ZocdocAnswersDoes shaving the head after chemo promote stronger hair growth?

Question

Does shaving the head after chemo promote stronger hair growth?

Is it true that shaving your head after you have chemo promotes stronger hair growth? My sister has just finished going through her first round of chemo for breast cancer, and one of the other patients was swearing up and down that shaving your head gets your hair growing stronger. I don't want to give my sister false hopes if that's just a myth.

Answer

Chemotherapy works by disrupting the normal function of fast dividing cells including cancer cells but also unfortunately skin and hair. The doctor who is best qualified to discuss this issue include your sister's oncologist. After the chemotherapy is finished, your sister's hair will begin to grow back. These first hairs are quite delicate, and the skin of the scalp may also be sensitive. Therefore limiting shampooing and vigorous cleaning is important. It may also be important not to rub the hair vigorously with a towel or to comb it vigorously. Any environmental extremes, such as blow drying and hair dyes and treatments should also be avoided. Taking a multivitamin and maintaining good nutrition can optimize the body to produce hair quickly. Finally sometimes prescription medications may be of some use, as determined by a doctor. For example some studies show that minoxidil can be of use in patients who have undergone chemotherapy to help them recover their hair growth as quickly as possible. As always the diagnosis and the management of your sister's particular condition will require a physical examination by her personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with her oncologist is highly recommended.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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