Sore scalp

Looking for advice, if anyone can help? Lost my hair after my second chemo, which was a big relief as my head was very sore and itchy. However, after my third dose last week, my head became incredibly sore again - which I wasn’t expecting! Six days on I can’t bear to touch it; wearing a wig or hat is totally out of the question, and a casual whack from the 4-yr old had me in tears (much to her horror, and mine). Finding this very hard to live with. It feels like my skin is badly burned, but from the inside! Has anyone else found this; or even better, found anything that helps?

Help! Stockbeck

Hiya Stockbeck,

Like yours, my hair fell out after my 2nd chemo (epi). I thought that would be it and was relieved as it was v. painful. However, when I went for my final epi last weds I was told that my hair could still come out some more! This doesn’t seem to have happened so far though. Its a worry that you feel like your head has been burned but from the inside. It may sound mad but are you still washing your hair at the mo? I was advised to continue washing mine but with a gentle baby shampoo and also to ensure that I used conditioner too. Also, at first I regularly smothered my head in baby oil. Now I massage E45 into my scalp every day and it seems to be ok (fingers crossed!).

Sorry if this is just a load of waffle and no use to you at all (chemo brain at the mo!),

Take care,


Chemo brain - doncha love it, so many funny stories. I pushed my shopping half way home from the supermarket the other day before a kind passer-by asked me why I still had the supermarket’s trolley with me. Did I feel silly going back with it!

Yes, I do still wash my “hair” under the shower, and use loads of E45 cream which is soothing - but not soothing enough at the moment! Taking paracetamol helps with the pain, but I do worry for my poor old liver, trying to deal with another chemical. Still, it has less red wine to cope with these days - it should be grateful.


Hi - I have had periods of hideous burning and itching - I call it the demonic ant attack - horrid. i gave up using shampoo and just use emulsifying ointment (cheaply bought at the chemists) this can be used on your whole body if your skin is drying out (mind you don’t slip in the shower!!)

I have finally finished the Epi and moved onto CMF. I’ve been told this is less toxic so hopeful the demonic ants will go.

hope this helps - good luck with your treatment.

Hello Stockbeck

I lost about 90% of my hair after my first chemo. However I never shaved my head. The hair which was left fell out very gradually throughout chemo and every time a bit more fell out I had some itching and soreness.
It was never as bad as you and Swanie describe though.

I washed my hair/scalp every morning using Neutrogena T/Gel shampoo for sensitive scalp which apparently is gentler than baby shampoo and I conditioned every day with Simple conditioner for sensitive scalp.

My favourite hat throughout was a sleep cap made of lightweight terry cotton. I have 2 of these so I would always have one clean and I wore them constantly in the daytime. they were very gentle and comforting on my head. I’m wearing one for warmth as I type this even though my hair is growing back now. I got my sleep caps from - a site which specialises in headwear for chemo patients. they’re a USA site but they get the stuff to you very quickly.

Good luck

I had a look at the site yesterday after I spotted a recommendation elsewhere in the forums. They have some very nice stuff, don’t they? I’m thinking of getting some of those groovy stick-on eyebrows …

Told the oncologist this morning about the burning scalp, and he was deeply unimpressed. OK for him, it’s not his head! As he has very short hair and a receeding hairline I comforted myself with the thought that MINE will grow back while HIS continues to fall out. Ha!

Swanie, thanks for the demonic ant image. Now I’m imagining tiny demonic ants (orange ones) crawling round my body gobbling up cancer cells.

Cheers. Stockbeck

Hee hee…that made me augh…now I know what to expect…wonder if I can train those ants…hee hee!

Hi Stockbeck,

Not had the same thing as you but have posted elsewhere regarding hair actually starting to grow back again: theres no stopping my hair it seems! When I have my 3rd tomorrow Im wondering if I’ll have a similar type of reaction to you and other people with it becoming sore again and then my stubble falling out! Well, it’ll save me from shaving again!