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Perm or Coloring and Update including Acrylics on Nails

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6722
Joined: Feb 2009

Has any woman out there that was on 5FU and Oxi had a perm and/or coloring their hair while in treatment.

I was thinking of getting my hair cut shorter, but my hair is so baby thin and fine that I don't have much to start out with and I know the treatment says you won't lose your hair but it will thin out. Perm is the only thing that gives me any body (shampoo never worked - all those adds are false in my book LOL). Your thoughts and experience would be great.

Kim

Also what about having acrylic nails. I'm feeling like I have to be so cautious in whatever I do, but I still like my acrylic nails. My nails, like my hair are thin too so going without acrylics would be hard.

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Hey Kim,

Ok, I have the opposite type of hair that you do. I have too much of it... it is fairly fine, but very thick. And it has it's own natural curl (read: frizz), so perms have never been something I go in for.

But colouring... you betcha! I was told not to colour my hair because the chemicals in the dye "could" react badly with the chemicals in the chemo and meds, causing the hair to break. The chemo can already make the hair brittle so adding another chemical that might react with the chemo could be rough on the hair. And then there's the opposite affect, where the chemo makes the hair so porous that the colour can not stick to it...it just washes off when the stylist washes the dye out of your hair.

So, for 6 months I did not colour my hair while on chemo... and I felt horrible every time I looked into the mirror! But that's when a friend of mine, who was an Aveda trained stylist (but isn't working as one right now), suggested I try Aveda hair colour products... and to get it done by a trained Aveda Colour Specialist. Yes, it's pricey but it was worth it to me. He did a fabulous job and the colour stayed!! Aveda products are something like 95% free of any kind of chemical, so it did not react with the chemo/meds at all.

I do not know if Aveda has their own perm products or not. I must admit, I don't think I'd be brave enough to try perming my hair while on chemo because perm solution is nasty and hard on hair if you are NOT on chemo... so I can only imagine what it might do to your hair while on chemo.

But, each to their own... you have to weigh the benefits vs the risks ;)

C.

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

I colored my hair during chemo. Got the OK from my oncologist. With everything else I was facing, couldn't handle the roots issue. I haven't seen my natural hair colour since I was about 16!

About hair thinning -- I have naturally fine, thin hair. I decided to go really short. With a good cut, this can be a very flattering look -- and help with the appearance of mild thinning. You've got great cheekbones and could definitely pull it off!! if you decide to go that root.....(scuse the pun).

Tara

nudgie's picture
nudgie
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sep 2006

by my chemo nurses not get my hair colored or permed while on treatment due to the chemicals used in both types of treatments. I did not ask pacific questions on why, meaning chemical reactions, etc.,

I waited until I was finished and boy did I need a perm. Straight dull hair.

VickiCO's picture
VickiCO
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

I use an Aveda Salon. They are not totally chemical free, but do use a very high percent of natural ingredients. My oncologist said go for it. It took everywhere excpet my eyebrows! Go figure...

I don't know about the perm. I can never get one because I can't get past the smell. And it's moot now, because my hair is coming out rapidly. Daughter is giving me a buzz cut this weekend.

Vicki, who believes you should do whatever makes YOU feel good!

bdee
Posts: 305
Joined: Feb 2009

Vicki,

When my hair started coming out in bunches and I couldn't get my sink to drain, I had my hair buzzed too. To show solidarity my whole family did it on one day. My husband buzzed mine, I buzzed his, my daughter's husband buzzed her's and my son's wife buzzed his. We've got a good picture with them all kissing my bald head. It has been four months and my hair has just started growing back. So baby fine it feels like a baby duck's feathers and coming back mostly white.

Go for what you want.

Debbie

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Kim,

I have now colored my hair three times while on chemo. The color took (quicker than it ever did before, actually- go figure since Cheryl says sometimes it won't take while on chemo- everyone is different, I guess). It did, however, make my hair dryer, so I've had to invest in some of the more expensive deep conditioners, which have helped.

Right before the first time I colored my hair while on chemo, I had grown out about three inches of dark roots because I had heard I shouldn't color my hair while on chemo. I had also assumed that I'd probably lose my hair or at least have it thin out a lot. It did thin some, but starting with a thick head of hair to begin with, I still had plenty of hair left and I don't think anyone else could tell I had lost any. It also got so I felt awful and so embarrassed from the dark roots that I couldn't stand it anymore, and so finally took the plunge and had it colored. Cheryl mentioned the Aveda salon- maybe that'd be worth looking into to avoid the dryness of the chemicals. Best wishes- do what will help you feel better about yourself!

Lisa

dixchi's picture
dixchi
Posts: 438
Joined: Jun 2008

I envy those who have so much hair that they don't miss any
when it thins.....gee whiz......I have a stylist who would
not give me color or perm while I was on chemo and I am glad
I didn't...not knowing how it would turn out, worse than better?,,,
a fact that has entered into my decision not to color my hair
now is a connection between hair dye and possible cancer...
a statement that will probably start another uproarous controversy
here....my stylist was the first one to tell me this and then
I read it online....another issue about continuing to color is how much
it costs and how much that money could be spent well
somewhere else in my budget...the hair industry is another
multi-billion dollar industry (they haven't asked for any
bailouts....wonder why? LOL)...and I think I am into a personal protest
right now about society pressuring us to always look younger than
we are...and not to have a grey or white hair....god forbid!

Kim, I am saying all this with lots of LOLs but they are my
thoughts for myself at the moment. The most important thing
is to do what makes you feel the best for yourself.

Hugs,
Barbara

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Barbara... what you say is very true. And the worst products are the ones you buy at your local drugstores or grocery stores and come home and do yourself. They are all chemical products and not only are you exposing yourself to the chemicals, they are incredibly hard on your hair (hence the drying out, the breakage, the permanent hair damage. All because of, like you say, society's pressure to look young and attractive (hehe... although, sometimes the home hair perms and dye jobs actually do nothing to add to a female's attractiveness). The old saying, you get what you pay for is also true for the hair industry. If you buy cheap, you're going to look cheap. The cheaper the product, the more chemicals in it and the more damage to the hair. And no, men are not immune to this vanity either... more and more men dye their hair and for some reason, men who have a cheap dye job look even worse than women with a cheap dye job. Not sure why that is, if it has something to do with skin tone or what.

Now, having said that, if one IS going to dye their hair, whether they are on chemo treatments or not, then you do want to be really careful of the products you use on your hair. Don't fall for the tv ads... we all know the purpose of ads is to sell products, not to tell the truth about them.

You rarely will find Aveda advertising their products on tv... and you can't buy them off the shelf at a grocery store. To get an Aveda colour or highlights/lowlights, you have to go to an Aveda salon and have one of their colour specialists apply the colour. You can buy Aveda shampoos/conditioners/gels/styling mousses, etc. for after colouring maintenance. Aveda products themselves are more expensive because they are top of the line products with little chemicals.

I did stop getting my highlights done when I started chemo, because my oncologist recommended it. But I was not happy or proud of my "natural" hair. Some people are surprised at just how lovely their hair naturally ages and turns a lovely shade of gray, silver or white. Others, like myself, don't have that kind of luck. It is an ugly, mousy gray that is in streaks (not an overall colour). It is the kind of lack of colour that, when you see a woman with it, you can't help but think to yourself, "Why doesn't that woman do something about her hair? She obviously has so little regard/respect for herself that she doesn't care just how dowdy she looks." Men don't get the same scrutinizing but that could be because most men keep their hair short, so if they have this nasty, unkept look with their hair, it doesn't show the same.

Yes, I have a problem with women who colour their hair, no matter what kind of damage it is doing to themselves, just to try an attract a man, or be attractive to men (read: again an expectation of society). But I also have a problem with women who don't give a hoot about how they look because to me, it shows they have no respect for themselves and the message they are giving to others.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being natural, especially if you are blessed with a beautiful, attractive colour of gray/silver/white. But so many aren't lucky that way and they just let themselves look rundown and it shows they don't care about much at all in life.

Just my .02 worth.

Cheryl

VickiCO's picture
VickiCO
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

My hair was red until I was in my 40's. Then it darkened to an ugly brownish color. My daughter is a flaming redhead, and I still wanted to be one also...so I color. Personal choice for ME, not to look younger, or attract anyone. It just makes me feel good. Amazingly I don't have much gray yet (at 58!) My Mom didn't turn gray until nearly 70. My sister, however was gray in her late 20's! Go figure...

Recently I discovered my hair growing into it's natural color, but was too sick on chemo to sit through the coloring process. Now I am buzzing it all off, because it's falling out anyway. When it grows back, if it's not red, it will be! LOL!

Vicki

daydreamer110761's picture
daydreamer110761
Posts: 497
Joined: Dec 2008

I also have had my hair done during treatment. My Oncologist said it was fine, so I did. I;ve been going to the same salon for about 2 years, so the girls there were awesome with me! They took longer to message the scalp, and also washing - that is just so relaxing. Their products seem really good, and I didn't have any problems with the color taking. As someone said in another post tho, I did notice my hair is dryer than usual, but I use a deep oil conditioner once every 2 weeks and that helps, along with something the girls at the salon gave me for the frizzies. Aveda is a bit pricey, but in the long run, I save up for it and it's worth the "feeling a bit spoiled."

shoppergal
Posts: 118
Joined: Mar 2009

Not only am I a person with cancer, but I am also a hairdresser for 30 yrs. When I asked my onc about coloring my hair, she said no problem. I found when I colored my hair, because it was porous, the color took faster. I'm not sure where you got your information from Cheryl, but its not accurate about porous hair not holding the color. What happens is the color gets sucked into the hair shaft faster because it's porous.

As far as products that are sold in drugstores having harsher chemicals, that is also untrue.Of course a hairdresser is going to tell you things like that, because they don't want you to buy products and use them yourself because it takes money out of our pockets. Aveeda salons push their products because they want to sell them. Everyones hair is different and what works for one, doesn't work for others. No different with treating cancer.

Chemo makes the hair feel much coarser than before, so naturally people assume it's dryer. I have coarse, curly hair and it got coarser and curlier than ever, but right after I did my color,it always felt better. The reason why is because the color coated the hair, so that the hair shaft felt smoother. It's been 9months since I finished chemo and it now feels better although it's still curlier than it was before chemo.

As far as acylic nails,it never entered my mind to ask about that, but I still did my acrylics over my own nails. I did find that they didn't always hold on my nails as well as usual. The reason for that was that the nails became softer and more brittle on chemo so that they just couldn't hold the same as before.

It was bad enough going thru cancer and chemo, and feeling lousy most of the time, but I had decided that at least I was going to try to look good!

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6722
Joined: Feb 2009

Thank you for all your responses. I guess from the consensus I'm still going to color my hair and do my nails. It's like I said, I just hate to feel like I'm giving up the things that made me feel special, even though I've been going through a lot lately, it's nice to see that I can still have blonde hair and nice nails LOL. And I'm not vain - really I'm not, its just that this makes me feel better.

Hugs and thanks to all!

Kim

msccolon's picture
msccolon
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

We go through so much crap, that sometimes it's hard to get up and feel good about ourselves! Our bowels don't work, our fingers don't work, our brains don't work, our nose runs and our feet don't, our complexion looks strange and we lose hair ... it's hard for the toughest of us! The small things we can do to make ourselves feel a little better are MORE than worth their weight in gold! My twin pays to have me visit a massage therapist/nail salon so I can pamper myself and it makes HIM feel good to be able to do it! He doesn't live nearby and is back on sea duty, so it's very hard for him to watch from afar! You deserve it, Kim!
mary

colon2's picture
colon2
Posts: 184
Joined: Feb 2009

You caught my attention with that one. I have had a runny nose since starting chemo in Feb. I even asked the Dr on the last visit if I could have an allergy to chemo, because it just never stops. I always get a sinus problem around the end of Feb., but it ususally responds to Tyleol allergy medicine. This year i have tried so many different things.Nothing works. I am either blowing my nose or sniffing or coughing up mucous. What a life.LOL the dr. told me that it probably added to it, but I probably wasn't allergic to chemo. SO when I saw your comment it really hit home. Maybe we should all buy stock in Kimberly Clark products or whoever makes toilet paper and kleenex, cause we certainly use our fair share.
As for hair coloring, I am getting ready to try it. The way it looks right now, I don't think I would care if it fell out. I hope it doesn't of course, but as it is now I don't like it. I have a plan anyway if it comes out. I used to have really long hair and when i cut it, I saved it. So I will glue it to the edges of a baseball cap and just stick that on when I go anywhere.Just have to make sure I don't use a cap with a big opening in the back.

Carletta

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Interesting Shoppergal. I got my information about the porous hair not holding the color from two different hairdressers (neither one of them were Aveda technicians and they worked at two different shops). My mistake if I mislead anyone with that comment... I just assumed I could trust the information coming from hairdressers since they, supposedly, know what they are talking about when it comes to hair.

As for the chemicals in "store-bought" hair dye vs product used by a hairdresser, it was the actual store rep herself that told me, as well as a rep that I talked to years ago from Clairol. I would assume that someone representing a product would try and convince folk that all products other than what they are representing were worse off... but when they warned me away from their own product, I believed them (this was before I was ever dx'd or on chemo). I didn't see what they had to gain by telling me that.

I didn't start using Aveda products until I was on chemo and I would recommend them to anyone who asked. I will continue to use Aveda hair colour since I like it so much but if I ever find I can't afford it, then I will go to a non-Aveda hair colourist and have them do my hair. But no, I will never trust buying off the shelf products and doing it myself. There's a huge difference in having highlights put in by a hair stylist vs using one colour to do it all one tone by yourself ... not to mention, I would just be plain scared to experiment with off the shelf products on my hair. I've seen some of the end results from home jobs and they are not necessarily pretty sights ;)

Cheryl

VickiCO's picture
VickiCO
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

Just my 2 cents here (OK, the whole nickel!) I used over-the-counter hair products for 20 years. Always used the brand L'Oreal on the recommendation of one of my dearest friends, who is a hairdresser. I never had issues with the quality, and did use the recommended conditioners, etc. I have (had) thick, coarse hair and it was fine. The only issue I had in all that time was L'Oreal decided to drop my favorite color, but I found another one and life went on. I started using Aveda for color last year (before DX), because I've reached a time in my life when I want to be pampered. I was already getting my hair cut & styled there, as well as my manicures and pedicures. It is my treat to myself.I don't smoke, drink very little, don't gamble, so my hair and nails are my vice! LOL! However, my oncologist asked me to stop having the acrylic nails put on. His reasoning was sound. They are (his quote) "a hotbed for bacteria." Any honest manicurist will tell you that when your nails lift, crack, etc then water can be trapped. And bacteria can grow. Everyone is different, and some people have NO issues with this. I had a fungus problem at one time, so Dr asked "Why chance it?" I miss my beautiful nails, but it's a small price for peace of mind and health.

We have enough bombarding us during cancer treatments. If we want to look good, I say go for it!

Many hugs, Vicki

shoppergal
Posts: 118
Joined: Mar 2009

Cheryl, I totally agree with you about home jobs. That's where buying drugstore products are worse that salon products. Most people don't know how to use these products and are leaving themselves open to damaging their hair, and looking terrible on top of that! lol I know what I'm doing and I never do my own hair, although I do my own nails. I'm not saying that you should stop using Aveda products,if they work for your hair that's great. What I am saying is that you don't necessarily have to use expensive products for them to be good. I wish more people would be like you, and be scared to do their own hair, not only would business be better, but people would look better.

I can understand that your information about porous hair came from hairdressers, and you trusted the information. Unfortunatly, not all hairdresser know what they are talking about.I'm not saying that even I know everything when it comes to hair, there is always something new to learn. I work with a couple of hairdressers that when I listen to their conversations with clients, I cringe because the information they give is wrong.

The hair colors that are sold in drugstore don't usually say that they come with peroxide, they usually say it's an activator, which is the same thing. But it is a milder peroxide than used in salons. Do it at home highlights are the worst because people either don't leave the product on long enough, which results in orange hair, or they leave it on too long, which results in over processed hair. Then the hair becomes dry and looks like straw.

On chemo it's always a good idea to take better care of your hair because it definately changes in texture, and it is more fragile.I even waited longer in between coloring, and I tried not ot do it on the week I was on chemo. We all need to do things to make us feel better, but we need to do it for ourselves not for someone else. So all you ladies and men fight this awful disease and keep looking good at the same time!!!

bdee
Posts: 305
Joined: Feb 2009

I just say to you all, you're lucky you kept your hair. I was on oxaliplatin, 5fu, avastan, and leucovorin. After my second treatment, my hair was falling out all over the place. By the weekend my husband, kids and I made the decision to shave our heads. Yes, my kids shaved their heads too as did my husband. My hair, after three months, hasn't grown back but my husband's and kids have. My son decided to keep shaving his as long as I don't have any, but we asked our daughter to let her's grow out. It is cute and soft as growing back.

VickiCO's picture
VickiCO
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

First round my hair thinned just a little. Now with this mop-up, it's coming out in large amounts. Tomorrow my daughter is giving me a buzz cut - we'll see. Maybe I'll shave after that.

Vicki

dixchi's picture
dixchi
Posts: 438
Joined: Jun 2008

Kim, I am so happy that you have made your decision.....as you can
see there are so many different opinions...and am glad they did not
muddle the issue for you.....even hairdressers don't agree....went
to my annual skin check at the dermatologist yesterday and mentioned
the hair color-cancer issue there and got a pooh-pooh reaction from doc who is
an older woman and her female nurse, both who look like they color
their hair LOL.....who knows I may
decide I can't stand snow white and go back to color...but the
aging issue and acceptance of it in today's world is a worthy
battle....white hair and all. LOL

lizzydavis's picture
lizzydavis
Posts: 893
Joined: May 2009

I have had 2 chemo rounds (Folfox). Now, everytime I shower, I notice quite a bit of hair on the shower floor. Somewhat shocking. I am wondering how much more I will lose.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6722
Joined: Feb 2009

My hair has always been thin and baby fine so while I am thinning some, it isn't as much as I thought, but some days it's a lot more than I would want. I posted this in May and my hair really needs coloring bad so I'm not sure what to do. Don't want to do it myself and then it all fall out. I use the Nioxin shampoo and conditioner that my daughter gave me and it works really well. Did your doctor tell you that your hair would thin or you would lose it. Mine just said it would thin.

Kim

VickiCO's picture
VickiCO
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

My doctor said rarely will you lose your hair with 5FU. Well, rarely isn't never...and I lost my hair. I finally just buzzed it off when there were huge areas of scalp with little or no hair.

And I colored it before it started falling out. I was on chemo at the time. It made me feel good. I go to an Aveda salon.

Hugs, Vicki

lmliess's picture
lmliess
Posts: 331
Joined: Dec 2008

Everytime I wash or comb it some comes out. So I went and got a really short uncut bob. Which actually made it look better. I also got a rinse from Walmart - I think Loreal - and put that in it. I usually highlite my hair but I think I will wait until I am done with chemo.

cahalstead
Posts: 119
Joined: Jan 2007

I too struggled with this deliemma.

My hair thinned and I tried to be gentle with it. I didn't color it during my treatment,I didn't think it needed anymore stress. It's been 2 yrs since the end of my treatment and my hair is in great shape. Just had my hair cut today and my hairdresser couldn't get over how healthy my hair is.

My advice, don't put chemicals on your hair. In the scheme of things, 6 mos is not long.
You'll have many more months ahead to color!! Just my humble opinion.

Char

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6722
Joined: Feb 2009

I had my post written out but never sent it until after I got your post. The hair coloring Vicki is talking about is supposed to be like 97% chemical free. Glad your hair is doing so well. I'm still struggling with this decision. It's hard after this many years :)

Kim

VickiCO's picture
VickiCO
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

Hey Kim, just to clarify, Aveda doesn't say 97% chemical free, but 97% natural ingredients. It's a subtle difference, but I don't want to mislead anyone. There are chemicals, just far fewer and less harsh than 'grocery store' dyes.

I am getting ready to dye my 'new' hair. I had red hair before chemo...although it had dulled and darkened over the years, hence the Aveda trips. BUT my new growth is very dark brown, no red at all, and poker straight! My nurses had said "It will most likely come back gray and curly." They were wrong...but at least I am not gray yet!

Vicki

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6722
Joined: Feb 2009

I remember reading something about the Aveda salons. I think I might do that even if/when I lose more hair.

I can't go with a rinse like you Linda, because my hair isn't highlighted, it is colored and it would look different.

When I keep getting comb after comb of hair it makes me nervous. I just feel that I can't do my hair or nails and that bothers me.

Oh well, soon enough and I'll be doing it all again. Still going to try the salon.

Hugs! Kim

lizzydavis's picture
lizzydavis
Posts: 893
Joined: May 2009

My onc said it would only thin but it sure is thinning at a rapid pace. My hair is medium brown. I used Clairol (no peroxide or ammonia) today. It washes out within 6-12 shampoos. It does not cover as much as the salon but almost and it sure does help me feel better. After reading all of the posts, I will ask my onc on Tuesday during round 3 about the future. I am considering a wig for times when I need to dress up or it looks too bad. I believe there are beautiful wigs which can hardly be detected.

mommyof2kds's picture
mommyof2kds
Posts: 522
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi Kim, I waited to see if my hair was going to thin on the chemo, after a few treatments, I didn't notice any changes in my hair and my oncologists nurse said it was fine. so I did color it. I had no problems with it. However my hair is normally thick. I don't know about the nail thing, but I would be very careful about infection.

pamysue's picture
pamysue
Posts: 105
Joined: May 2008

You go for it. I felt so crappy during chemo that I hated to shower because I didn't want to have to take care of my long hair. I had it all cut off super short. Then I COLORED it. I felt bad enough without thinking of walking around with huge old gray roots. I told my onc that he took enough away from me, I was doing this! LOL now. He said, then go do it.

I've never had a huge head full of hair and I lost probably 1/3 of my hair during chemo. I would see it in the drain. But a lot of hair came back. Not more than before or anything. That would have been nice though!

I have always had long strong nails. They stayed that way all through chemo and within the first week of being unhooked from my last treatment, they all broke off. So weird. They are back and fine.

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

My hair is thining too, but the hair has started to grow back and have a good inch growing out right now. However, since I am back on chemo, it's thining again!!

I use Loreal and have colored my hair with over the counter products for over 30 years. I have to dye every two weeks and that gets espensive at the salon. So I said no to highlights and acrylic nails and still dye my hair. There is no way, I could go without it, I would buzz it first! When chemo is over, I will go get my peek a boo high lights back!!

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