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Chemo hair loss

Posts: 62
Joined: Mar 2012

I was wondering if there's anyone out there that has had Taxol/Carbo that hasn't lost their hair? I know that's one of the main side effects of Taxol but I thought that maybe there was someone who had beat the odds. I'm resigned to losing my hair and it's due any time now. Does it fall out all at once? Or does it take a few days? My next treatment is April 9th and I guess you usually lose it by your 2nd time.

snowbird_11's picture
Posts: 160
Joined: Oct 2011

My head hair fallout did not follow usual pattern only gradually thinning over the first five cycles and then I cut and buzzed it. However, the rest of my body hair pretty much disappeared after second cycle including eyebrow and eyelash hair which was the worst. One can wear a hat or a wig for head hair but faking a 'normal' look without defining facial features was hardest. I had previously done heavy chemo that normally results in total hair loss for breast cancer treatment and experienced even less hair fallout then. Not sure what makes the difference as I had plenty of other chemo side effects.

bonniep's picture
Posts: 36
Joined: Jun 2010

Dear Light42day,
I am so sorry you have to go through all of this as it can be so stressful. Cancer just changes every aspect of your life. I am currently on Taxol/Carbo Chemo for recurrence, but also went through it in 2010 when I was originally diagnosed with USPC. My doctor said my hair would start falling out on day 17. I didn't want to deal with losing my hair (too tramatic for me) and frankly the only control I seemed to have over anything was to decide how I would lose it. I made a decision to shave my head and get a wig. The week before chemo started, my daughter went with me to a place called Crowns of Glory - they deal with medical patients who loose their hair. I must have tried on 50 different wigs of all styles & colors. We laughed and we cried and took lots of pictures. Part of the service included shaving my head so I had it done and they trimmed my wig to go with my face. It was a great experience and we had so much fun.

Once chemo was done in Nov.,2010, my hair did start growing back in. It was thicker, baby soft, very curly(frizzy), totally gray and very unmanagable. I cut it, colored & highlighted it, but still could not achieve the hairstyles I loved when wearing my wigs. I have 4 of them - all the same color & same styles but lengths are different and some with root showing or not. No one can tell when I'm wearing my wig. I told my Dr. the best thing that came out of cancer for me, is that I learned I love wearing wigs & I would have never tried one, had it not been for cancer. I am wearing one of my wigs in my picture.

Even though I was cancer free for a year, during that whole time, I wore my wigs. After my recurrence in Jan.of this year, I started the Taxol/Carbo chemo, knowing I'd loose my hair again. This time my "Macho" Coach Son-in-law volunteered to shave my head so 'we could be twins'. He shaves his head. I agreed to it, so my daughter & granddaughters gathered around me to give him pointers, as my husband took pictures (which will never be shown to the public). It was another great time of fun and laughter.

I am not trying to make light or joke about our situation because it is totally life altering. But, by adding a little humor to the situation and including my family in this aspect of the cancer journey has removed a lot of the fear my family felt (me too). My granddaughters (6 & 9)are open and ask me lots of questions, love to rub my bald head, or give me consructive criticism if I choose the wrong scarf or head covering when I'm not wearing my wig.

Welcome to CSN because it is a great place to 'talk' with women who are going through exactly what you are going through. I've learned many things and even picked up some ideas or issues I've discussed with my doctor. At times it can be very overwhelming as some women have thoroughly researched everything and have dealt with far more than I have at this point. If it pertains to my situation, I'll post comments. When I get scared or depressed or have any questions, I'll post. The feedback from all the women are uplifting and caring and you don't feel so alone. I'll pray for you as you are going through this journey. HUGS! Bonnie

Ro10's picture
Posts: 1579
Joined: Jan 2009

I do not know anyone either who has not lost their hair with Taxol/Carbo. I am on my fourth time of being bald. I must say it becomes part of the acceptance of the chemo working again..... I miss my eyelashes the most, although I seem to have some very light short ones still in place. I never did get them back full length and color from the first time losing them. I have never been able to have enough for mascara. I use eyeliner. I have a little bit of the eyebrows still left, enough that I can draw them where they were before.

It is traumatic to think of yourself as bald. But as others have said, you can have fun with wigs, hats and scarves. I never mastered the scarves though. Newsboy caps and baseball caps in bright colors made me most comfortable. Although I did wear a wig more the first three times of being bald.

My hair started falling out day 12 after my first chemo. It was always gone by the second chemo. Good luck with your adjustment. Take it a day a time, and cry if you need to. But just remember your hair will grow back again. In peace and caring.

LizGrrr's picture
Posts: 124
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi light42day - Taxol has a 100% likelihood of hair loss. I cut my thick, curly, black shoulder-blade length hair to an ear-length bob before I started chemo so the loss wouldn't be so scary. It started falling out on day 14. It didn't come out in public or at mealtime or anything, just when I was in the shower shampooing or brushing my wet hair. With 3 treatments, I didn't go chrome dome but lost about 80% of my hair. I shaved my head when it started falling out because the patchy look wasn't for me.

Fortunately, I have been told by just about everyone that I have a great skull :) My hair's growing back thick and soft like puppy fur, but it'll all fall out Memorial Day weekend (I'm going in for my second round of 3 chemos).

While I have a wig and a bunch of bandannas and scarves and hats, I found that after I adjusted to the new look I preferred going bald. I feel like GI Jane except I'm UPSC Liz :)

My body hair and facial hair thinned, and once I waxed it didn't grow back for months. It's nice not having to shave my legs or underarms or wax my upper lip and eyebrows. While I miss having lush eyelashes (I still don't have enough for mascara) I can deal. You will, too :)

Liz in Dallas

Posts: 62
Joined: Mar 2012

Thanks for all your replies! I loved reading your experiences with your hair. I cut mine really short about 2 weeks ago. It used to be down to the middle of my back and it took years to get to that length. But I know it is going to fall out and I think I'm ready to deal with it now. If all of you ladies can do through it, I can too!

daisy366's picture
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

Dear Light,

You might consider donating your long hair. At first the hair loss was disconcerting. My head "hurt" when I showered on the 14th day and sure 'nuf came out in clumps.

I got a free wig from the local ACS - they were lovely about everything. And there is a cosmetic course that I never took advantage of but heard great things about it.

After trying the wigs and scarves, I ventured outside "commando" one day and never looked back. That became my preferred look and feel (wigs hurt and scarves looked stupid on me). Even though people were kind and said I had a nice shaped head, I really didn't, but it all worked out well. I just shaved it weekly to keep the stragglers in line and I also met many men that could have been my twin brothers!!

Best wishes to you. It will be OK. Hugs, Mary Ann

Posts: 471
Joined: Feb 2011

Know it feels traumatic at first to lose your hair, but cut my shoulder-length dark brown hair to a short punky cut two weeks before chemo and everyone loved it. Made losing it less dramatic.

My own hair loss started a few days after second round of taxol/carbo--not in clumps on my pillow but long strands that would come out every time I combed it. Just got used to it.

Bought one wig but found it unconfortable after two hours of wear--and wound up wearing lots of little turbans and scarves that were nearly chic, not bad at all.

Lost far less hair in SECOND round of chemo (last three treatments--seemed to come out only around the hairline) but the hair that first grew back was very fine and greyish (like a dead dandelion head!)

The good news: if you have that first baby fine layer of hair trimmed after two months, the newer hair will come back much healthier an thicker.

Just stopped wearing scarves for first time in ten months--and love my new short, fesity, thick hair. The "do" is like Halle Berri's--though only wish I LOOKED like her!


Posts: 66
Joined: Dec 2010

I have set April 13 as the day I am going to say goodbye to my two identical/alternating wigs!
During six rounds of carbo/taxol as adjuvant chemo for stage 1A uterine carcinosarcoma (MMMT) following surgery (last chemo April 27 last year) I lost all scalp hair, as predicted, between rounds 1 and 2. It started to come back around July and I had my first hairdresser appointment in December! It has come back thick and very curly. Most days I do go without the wig but sometimes I do resort to it as it looks much better than my new 'hair'. Eyebrows,eyelashes, body hair went too but were back very soon after last chemo.
Fourth check up coming up next month - so far all is well so hair loss small price to pay. I have become rather attached to my two wigs - was told they would only last two months (they are NHS subsidised and synthetic) and have lasted the course rather well.
Please take care everyone and let me know of any other hair experiences.
Susan xx

Posts: 141
Joined: Jan 2012

I found many people telling me you may not lose your hair. When my doctor first told me about taxol/carbo, the very first thing he told me was "you WILL lose your hair". He told me day 17. I startrd noticing some fallout around day 14. A couple of days later, I had it shaved to about a half inch. When I began to look like a baby orangatang, I had it shaved off.

After he first shave my scalp was quite itchy and I used a bristle brush to scratch it. Probably not such a good idea, as I had a horribe case od foliculitis on my scalp. Still getting over that, have one bad area still.

Knowing I was going to lose my hair, I spent a small fortune on scarves and a wig. The scarves looked hideous on me and I ended up taking them to the infusion center for others. I mostly wear hats. I have a few chemo beabies that I occassionally wear and still have not worn the wig.

My eyelashes and eyebrows thinned but not noticeably.

As others have said, you do get used to seeing yourself bald. It seems unlikely, but it is true.

Take care,

debrajo's picture
Posts: 1095
Joined: Sep 2011

Lost my hair right on schedule, day 19. I really didnt care, I just looked it as the chemo was working! I lost my lashes and brows also and fully expected to get them back since I had enviously long dark thick lashes and if I didn't keep them plucked, I had a Neanderthal brow thing going on! Two years later, no brows or lashes...learned me not to be prideful!Really miss the lashes and I never did get use to drawing on brows. Drew them on one day, looked like a hoot owl!!! Seems I unknowingly arch one brow when I concentrate, looked like I was permanently perplexed! You will do fine...just think, summer is coming and it is a heck of a lot cooler! Humor heals also, Best, Debrajo

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2817
Joined: Jun 2010

Some of us (very few) have permanent hair loss. It appears I'm one of the not so lucky ones. My last chemo was 18 months ago. Only about 1/4 of my head hair returned. I have 2-3 underarm hairs, my eyelashes are short, light, and sparse, and no eyebrows. My pubic hair is consistent with my scalp hair - maybe 1/4 of it. I have patchy leg hairs. The only thing that's the same with me is the stupid facial hair! I'm wearing a wig - and I'm getting used to it, but it has taken me quite a while to get to the place where I can accept this fate somewhat.

Some things that have helped me: I like my wig (didn't have one during chemo), I got permanent eye makeup (i.e., tattoos), and sometimes I wear false eyelashes (I wore them constantly when my eyelashes were totally gone - they're very nice as long as they stay put). I really recommend the permanent eye makeup. The liner makes not having eyelashes less noticeable. I know a woman who had hers done before she even started chemo. It's amazing and I wish I'd done it years ago. Having no eyebrows or lashes was the worst for me. I looked like a flippin' alien! I'm very fair and I had no facial features. The scalp hair could be covered in many attractive ways I felt, but not the face.

Good luck. It turns out for me that wigs are not a bother nor are they too hot. The permanent eye makeup was life changing, false eyelashes are fun, but they do take practice. I may be old, but I'm still vane. If my hair ever actually fully returns, it will never be as cute as my wig!


CindyGSD's picture
Posts: 191
Joined: Aug 2011

First thing I was told about taxol was that I would lose my hair. It started exactly 14 days after my first treatment. My hair was shoulder length. It did not come out all at once but in strands over a week. It sort of became of an obsession to pull it out. I'd run my fingers through my hair, pulling out strands at a time. I spent a lot of time pulling it out in the shower and plastering the hair against the shower wall for easy clean up. I even took pictures and sent them to my friends (lucky them). I went to my second chemo treatment with obviously thin hair and had it shaved the weekend after. I shaved it to about 1/2 of an inch but after a week of still have hair sticking up all over the place, I went back to my friend and had her shave it to 1/4 of an inch. The rest fell out unnoticed.

My eyebrows and eyelashes started falling out well after my third treatment but I never lost them completely because I had a break from chemo and started radiation. During that time my hair grew back to the point that I could go without a wig or scarf. My hair started following out exactly 14 days after I started my chemo again, and I went through the process all over again.

Now, I'm 3 and 1/2 weeks from my last chemo treatment. I've got 1/2 inch strands of gray hair stick out of my bald head that I'm sure nuclear explosion wouldn't kill. I might have shaved just so my hair grows back evenly. My eyebrows have just started falling out I'm hopeful that by mid June I will be able to stop wearing any type of headcover. Its not fun, but its not as bad as you think and you get use to it really fast.

Good luck in your treatments.

Take care

Posts: 62
Joined: Mar 2012

Hair loss is a big deal for us! It has been so good for me to read your stories. They make me laugh (and cry a little, too). I may start losing my hair this weekend or maybe by Monday, which will be 14 days since my 1st treatment. I bought some new bandanas online that I really love so that made me feel a little better.

This whole cancer/chemo process has really caused me to think about my life. I think it changes you forever in some ways. I've been pretty weird about my hair, for one thing. I used to have NIGHTMARES about my hair being cut really short and then I'd wake up and be so happy that it was still long. Now I have it cut REALLY short and I love it! But now it's going to fall out. I know it will grow back in time. But it sounds like it will take awhile for it to be the way it used to be. I'm sorry to go on about this subject. It really isn't as important as being well again and living a long life.

I told my husband that I was afraid that he wouldn't find me attractive anymore when I was bald and he said he wouldn't know the difference when the lights are out! He was kidding, though! He told me that he would love me no matter what. He's stuck by me through a lot these past months. He goes with me to my Chemo up in Seattle and sits there with me all day when he's really busy with our business stuff. I feel very blessed.

txtrisha55's picture
Posts: 651
Joined: Apr 2011

I cut my hair short like a pixie cut before I stated chemo from the middle of my back. Day 19 it started coming out in clumps, also I was pulling on it. Did not hurt pulling it out in clumps. After I did that I used an electric hair razor to cut to 1/8 inch. Man was my head white underneath. Later that night I used shaving cream and a razor and shaved my head bald. I did wear scarves or hats for awhile especially outside but ended up just going bald. Even went back to work bald. Never bought a wig. Of course I live in Texas and last summer was a heat wave. 100 degrees almost everyday, that is why the scarves and hats went by the wayside. Made me sweat to much wearing them. I did put on sunblock if I was outside too much. The hair lost was not that big a deal to me. The only thing that bothered me to most was that I lost my nose hair, which is suppose to me a line of defense against gearms. It grew back but took a while. Just recently I bought First Defense Nasal Screens looks like little bandaides to put over your nostrils. Saw it on the show Shark Tank, Mark Cuban bought into the company. I had jury duty and did not want to go down and sit with all those people in the jury room with no protection. I bought surgerical mask too!. Looked funny but was protected.
All of this is in your attitude and how you deal with it. For me it was no big deal it was fighting cancer and this is just a result of the fight. Hair does grow back, at least most of the time, if mine had not, I would have just kept on being bald. My hair has grown back and it is driving me crazy because it is curling a bit and sticks out everywhere. I need to get it cut but have not done it yet. Best of luck to you and I will keep you in my prayers. trish

Posts: 96
Joined: Nov 2011

A friend of mine who was being treated in Vermont, she told,me the hospital was given her a vitamin called Biotin in large doses, she saismhernhairmgrew back twice and very thick, has anyone heard of this, no one at my drs office ever me mentioned it. I bought a bottle but the dose is 1000mg it says it's for hair nail growth. My hair is growing so slow.


debrajo's picture
Posts: 1095
Joined: Sep 2011

This does work! My eighteen year old son lost 75% of his hair due to taking acne meds. He takes the biotene in large doses (for him) and a deep deep mosturiser shampoo and conditioner and his hair is slowly coming back where he had been bald for 8 years. But ask your doctor if it would hurt you or your treatment. Best, Debrajo

Posts: 96
Joined: Nov 2011

debra, Biotene is a mouthwash and toothpaste, are you sure it's not Biotin? Just checking

What's dose is he taking?

debrajo's picture
Posts: 1095
Joined: Sep 2011

You are right! I was up, not sleeping @3am and shoot, I can't spell anyway! I even forget this thing has a spell-check! I typed a short message, hit spell check and the whole thing lit up like a bad PET scan! But he is taking 2 500mg caps twice a day which is more than the average dose, but you cant tell a 26 year old man (or any man) anything. He is red-headed and very fair skinned and the dr. said he probably wouldnt respond well to it due to sensitivity, but he is growing hair on a bald head that has been that way since he was 18! Please check with your dr....I'm not sure just what Biotin is made up of. Best, Debrajo

CindyGSD's picture
Posts: 191
Joined: Aug 2011

Just as we know that heat or hot water probably makes the hair fall out faster, I wonder if it also makes the hair grow in quicker. I've been taking a lot of hot showers lately. ;o)


debrajo's picture
Posts: 1095
Joined: Sep 2011

Don't know for every one(they sure are good for chemo aches!), but his dr. said nothing that drys the scalp out is good. My son just has normal hair, but his dr. also told him to use only the deepest moisturizing shampoo and rinse even if you don't have any hair at all since the scalp must be kept soft for new hair growth to get a good start. Don't know if it helps, but he was told not to wear his caps all the time, the scalp needs to breath, but NOT out in the sun. Best debrajo

Posts: 28
Joined: Dec 2011

I'm in the middle of six rounds of carbo/ taxel. My hair started falling out two weeks after the first treatment, so I just shaved it all off. I tried the caps and hats and bald head look, gave up and started buying wigs. Finding the right ones is really difficult. Many are stiff and hot. I now buy only Raquel Welch memory cap wigs because they are comfy for all day wear and look natural. They are my cancer indulgence, since I have stage 4 and who knows what's ahead. At least I can enjoy looking "normal" even if I don't feel it!

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2013

I am on Carbo/ Taxol. I have had 7 treatments and have 3 to go. I have not lost my hair yet. It has thinned out but not enough to worry about. I washed my hair with cold water and baby shampoo. 

jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

Seriously.....still have hair?  Never ever heard this one and boy are you one lucky gal.  Most difficult part at my beginning of the journey was HAIR LOSS.  Generally loose after day 14 from first infusion.

Wondering why...hum?





NoTimeForCancer's picture
Posts: 2215
Joined: Mar 2013

I remember crying when I heard I would lose my hair.  It was about day 10 after my first taxol/carboplatin when I just stood outside my house, shook my hair with my fingers and saw it fall and blow away gently in the breeze.  I hoped at least a bird would find it helpful when building their nest for their young!

A few days later my girlfriends and I all cried when my wig shop shaved my head.  A week or so later I was sitting in the church for a funeral for a 34 year old young man and all saw the very proud and BEAUTIFUL African American women with their closely shaved heads and asked myself, "Why I am I hiding under this wig?"  The following Monday I asked a bald man at work to get a few other of the bald (and secure) men to surround me in a picture of me without the wig.  It means the WORLD to me.  My mother loves it.  (BTW - I am the one wearing lipstick) and one of my great friends said he gave it to a man who put a copy on his desk because he didn't want to lose his hair and it helped him. 

I wore a wig thoughout this whole treatment though so others didn't view me as "sick".  Since there was a break in my chemo, shaving my head the second time was not as traumatic, and because I say my body got used to the poison, not all of my hair fell out the second round and I had wispy hairs around the sides and back, the "Larry Fine" look!  One year after surgery now and I have closed the wig shop in my second bathroom and since short hair is very hip right now, sporting the doo of the season! 

I agree with others here though, losing eye lashes was the most difficult thing.  I remember going to visit my mother and while washing my face saw some lashes in the sink and knew, sadly, these were next to go.

Everyone told me it would grow back, and while it did, it still really was devasting when it happened.  I hated that people would say that to me, and start to say it will grow back curly or something.  I had loved my hair and didn't want anything but what I had!  Maybe I wasn't as fearless as other in this area as others.  Let's just call it like it is:  IT SUCKS!   

I didn't like being bald but I knew it was because we were killing the demand who chose to take haven in my body.  If it meant killing the devil than I would sacrifice my hair!!


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