One of the side effects shared by many chemotherapy patients is the loss of hair. This creates a situation many of us are not prepared for, scalp care! The skin is particularly delicate during chemotherapy treatments, and the scalp, which was protected by the cover of hair, is especially vulnerable. Taking steps to provide gentle care for this area will help to make you, and your skin, more comfortable during your treatments.
Scalp Care: Steps to Clean, Moisturize, & Protect
1. No more shampoo. You probably wouldn’t wash your face with shampoo, right? It is designed to strip excess oils from the hair, and is way too abrasive for the scalp. Although many doctors recommend baby shampoo as an alternative, it is still shampoo and too harsh on the scalp. Look for an all natural, and organic facial cleanser that is free of fragrances and suitable for sensitive skin.
2. Moisturize. Typically conditioner moisturizes the scalp, along with the hair. With hair gone, your scalp is not protected, and in more need of moisture. As with the cleanser, look for a lotion that is free of perfumes, dyes, and chemicals. Try coconut oil as an evening moisturizing treatment. Before bed, apply coconut oil to the scalp and cover your head with a soft cap or scarf. The oil will work to soften and soothe your skin while you sleep. Be sure not to use oil as a moisturizer while wearing a wig as the oil can seep into the cap and loosen the knots.
3. Protect. Sunburn on the scalp is no fun! If you are planning to go outside, be sure to apply sunscreen. There are many organic and fragrance free brands that provide protection without abrasiveness. Always be sure to cover your head in addition to sunblock when outdoors. Your scalp is extremely prone to sunburn since it has likely never been exposed to direct sunlight before.
Self-care is extremely important during chemotherapy, and mindful scalp care can go a long way in making you more comfortable. Please contact us to learn more about protecting your scalp during your treatment.