If you're recovering from cancer and have undergone chemotherapy, you may have lost all or most of your hair. When your hair begins to grow back, you may wish to have it coloured and styled again. But is it safe to have your hair coloured after chemo and what effects could this have on your hair? Read on to find out more.
How chemotherapy can affect your hair
Chemotherapy can have a number of different effects on your hair, depending on the type of chemo drugs that you have had. When your hair grows back, you could find that it is curlier or straighter than it was, the colour may be slightly different or your hair could be coarser or softer in texture.
Chemotherapy can also make the structure of your hair more fragile than it was before, leaving it more vulnerable to damage from the chemicals used in some hair dyes.
Colouring your hair following chemotherapy
As a general rule it is better not to use harsh chemicals on your hair for about six months following the end of your chemotherapy treatment. For this reason you should not use permanent or semi-permanent chemical-based hair dyes.
However, there are many hair dyes available that use vegetable and other natural colourants as their active ingredients, and these may be safe to use on your hair. A good hairdresser in your area will be able to talk you through the options that are available, and it's also a good idea to ask your medical team too.
Even if the hair colour that your hairdresser will be using on your hair is chemical-free, it's recommended that you have a sensitivity test carried out 24 hours or so before the hair colour is applied. This should ensure that your scalp won't have an adverse reaction to whatever product is used on your hair.
A sensitivity test entails the application of a tiny amount of the hair colour to be used to a patch of your skin, usually behind your ear, where it is left for at least 24 hours. As long as your skin doesn't become itchy, red or blistered, the hair colour should be safe to use on your hair.
If you want to have your new hair coloured following chemotherapy treatment, always have a chat with a good hairdresser in your area about the options available. You could also ask your medical team for further advice if you still have concerns.