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Bald and Beautiful

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Bald and Beautiful

Most of us take our hair for granted. Only when we’re faced with losing it do we realize how important it is to our self-esteem. It’s our "crowning glory" and we define ourselves by its colour.

Most of us take our hair for granted. Only when we’re faced with losing it do we realize how important it is to our self-esteem. It’s our “crowning glory” and we define ourselves by its colour.

We have “bad hair days” that put us in a funk. But the really bad hair day begins the morning we wake to find clumps of hair on the pillow.

Hair loss may be caused by the rare autoimmune disorder, alopecia areata; but more commonly, hair loss is a side effect of certain cancer treatments. If you are scheduled to undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy, ask your physician about hair loss. Hair seldom grows back after high-dose radiation, but it almost certainly will return after chemotherapy.

That might sound like cold comfort when a diagnosis of cancer has already dealt you enough challenges. But once you’ve come to terms with the new direction your life is taking, why not decide to put some colour and fun into your appearance? Here’s your chance to play with some new accessories and try a different look or two.

Hair Apparent

You may choose to wear a wig. If so, arrange to get it before you lose your hair. Your extended health plan may cover the cost (ask your doctor for a prescription), or you may be able to borrow a wig through your local cancer society. If you’re purchasing a wig, take it to your hairdresser for styling and shaping.

A circular hairpiece is less expensive than a wig and much cooler in hot weather because it leaves your crown bare. You wear the hairpiece under a hat, and with bangs peeking out in front and hair cascading down the neck, it looks attractive and realistic.

Hats and Caps

Visit hat shops in your area and make it your mission to come home with at least one glorious topper. Hats come in many wonderful styles and add the finishing touch to any outfit. You may find yourself hooked on hats, even after your hair grows back.

Scarves provide an easy and elegant way to cover your head. Find a book on scarf fashion, or consult your local cancer society for information about using scarves to their best advantage. Collect scarves in a variety of sizes and colours, and play with them as you discover their versatility. See what happens when you combine a scarf with a hat.

For a quick cover-up, consider a soft, stretchy turban. If your head appears smaller without its hair, find a scarf pad at specialty or online shops. A scarf pad is a soft “beanie” that adds extra body under the head covering.

You might also want a warm, comfortable cap to wear while sleeping.

Helping Hair Grow Again

This is also the time to pay attention to your general health. Take part in some physical activity each day and include a variety of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables in your diet. Bell peppers, beets, leafy green vegetables, soybeans, and whole grains are excellent sources of the silica that’s so good for your hair.

Dietary supplements of folic acid, biotin, vitamin B5, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), and silica may also help spur your hair’s regrowth and maintain its health.

If you find you’re feeling low, join a support group and remember to laugh. Life goes on, hairless or not, and every day is a blessing.

Arom-Hair-Therapy

The Archives of Dermatology reported in 1999 that a mix of essential oils, applied regularly to the scalp, promoted hair regrowth. Here’s their formula:

2 drops each of thyme oil and cedarwood oil
3 drops each of lavender oil and rosemary oil
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) jojoba oil
4 tsp (20 mL) grapeseed oil

Combine oils and store in a glass bottle. Massage into scalp at least two minutes every night and then wrap head in a warm towel. (Avoid rosemary oil if you are pregnant, epileptic, or have high blood pressure.)

When Hair Loss Happens . . .

During this time, you’ll want to take extra care of your head and scalp. Use a mild shampoo with added horsetail, a good source of silica, which helps keep hair strong and shiny. If you can’t find horsetail shampoo at your health food store, steep 2 Tbsp (30 mL) horsetail in 4 oz (60 mL) water and add to the shampoo.

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