Hair thickness and regrowth after chemo

  • 10 replies
  • 316 subscribers

I'm hoping for some advice, 

I finished chemo 2 weeks ago and cold capped throughout.  I retained more than 50% of my hair but the strands are  now very thin. 

How long does it take for existing hair to start to thicken or does it remain thin,  and will any new growth be thin or is it more likely to be as my hair was prior to chemo?

How long after chemo does hair still shed?

 Many thanks D D

  • Hi DD

    I also cold capped through chemo and wrote a blog that contains photos. This is how mine grew back.

    The Changing Faces of Cancer- Scalp cooling, Hair loss and Regrowth. - Macmillan Online Community

    Hopefully this will answer your questions, but if you want to ask anything else, please do so.



    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

  • Hi Jane

    I read your post a couple of times previously and it did help me make the initial decision to cold cap. So thank you.

    Concentrating on the hair you still have and not what you've lost is a good way of looking at it but I'm finding that difficult at the moment because I seem to be losing more hair since completing chemo than I did during treatment.

    How many months did it take for the condition of your existing hair to noticably improve?

  • Daughter cold capped three times but found it made her feel physically sick. She had also lost probably 80% of her hair by then. Decided that, for her, it wasn't worth it and stopped cold capping and had her hairdresser clip off what was left. She actually felt much better then.

    She had 8 cycles of chemo before surgery. Hair regrowth started after cycle 6. It has been slow, six months on hair is very thick and healthy but only about half an inch long.  Sides and back are growing faster, crown slowest. Hairdresser trims sides and back to allow top to catch up.

    Post surgery and radiotherapy, daughter is now on 14 cycles of kadcycla (sp,?) While she hasn't lost her hair again, we have wondered if it's slowing regrowth down?

  • I also had increased hair loss after chemo ended- and it seemed to slow down and then stop around 6 weeks post chemo. However I did have radiotherapy and was quite ill during it and had issues with my bloods- so it may be a bit quicker for you.

    I found taking a photo once a week helped- front and back of head- as naturally you keep looking in the mirror hoping for some sign of regrowth. The difference week to week once it started growing was noticeable. You can't see it so much looking in the mirror but a photo- you can see the change. At about 2 months post chemo- the gaps were filling in more. I continued with the hair care I did through out chemo for a couple of months. I used lots of spray in conditioner. The texture when it came back was sort of soft and fluffy but the hair that remained from the chemo became dry. I would say it was about 3 months post chemo that condition started to improve. 

    I won't lie- it isn't easy and it takes time but the hair that regrew was thick and healthy and it did soon fill in. The hard bit was to cope with the hair at different lengths- so it is worth getting your hairdresser to trim away the drier ends and it then looks thicker. I also used volumising dry shampoo between washes and this helped. 

    So if your experience is similar to mine- in about 1 month the hair shedding should settle- but while this is happening you will start to notice it filling in. Once it started coming back- it seemed quicker than normal hair growth. So not much longer now.



    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

  • Thanks for your reply. I totally understand your daughter feeling better after having her hair clipped off, I would have done the same if I hadn't been concerned about permanent alopecia due to my age and chemo drug.

    It sounds like your daughter has been through a lot, I hope her remaining treatment goes well  x

  • Thank you Jane, that's made me feel  much  better about it all.

    In your blog you mentioned using hair fibres . Which product would you recommend? I've read reviews for a couple  but don't want to waste money if they're not successful because neither of them are particularly cheap.

    Many thanks

  • I have had chemo twice, losing my hair both times. By 6 months after the end of treatment, I had very normal looking hair. The texture before then was a bit odd, dry and wiry rather than thin. I didn’t cold cap (tried for one session the first time but my hair fell out anyway). 

  • I tried different types and found most were similar. Got via ebay and amazon- but there are probably other places. 


    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

  • Thank you for your reply. The way that time flies  my hair should  be back to normal in no time.

    I hope that your ongoing treatment goes well for you