Scalp tenderness and hair loss
It is important to note that Cancer treatment may affect the scalp in a variety of different ways, which can include your scalp feeling hot, itchy, tender or tingly before and during the loss of hair. Many people have also reported experiencing slight discomfort or pain when their hair falls out or their scalp develops pimples.
In spite of a lack of research into this topic, one small study was conducted with women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. The study found that more than 4 out of 10 women had scalp discomfort. It is imperative that you notify your doctor if you experience any pain or see any sores on your scalp. Your doctor will prescribe cream or medication and explain how to care for any wounds that may develop.
Sore scalp care: How to care for it
1.Wash with Warm Water
While hot showers may be your go-to, this is asking for trouble when it comes to your sensitive scalp. Try taking a warm shower instead for a more comfortable feel.
3. Use Mild Products
Use natural products, the less ingredients the better! Keep this in mind when you are looking for shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, and laundry detergent. Look for products without preservatives or perfume.
4. Massage your scalp
Try five massage rounds to keep the scalp healthy. Use the pad of your fingers in a circular motion to ease away tension and keep a good flow of blood to the skin.
5. Washing Head Coverings
A good tip is to use a very warm damp flannel to wipe out the interior of any head coverings after wearing and allow it to dry. Washing your headwear and wigs on a regular basis helps to keep your scalp clear of unnecessary spots and irritation. This can occur if your headwear/wig has a build-up of naturally occurring secretions such as grease, dead skin, and perspiration.
You may like to consider using a pillow case made from natural fibres such as cotton or linen. Man-made fibres, like nylon, can cause irritation to sensitive skin.
7. Look at for red spots
If you see small red spots appear that are intensely itchy this may be an inflammation of your hair follicle, called folliculitis, which may need to be medically treated. Always speak with your medical team if itchy and painful spots appear.
How to Soothe a Scalp
With a hot steamy flannel and some facial wash on your scalp followed by a soothing and light moisturiser can really help to ease away the tension of the day and nurture your scalp. Simply rinse a flannel under very warm water, squeeze out the water and place the hot steamy flannel onto your scalp.
How can I protect my scalp after chemo?
Keep your head cosy in cold weather, as you can loose a lot of heat from your head. This will protect your skin and decrease chances of catching a cold. In hot weather it is important to cover your head due to skin being more sensitive to sunlight from chemotherapy. But remember sun may still get through head coverings, use sun lotions designed for the face as these tend to be less greasy and more comfortable on the scalp.
Sports sun tan lotions also tend to be less shiny and sticky – look out for ones specifically designed for the scalp and face. You can also buy headwear (mainly hats and caps) that have a built in SPF in the fabric.
Discover more tips and tricks here - Cancer Treatment Tips and Tricks