Lifestyle / Fashion And Beauty

Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
22 Oct 2021
10:00 am

Four tips to care for natural hair during and after cancer treatment

Citizen Reporter

Breast Cancer is currently the second-most common cancer among black women.

Adera Kachienga, well-known model, Halo Heritage brand ambassador and breast cancer survivor. Picture: Supplied

October is designated worldwide as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women in this country, and its incidence is growing. It affects all races and is currently the second-most common cancer among black women.

Cancer treatment in the form of chemotherapy typically leads to hair loss as a side effect. This can be traumatic, as hair is closely linked to our identity and heritage. Fortunately, hair loss during cancer treatment is usually temporary. Once treatment has been completed and the hair growth system has recovered, hair grows back.

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If you have natural hair (Type 3 & 4), how do you take care of your hair and scalp while undergoing cancer treatment? What can you do to help your hair grow back healthily after treatment?

The hair experts at Halo Heritage have this advice:

Take good care of your scalp

The type of cancer you have will determine your treatment, and the kind of treatment you receive will affect your hair differently because the treatment can have a toxic effect on your body’s hair growth system. In general, chemotherapy can cause your hair to thin and/or fall out, and your scalp to become sensitive. Your cancer treatment team will be able to explain the consequences of treatment to you, and how to manage your hair loss.

In general, your scalp will become sensitive and even irritated during treatment. During this period, it is best to use mild hair care products that do not contain parabens or other harmful chemicals. Massaging the scalp may also help in improving the blood supply to the hair follicles. Sun protection is especially important during this time.

Use shampoo and conditioner free from harmful chemicals

While waiting for your hair to grow back after treatment, there are a few things that you can do to support new hair growth. It is important to take extra care of the new growth as your newly formed hair will be soft and delicate. During this stage, it is best to use gentle hair products that are free from harsh chemicals and sulfates and include natural ingredients. The luxurious Boity Haircare Collection range is free from these harmful chemicals.

Simplify your hair care routine

After cancer treatment, you may still feel tired and therefore need a gentle, simplified hair care routine to support new hair growth. Apart from using a mild shampoo and conditioner, always use lukewarm, rather than hot water. Don’t rub your hair, pat it dry. Brush or comb your hair gently with a soft hairbrush or wide tooth plastic comb.

Don’t plait, add weaves, extensions or braids, or colour your hair

Type 3 and 4 hair is naturally a vulnerable type of hair. It is best to take extra care of your fragile new hair after cancer treatment. For example, a mild conditioner can help you easily comb through your delicate hair without any unnecessary pull. It is recommended that you wait until you have at least five or six centimetres of strong hair growth before you add weaves, braids or extensions. Rather consider wearing a wig to protect new hair growth.

Breast cancer survivor and well-known model and Halo Heritage brand ambassador, Adera Kachienga, says her scalp became very dry and sensitive as a result of chemotherapy, but that paraben-free products helped to counter these side effects.

She recommends the Boity Sovereign Repair Serum, which she says was just amazing because it made the journey more tolerable, while the Boity Illustrious Scalp Spray helped keep her scalp moisturised and improved circulation to stimulate new hair growth.