Hair loss (alopecia) due to chemotherapy can be a stressful, heart wrenching experience. Many people do not realize how much their image is tied to their hair, until they face the loss of hair that can occur with chemotherapy. Thankfully, if you wish to cover your head until your own (often more delightful) head of hair grows back, there are many options available today.
The best time to shop for head covers is before you start to lose your hair. Check with your cancer center to see what resources are available in your area. Many online companies offer wigs and caps as well. The American Cancer Society offers a non-profit service for women called Tender Loving Care, that offers a catalog featuring a variety of products.
Wigs and HairpiecesSeveral types of wigs and hairpieces are available depending upon your budget and individual preference. Options include:
- Real hair - Wigs made from real hair can look very natural, but are pricier and more difficult to care for. Real hair can be managed much as your own hair, and allows for changes in style such as curling and even coloring.
- Synthetic hair – Synthetic hair is less expensive and is preferred by many, especially those who wish to have a few wigs on hand.
It is often recommended that you choose a wig in a similar or slightly lighter color than you are accustomed to, but this is also a time when you can express yourself in a unique way. Keep in mind that many insurance companies cover a portion of this expense with a written prescription. Have your oncologist write out a prescription for a “hair prosthesis” rather than a wig.
Caps, Scarves, and TurbansCaps, scarves, and turbans are becoming more popular as a head covering during chemotherapy. A wide variety of products are available, and they are considerably less expensive than most wigs. These can be more comfortable, especially in the summer and warmer climates, and allow for more diversity day to day.
Bald is BeautifulSome people prefer to go au natural, and skip head covers altogether. This can be a very comfortable option, especially in warm weather. If you go this route, make sure to protect your head from the sun and cold weather.
American Cancer Society. Coping with Physical and Emotional Changes. Hair Loss. 04/07/08. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/MBC/content/MBC_2_3X_Hair_Loss.asp