of dignity. But they are not alone…
Every year scores of businesses and individuals alike unite during the month of October to generate awareness, share love and show support for the ones who have fought and the ones we have lost to breast cancer. If your salon doesn’t usually plan a yearly charity initiative, now is the time to start thinking about it!
The side effects of chemotherapy range from thinning to total baldness and depend mostly on the type and dosage of chemo your client receives. The good news is that hair loss is temporary for most people, but it's one of the side effects that women fear most. Great care and empathy must be shown to these clients and thankfully there are a number of options you can offer them.
HOW CHEMOTHERAPY AFFECTS HAIR
Hair loss occurs because chemotherapy targets all rapidly dividing cells—healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Hair follicles, the structures in the skin filled with tiny blood vessels that make hair, are some of the fastest-growing cells in the body. For a healthy person, our cells divide every 23 to 72 hours. But as the chemo does its work against cancer cells, it also destroys hair cells.
Within a few weeks of starting chemo, your clients may lose some or all of their hair. Hair loss is one of the most emotionally devastating side effects of chemotherapy. For women in particular, so much of your individual identity and personality is reflected in your hair. Hair being a physical representation of your confidence and sense of self. Losing it can be unexpected and truly upsetting to your clients.
THE ROAD TO RECOVERY
Hair may start to grow back during chemotherapy or after treatment has ended, but how long it takes to grow back varies from person to person.
Many people report seeing hair growth 4 to 6 weeks after the end of their treatments, but often when hair does grow back, it may be a different texture or possibly a different color than it was before treatment. For example, if they had straight hair it could grow back in a curly pattern. Some people also find their hair grows in grey and in a few months, returns to their original natural color. There are a few key rules you need to share with your clients and reinforce, as their doctor may advise them as well:
While hair begins to regrow, they need to use a gentle & mild shampoo or conditioner that is free of harsh sulfates, such as our INSPIRE Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner.
For the first six months’ post chemotherapy, your client will want to hold off on chemical processes like perms or haircolor because their hair is still fragile and their scalp will be very sensitive.
Using a hairdryer or thermal styling tools such as straightening irons may also cause damage and need to be avoided.
THE OPTIONS…FROM WIGS TO CLIP-INS!
Clients who have undergone chemotherapy, suffer from thinning hair or have alopecia require great care and attention as their hair and scalp is more delicate and fragile. Additionally, they need great empathy…recognizing that hair loss is intensely personal. Because of how sensitive the issue is, consider doing the consultation and application in privacy in a separate room from the main salon or in off-hours. The consultation is exceptionally important as it will determine the options you CAN present to the client that can change as their natural hair returns.
WIGS: Ideal for clients who have had 80% to 100% loss of hair, most likely during the initial phases of chemotherapy. For this client, our Full Lace Wigs offer the maximum in comfort as they are fully adjustable. Best of all because they are made with 100% human Indian Remy hair, the quality of the hair is excellent, hand-knotted on a comfortable lace cap. They can be parted in any direction and styled in any way.
FUSION: Once the client has at least 2 inches of healthy, strong hair, you can install keratin I-tip extensions using a cold fusion method using micro rings. It won’t damage the client’s fragile hair when it is applied or when it is taken care because there are no waxes, glues or harsh resins in the bond and that in turn will protect the integrity of their own hair.
TAPE-INS: Once a client has at a minimum at least 3 inches of healthy, strong hair, they can transition to tape-in extensions to restore both fullness and density to their hair.
After application cutting, blending and styling the extensions to give the client the most natural look and give them the length they want or had prior to treatment is a key step. Does the client need a bang or fringe? What is the length the client wants or had?
Review with the client at the conclusion of the application the recommended schedule of appointments to maintain their extensions and review what they need to do at home to care for them.
We have the ability every day to make a difference in someone’s life. Be there…be knowledgeable. Give them hope. Give them love.