Does hair grow back after radiotherapy? Yes—but we know that for many people who have undergone this treatment, regrowth can’t start soon enough. In what follows, we cover some of the common questions that arise regarding hair loss and hair growth in the months during and after treatment, as well as what can be done to encourage hair growth after radiotherapy is finished.
Hair Loss & Radiation: What to Expect
While chemotherapy affects the entire body, radiotherapy is often targeted, and as a result, you may not experience any hair loss on your scalp. However, if you are undergoing radiotherapy for skin cancer on the head, you may expect to lose some of your hair. (If you receive radiotherapy in another area, a loss of body hair there is also likely.)
Hair loss—also known as alopecia—generally begins two to three weeks after starting treatment. The change may be sudden, but you could also notice a gradual loss of hair. When does hair stop falling out after radiotherapy? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, so you should discuss the course of treatment with your healthcare provider.
Hair loss is not permanent. However, your hair may grow back with a slightly different color or texture.
Does Hair Grow Back After Radiotherapy?
The vast majority of hair loss associated with radiotherapy is not permanent. Generally speaking, it takes two to three months after the end of radiotherapy before you will start to see regrowth in the area that has been treated.
How to Encourage Hair Growth After Radiotherapy
There is no way to prevent hair loss that results from radiotherapy, and there is relatively little that you can do to speed regrowth after therapy ceases. However, there are things you can do to protect the regrowth that occurs and start to feel more comfortable more quickly:
- Do not bleach your hair or use permanent hair coloring. Stay away from perms, as well as tight headgear that may pull on your hair as it grows.
- Cleanse your scalp regularly using a mild shampoo and conditioner. Always rinse your hair thoroughly after washing, and pat-dry your hair as gently as possible.
- Consider the use of head wrappings or specialized pillowcases that will protect your hair from tugging while you sleep.
Image-Guided SRT Provides Targeted Treatment
Image-Guided SRT is a highly targeted, surgery-free radiotherapy treatment for common skin cancers. During treatment, ultrasound images are used in order to identify cancer cells and ensure that the subsequent radiotherapy is as accurate as possible, thereby reducing side effects that one may experience in the surrounding area.
If you have questions about Image-Guided SRT, please speak with one of our skin cancer information specialists at (855) 482-0513. When you make the final decision with your healthcare provider, we want you to have as much information as possible!