Hair loss from chemotherapy
Picture of Jennifer Foley

Jennifer Foley

How long does it take for my hair to grow back after chemotherapy?

In most cases, hair almost always starts to grow back once treatment is over, and sometimes it may even start to grow back before it’s finished.

How will my hair grow back after chemotherapy?
Hair can sometimes grow back differently from what it was like before treatment, for example, the colour might change, the texture could be different, or it could grow back more curly, or more straight than before. 

While these changes can sometimes feel quite challenging, especially if in the short-term you’re not able to treat or style your hair in the way you have in the past, they can be temporary changes, so hang in there. The rate of hair growth varies from person to person, but for most, you will have a full covering of hair after about three to six months. But for some, this growth can be patchy.

It’s worth keeping in mind that hair regrowth can be weak, fragile or softer to begin with but over time the condition and texture of hair will become stronger. A healthy diet that is balanced and varied provides all the nutrients needed for healthy hair so keep that in mind during your recovery. And while your hair is growing back it will be very delicate and need plenty of care, so it’s best to talk to a hairdresser about how best to look after your new hair.

Can I speed up hair regrowth after chemotherapy?
Many women wonder whether there is anything that can speed up hair regrowth. You can talk to your GP, a dermatologist (a doctor who specialises in skin problems) or a trichologist (someone who specialises in hair loss problems, but is not medically trained) about the possible use of minoxidil.

How soon can I colour my hair after it grows back?
It’s best to wait until your hair is longer and your hair and scalp are in good condition before applying permanent hair colour. This is due to scalp sensitivity and the fragility of the new hair growth. There is little evidence-based research in this area, but Cancer Hair Care recommends that as long as your hair and scalp are healthy and you have about 2cm of hair growth, it’s fine to go ahead with colouring. For some people this could be six months to a year, for others, it will be sooner. It’s a good idea to discuss with your hairdresser when to begin colouring your hair and before you have a permanent hair dye applied, your hairdresser should check how your scalp and hair may react with a patch test. Temporary or semi-permanent dyes are a good way to find out if a hair colour suits you or until you are ready to try a permanent colour.

Reach out if you have any questions, I’m always happy to help!

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