Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

It is a well-known fact that chemotherapy causes many side effects and some chemo drugs greatly affect the hair. While many changes may be noted in hair during chemo, some changes are quite different that may raise many questions in your mind. Why does hair grow back curly after chemo, is one of the commonly asked questions. Let us understand the theory behind this possibility.

Why Does Hair Grow Back Curly After Chemo?

Many people who have undergone chemo, often experience hair fall to the extent that there are no hair left on the head. Some may experience only thinning of hair while some may actually have complete hair loss. However, these are a part of side effects of chemo drugs and affect each person differently.

It is also noted that on completion of chemo, most people regain their hair. When hair reappear, they may have a different pattern, color and texture. Some may note that they get back curly hair, which may seem quite interesting. This gives rise to the query, why does hair grow back curly after chemo? This change, also called chemo curls is worth understanding.

We are aware of the fact that chemo drugs aim at killing rapidly growing cells, which help in killing cancer cells and treat cancer. However, in this process, as the drugs cannot differentiate between normal and cancerous cells, even healthy cells are attacked. As hair follicles are one of those, hair cells are particularly affected, which is noticeable in the form of hair loss. But people do get their hair back once chemo is over and for most, the new hair may be even darker, curly or sometimes, very thin and frizzy.

The way chemo affects people varies, but for many, hair are affected and hair loss occurs. It may take about six to nine months for hair to grow back, after chemo is over. In most cases, hair do grow back as hair cells are able to repair themselves effectively as early as possible. During this period of regrowth, new cells are being generated, which leads to hair growth.

Most scientists believe that as the process is not fully regularized, the initial hair grown back after chemo may show certain changes than the original hair. This can be one reason why hair grows back curly after chemo.

Chemo drugs take a while to completely get out of the system even after the treatment is over. Some theories also suggest that chemo drugs, while acting on the cancer cells, can cause some changes to the DNA of the cells. This could be a possible cause of changes in the hair cells, when they get repaired and when regrowth of hair occurs. While these changes may be short lived, till the system is entirely cleared of chemo drugs, it can result in curly hair in the beginning. This could be another possible reason why hair grows back curly after chemo. Once, the effects of chemo are completely gone, within the regeneration period, curly hair may get back to normal as the entire system regains its original function.

Chemo hair is truly distressing and chemo curls or the worry about why does hair grow back curly after chemo, is one of the effects of chemo. It a response of your body, which shows that the medicine is acting and the body is fighting off cancer cells. While the most important part is being done, problems like chemo curls soon get back to normal, within few months.

Hair cells are fast growing cells, hence for most, it takes about a couple of hair growth cycles for curly hair or any change in texture to normalize to its original state.

Curly Hair After Chemo – Hair Care Tips

While it is obvious to worry about why hair grows back curly after chemo, it is equally important to take care of the new curly hair. As new hair that begin to reappear after chemo, are delicate, brittle and yet to stabilize completely, it is necessary to be careful with them. New hair, apart from being curly, are often, brittle and tend to fall off easily. Also they appear very sparse in some, while for some, they may appear as natural perms.

The best way to deal with newly grown curly hair after chemo, is to be conscious, take good care and avoid the use of chemicals or fancy hair treatments. Avoid using harsh shampoos, rubbing hair or use of dryers and extreme temperatures. It is advisable to avoid using hair colors, till hair growth completely regularizes and best if completely avoided. Henna may be a gentle option if you are keen on coloring, but seeking medical advice is the best. Seek hair care expert, if needed and plan a hair style that suits you and your treatment. Get medical opinion about your diet, use of multivitamins to support effective hair growth.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: May 14, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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