Hair Thinning after Folfox

devereaux2509 Member Posts: 8 Member
edited November 2022 in Colorectal Cancer #1

Hey all,

I had 6 cycles of folfox, with all kinds of fun side effects including hair thinning. Particularly traumatic because my doc explicitly said I wouldn't lose my hair. I try and wash it every 10 days or so, keep it in a bun and try not to mess with it. Use baby shampoo, and be gentle, etc. Well, I've been done since Oct 5th, Oct. 7th was my last disconnect day. I washed yesterday 11/1 and still had a significant amount of thinning.

My question is, for those who experienced hair loss/thinning, how long after chemo ended did your thinning continue? I have dandruff from not getting a good washing with baby shampoo and I'm dying to wash my hair like a normal person. I miss brushing my hair without crying. Any info would be helpful.


  • SnapDragon2
    SnapDragon2 Member Posts: 703 Member

    I make my own organic shampoo.

    Watch Dr. Berg on youtube. He has good info on dandruff, causes and treatments.

  • sandra5678
    sandra5678 Member Posts: 8 Member

    Hi, I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this. This happened with my dad as well. Full head of super thick hair and almost as soon as chemo started it started to thin. The good news is his didn’t seem to take very long to grow back in. He’s been off chemo since January of this year and his hair is completely back to normal. I know not everyone is the same but just know it will grow back. Also, maybe try using a brush with softer bristles that will be gentler on your hair if you haven’t tried that. I would also suggest biotin supplements when you can. I’ve talked to a few of my patients who also dealt with similar issues after chemo and they say it helps. Sending lots of prayers and positive energy your way!

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,754 Member

    Hello there.

    I also lost my hair during chemo and radiation - I didn't go bald, but I resembled Gollum, from Lord of the Rings. It was not a pretty sight.

    In my humble opinion, I think you should wash and brush your hair, as it stimulates the scalp and hair follicles. Your scalp needs help to slough off the dead skin and become healthy again. Your hair follicles need the stimulation from washing and brushing, to get the blood flow to the area.

    I remember how devastating it was to see clumps of hair in the bath, on my pillow, all over my clothes. It is truly an awful time, but try your best to embrace it as par for the course.

    As for how long it took to grow back. I actually can't remember, as it was almost 9 years ago, now. I do remember mine came back thick and curly, then that fell out and it came back in straight. It took me a long time to figure out what to do with straight hair.

    It is a rough journey, and I wish you the best as you move through it.


  • devereaux2509
    devereaux2509 Member Posts: 8 Member

    Thanks for responding! I got the okay to take biotin after chemo, but then I've had to stop for surgery this week. I know it'll grow back, I'm just ready for the thinning to stop. My doc's office said this isn't a common side effect so they have no idea when it'll stop, but then 90% of folks I've encountered, have had the same hair thinning. So.... apparently pretty common lol.

  • devereaux2509
    devereaux2509 Member Posts: 8 Member

    Before all this I washed twice a week, so once a week isn't too much of a stretch. I'm just dreading getting in there and scrubbing, and coming out with handfuls of hair. I know "it's just hair" and it's temporary, but when you're told you're not going to lose any, and go from thick and long hair, to seeing more of your scalp than you've ever seen... it's traumatic.

  • MandiePandie
    MandiePandie Member Posts: 109 Member

    My dad had significant thinning during treatment, a year out and it’s not as thick as before but it’s growing back. Texture and color is different though.

    Like Tru said, the scalp stimulation of frequent washing and brushing is best. I’ve been through hair thinning for other health reasons and used to be deathly afraid of brushing and washing because of the hair fall, but a dermatologist told me no amount of babying thinning hair will keep it in and instead it’s best to promote blood flow to the hair follicle and to keep them clean so the new hair can come in.

  • devereaux2509
    devereaux2509 Member Posts: 8 Member

    Thank you! I’ve had no idea who to asked hair dresser, doctor, what have you. I would never have though to get a derm’s input. I washed with baby shampoo again, but did you my scalp brush. Still lost hair, but felt better. Thank you!