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Healthy Hair after cancer


1. Chemotherapy – hair may start to grow back before the end of the treatment, and in most cases a full head of hair will grow back between 3 and 6 months after treatment is completed, although it can take up to 12 months. Hair often grows back very fine at first and may be a different texture, color and possibly curly, even if it was previously straight.

2. Radiotherapy – hair regrowth is slower than with chemotherapy; it usually takes 6 – 18 months to re-grow a full head of hair.

thinning vs. dormant hair

Cancer treatments are harsh on hair follicles and because all hair follicles are not the same, they can regenerate at different stages. Stronger hair follicles will recover and begin to regenerate new hair first, while other hair follicles may begin to generate hair months after the last cancer treatment has ended. Meanwhile, the weaker hair follicles may have gone dormant.

It can also be helpful to understand that because hair on the top of the head tends to grow from weaker follicles, many patients may notice that they experience more thinning at the top of the head rather than the sides where hair follicles tend to be stronger.

Avoiding ammonia will help restore thinning hair.

Hair follicles in men can die off but hair follicles in women most often are just dormant. Follicles can become dormant as a result of damage or clogging.

Colour Change

Many cancer patients complain that their hair begins to lack colour or tone after treatment. Actually, this is not usually the case. What does often happen is that the blended, or overall, colour or tone of the hair may begin to change because the follicles of different coloured hair strands die off or become dormant.

Hair Texture

While any damage to the hair cuticle is bad, uneven damage caused by cancer treatments will affect the porosity and coarseness of hair, which will result in an unusual texture.

dry hair

Cancer treatments will often cause severe damage to the sebaceous glands found in the scalp. These glands produce a light oily liquid known as sebum which naturally progresses up the outer cuticle of the hair fibre. This sebaceous system is what provides hair its natural moisture. With damaged sebum, it is difficult to cultivate healthy looking beautiful hair after cancer treatments unless it is properly cared for.

Brittle or Weak Hair

Cancer treatments can leave the body with a debilitated capacity to regulate the distribution of different proteins. Hair is made of a delicate balance between protein and moisture. If hair is brittle and prone to breakage, or unmanageable because it seems almost too firm, then this is an indication that the hair is lacking moisture and has a high percentage of protein. If hair is weak and pulls apart, or is unmanageable because it seems almost too soft or gooey, then this is an indication that the hair is lacking protein and has a high percentage of moisture.


Successful hair services, either after or between cancer treatments, require a delicate combination of understanding, specialised product ingredient-knowledge, and an innovative and caring approach.

Cancer treatments have a tendency to not only weaken a person’s hair, but also their immune system and vital organs. It goes without saying that 52 Hair Co. understands the need to be more cautious of the ingredients contained in products whether it be our regular clients or those who are undergoing cancer treatment.


The delicate balance of performance and healthy ingredients must be carefully weighted toward harmless and healthy ingredients, which is why we recommend the following approaches:


Once you have about one inch of hair growth, it may be possible to consider colouring your hair, if desired. Colouring should NOT take place if the hair is brittle and/or the scalp is excessively dry, flaky or irritated.

A skin sensitivity test will be carried out before applying any colour to a client who has finished treatment for cancer.

A temporary colour is recommended initially for the first few months. As the hair becomes stronger, you can transition to permanent colours, if you choose.

Before using any products or receiving any salon treatments it is advised to seek the approval of your attending physician.

Many patients are disappointed with the way their hair recovers after the majority of cancer treatments. Even after several months, hair still seems dry, brittle, frizzy, and unmanageable. The overall condition of the hair seems to have been comprised by variation in texture, different rates of growth, and overall thinning.

Although some of the side effects of cancer treatments that impact the health of a person’s hair can last for a long time, there are measures that can be taken to accelerate the hair’s recovery and restore beautiful and healthy-looking hair with more certainty in a shorter period of time.

Avoid Ammonia

The primary function of the liver, which is one of the organs that can be affected by cancer treatments, is to detoxify proteins of poisonous ammonia. This critical function can be burdened even more when introducing additional sources of ammonia into the blood stream through products like permanent hair color. To avoid elevated levels of ammonia in the body, use an ammonia-free permanent hair colour.

Treating Thinning Hair

Avoiding ammonia will also help restore thinning hair.

To clarify the scalp of clogging impurities, we recommend products that are made with only 100 per cent certified organic ingredients and that are highly effective at gently removing plastics and other impurities from the scalp while enhancing blood circulation in the scalp – without risk at damaging the hair follicles.

TREATING Hair Texture

To help regain the natural texture of your hair before cancer treatment, a natural and organic protein should be used to even out porous hair with nourishing natural proteins. Use organic products that fill and fortify the cuticle and naturally bond with the hair and cultivate inner hair repair.

The great news is, hair has an incredible ability to rejuvenate and we are here to help you!