Cancer and Hair Growth Oils: What You Need to Know

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Today’s article is going to focus on cancer and hair growth oils, while this might apply directly to you, I get so many questions from women who are diagnosed with cancer or who are cancer survivors. As a result, I want to provide some insight about this topic so that I can support you along your journey. But, first, please know that myself and everyone at VoiceOfHair is rooting for you and wishing for your absolute best. Second, I am not an oncologist or physician. This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care providers with any questions regarding your medical conditions. Third, although there are similarities, each cancer experience is unique to the person so you may have a slightly different experience than what I discuss, and that’s okay. However, I will discuss common facts about cancer and hair growth oils. Now, with this shared understanding, I want to spend the rest of this article discussing cancer and hair growth oils.

When you undergo chemotherapy for cancer, you may lose some or all of your hair. Hair loss during chemotherapy can happen all over your body, including your eyebrows, armpit, and even scalp. Because our hair is so important, seeing your hair fall out can be devastating. But, thankfully, seeing hair regrow on your scalp after treatment can be encouraging, but a lot of people ask me: “will my hair ever grow back?”  If so, “how long might it take for my hair to grow back the way it was before?”  “Can oils help with my hair regrowth process?”

Understanding Chemotherapy (Chemo)

Many people who are diagnosed with cancer undergo chemotherapy to fight the disease.  Chemotherapy destroys cancer cells, but it can also kill healthy cells.  One of the side effects can be hair loss. This happens because chemotherapy targets all quickly dividing cells (both healthy and cancerous), including your hair cells. Typically, hair follicles divide every 23 to 72 hours, but chemotherapy interrupts this process.  Therefore, within a few weeks of chemotherapy, you can lose all or some of your hair.  Your hair loss could happen suddenly (e.g., hand fulls of hair in your brush or on your pillow) or gradually.

Hair Loss

Typically, your hair can start to fall out between 2-4 weeks after you’ve started chemo. The hair loss can last throughout chemo and up until approximately one month after treatment. While there are no hard and fast rules, it could take many weeks after treatment for your hair to start growing back. This is because it takes time for chemo drugs to completely leave the body and stop attacking healthy dividing cells.  However, when your hair starts to grow back it may be initially different than before (e.g., curlier, lighter color, etc.). Importantly, some people experience permanent hair loss after certain chemo drugs.

Hair Oils for Regrowth

Again, first, confer with your doctor, but after chemo treatment has ended, there are several things that can help stimulate hair regrowth. One of the key things you can do to regrow your hair after chemo is applying essential oils to your scalp. Many hair growth oils contain essential oils because they have so many beneficial functions that strengthen and moisturize your hair. Essential oils also contain a multitude of antiseptic properties, which reduces the possibility of infection, that can enable hair growth. These types of essential oils include Castor oil, Peppermint oil, Ylang Ylang, etc.  Applying all-natural hair growth oils daily with scalp massages can help jumpstart your regrowth. However, it is important to remember that your hair typically grows about 1/2″ per month.  So, to see optimal results with hair growth oils, you will need to consistently apply them for one to three months, and after chemo, probably at least two to four months. Also, hair oil is a part of a larger healthy hair care journey, so it is important to have set realistic expectations for your hair regrowth.  Be cautious of any hair oils that promise to grow your hair 3 inches in three days, for example. Such claims are unrealistic, go against science, and those products are probably filled with detrimental ingredients. So, remember, that using hair oils to grow your hair after cancer is a several months experience, not an overnight one.

The Key Takeaways

Just in case you did not have time to read the above information, no worries, I get it, life can be busy. That is why I have included the key takeaways for you to read below at a quick glance. Here are 5 important things to know about cancer and hair growth oils.

  1. This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
  2. When you undergo chemotherapy for cancer, you may lose some or all of your hair. For many people hair will grow back, while for others hair loss may be permanent.
  3. Typically, hair follicles divide every 23 to 72 hours, but chemotherapy interrupts this process, which can lead to more rapid hair loss.
  4. One of the key things you can do to regrow your hair after chemo is applying essential oils to your scalp like this all-natural hair growth oils to help jumpstart your regrowth.
  5. It is important to remember that your hair typically grows about 1/2″ per month, on average. To see optimal results with hair growth oils, you will probably need to consistently apply such oils for at least two to four months. So, be realistic with your hair growth expectations.

  Again, I recommend consulting with your doctor before using any hair oils to aid in your regrowth process.

*Disclaimer: We have some anecdotal evidence of cancer survivors using our hair elixir to regrow hair.  However, this product has not been FDA approved or tested to regrow hair for cancer survivors and we cannot guarantee results.  What works for one cancer survivor may not work for another.

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Brandelyn Green
Brandelyn Green is the Founder of VoiceOfHair, a platform to help women of color find the best hairstyles and hairstylists! After living in 8 cities and in Sweden within a 10 year span Brandelyn became frustrated after trying to find trusted hairstylists who could help her maintain her natural hair. Since starting VoiceOfHair in 2014 she has grown the social media platform to over 1MM+ on Instagram and Facebook. As a natural who is also a salon goer, she wanted to create a platform where people could find the best products, hairstylists, advice and trends. VoiceOfHair provides hairspiration (hair + inspiration) as well as styling tips for women with relaxed and natural hair!
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