Thin Hair

I had my last chemo (Tax) in January; my hair seemed to take ages to spurt some growth but now it’s got going it’s about 3ins long WOW!!! The fact it’s short doesn’t bother me, as for years I wore my hair in a cropped style, however before my treatment it was in a medium bob so I do sometimes mourn my loss. What IS worrying me is - my hair is very thin and you can see my scalp. I had expected by now, afterall it’s 10 months since my last chemo, to have a healthy head of hair, instead I have thin poor quality hair.
Has anyone else experienced the same, and if so do you have any positive comments? Can anyone recommend a product or treatment? I’m fed up of wearing a wig each time I go out! It’s really getting me down now and I had been doing so well. Thank you.

Hi Libsue,
I wish I were the one offering help: no such luck. I too had tax, the last one in April and now have what I would describe as “male pattern baldness”. It is really really thin at the front, although the back and sides seem a little bit better. I am hoping it will thicken up and grow if I give it some time–right now I only have about an inch. But when I see pictures of other women their hair seems much more normal looking than mine–short, maybe, but thick.
I remember someone on this list saying her gp (I think) had given her something to help, but that was a few months ago (Supertrouper? Cackles? I think it was someone from Benchland…) Anyway, maybe it did help, and they’ll be along soon to give us some tips.
I’d say At least you’re not alone, but that’s small consolation–I’ve learned to hate my wig! Bring on the advice, please, Ladies!

Hi Quail,

Sorry to hear you too still have thin hair, your description suggests yours is the same as mine was three months ago. I had expected over the months my hair would thicken, but alas no! The only positive change is it’s length.

It lowers morale, doesn’t it? Afterall our hair should be our crowning glory. To feel feminine we need healthy hair. It’s now starting to depress me and I find myself crying over it, so annoying as I had been moving forward, now I find myself making excuses not to go out.

I hope someone can offer tips. Thanks so much for answering my post, Quail, it is good to know I’m not alone but I’m sorry you are also suffering.

Unfortunately nearly all BC treatments have an adverse effect on hair - I had FEC and it grew back quite well but thin at the front, then Herceptin which slowed the growth considerably.

I’m now finishing my 4th year of Arimidex and my hair is definitely thinner all over (can’t wear a fringe any more but it looks OK when I get a decent hairdresser to style it forward with a side parting). I also got it coloured darker which seems to make it look better.

Hi Libsue,
and Hi Quail, we do seem to keep finding ourselves on these hair (lack of) threads dont we?
Libsue, sorry I cant offer you anything positive either, just to let you know you are not alone. I am 16+ months post chemo with 4 years to go of Arimidex, and like Quail have ‘male pattern baldness’ which grows at the back and sides, but not much anywhere else, and the hair I have is nothing like as thick as it was before,mits very fine and wispy and slow growing. I did shave it all off a few times earlier this year but that old wives tale about it growing back stronger just isnt true.
Jeniffer, Once mine is a little longer I might try that colouring trick, thanks xx I also hate my wigs and hats dont suit :frowning:
I am seeing my ONC in January and am very seriously considering coming off the Armidex, because, if the chance of the Cancer coming back is only slightly increased by not taking it, I think I would rather have a decent head of hair. After all, I could get knocked down by a bus before the big ‘C’ comes back! (and I’d rather look womanly in the back of Ambulance speeding away from the scene lol) - Sorry if my humour is a little too black

Hi ladies,

Thank you for your posts. As my tumour was triple negative I’m not taking any hormonal therapy drugs, so my thin hair is down to Tax. I will try your suggestion Jeniffer and use a darker hairdye. As yet I’ve not had it cut since treatment, to be honest it’s such a mess I’m too embarrassed to visit a salon, so I’m trying to source a good mobile hairdresser.

Thanks nannabarb for warning me shaving it off and starting again doesn’t work, I now know not to try that! I did hear massaging your scalp with castor oil helps thicken it, but I cannot find any strong evidence. I did try it for a couple of nights but it makes a sorry mess of pillow slips, which I would put up with if there were guarantees it works. Anything is worth a try don’t you think?

I don’t mind my wigs, but after I’ve worn one for a few hours it starts to irritate, and I don’t like the fact that I’m not me - makes me feel false.

I like your attitude nannabarb, bad enough for us losing hair, confidence, and brain cells without losing our sense of humour as well! Keep it going, it made me smile.

Thanks again ladies for taking the time to help.

I’m in the same position, my hair looks ok now, 2.5 years after dx, but it is so much thinner than it was and it really gets me down and I hate seeing photos of my thin rubbish hair when all around me other ladies my age have this glowing thick vibrant mop of hair. I’m going to try nioxin treatments at the hairdressers as I’ve been told they can really help. Worth a go. I found parting it on the wrong side can make it look thicker, and I’ve been known to get my eye make up brush, dip it in my brown mac eyeshadow (which lasts forever and has a good strong pigment) and literally paint my scalp on the visible bits when I am going out. I know it sounds mad, my husband would bow his head in despair when he saw me do it, but it did temporarily make it look that little bit thicker cos the stark White scalp wasn’t radiating through the sparse straggly hair quite so much.

You poor things, I too am thinner on top but it is not too bad so far. The lighter your hair is the less it shows so go for the blonde look!!! It wasn’t me that went to the doctor. I think somebody from the Helpline at BCC knows the number for the tricology gurus… At least I think it is tricology!!!

Nioxin sounds interesting, I’ve just read up on it. Tors, if you do try it will you let us know the outcome please?

Cackles, you may be right in saying blonde is the way to go, as my hair (what I have) has come back curly and silver.


I hope this is going to be ok, me posting a link on here? I just wanted to tell you about a charity which runs locally called ‘cancer hair care’. Its attached to the oncology dept at our local hospital (Lister, Stevenage, Herts), so its not anything dodgy! I have been going there for my hair care, as have other ladies I know locally. Jasmin, the founder is really knowledgeable about the effect of cancer drugs on hair. I dont know whether its of any interest to anyone, but it might be worth a look? I know Jasmin has been trying to roll out a national service for ladies suffering problems with hair, so I know she would welcome anyone phoning them for advice. Web is
Joan xx

Hi libsue- as you can see , there are lots of us out here who have thin sparse hair and feel depressed and sad over the loss of our ‘former glory’.
Like Tors, I now hate to see photos of myself – but most of all I hate the photos of the former Kate Middleton. Her hair is obscene - is it real?!

Joan, thanks for the link, it makes interesting reading and there’s lots of good tips. If only we had such service in my neck of the woods! That said, there is useful info on the site that I shall try. I’m game for anything! I’ve been reading all I can find on the internet and am trying different remedies; today I ‘washed’ my hair in conditioner, as I read that new hair being delicate benfits more from a conditioner wash than shampoo. My curly hair tends towards dryness and the conditioner wash has certainly helped it feel less dry and more elasticised.
Topsymo, I get what you’re saying about ‘Kate’ but people in her position have the benefit of the best hair care, money being no object. However, no amount of money could bring my hair as it is now back to it’s former glory. Sorry to hear you too feel depressed regarding your hair. Let’s all try different remedies, pool them together and see if we can help each other that way.
I’ve decided, after deliberation to wait until at least January before getting a decent cut - there’s little hair for a hairdresser to play with! I’m hoping by the new year to have suffient length and strength for a style to be possible. Meantime - it’s wearing the damned wig!
Thanks ladies for your support and comments, but must add I’m so sorry you too are suffering hair crap!
Will we ever feel like ‘us’ again?

I also suffer from a thin hair. I had TN and had FEC 3 and T 3 in Jan 2011. Perhaps T affected my hair. It has been 20month since I finished T. Everyday, I check my hair to feel the thinness. I often dream a long and thick hair. I am also so much depressed. I have MAX and didn’t bother reconstruction, but the thin hair is more depressing. I just hope that it is simply taking time. For example, one of the nails that was damaged still causes problem. I am trying several conventional treatments for hair growth, such as applying aloe vera gel and virgin olive oil. Or I try to eat lots of vegetables and fruit. try not to shampoo so often, maybe once in a 3 days. So far I don’t see a good effect to report you, but it will simply take time. Some article says that hair growth starts with a fine baby hair, and gradually back to what it was, taking many years. So we shouldn’t give up. Anyway, I am pleased to know that I am not the only one suffering from a thinner hair.

My mums hair thinned through taking statins, not cancer treatment related but she used Alpecin Caffiene shampoo and saw great results. Unsure if this would help chemo hair loss, but might be worth checkingproduct with oncologist to see if suitable. My mum was so distressed by hair loss and is delighted with results. I’m currently on fec x 6 no hair loss after first one yet as tried cold cap, so hoping loss will be minimal.
Good luck to you lovely brave ladies
Maggie x

Morning Ladies
I too now have thin straight hair as opposed to thick wavy hair but I have found a very helpful local hairdresser. I finshed physical treatment end of Jan 2011 and came out of my wig in September. My hairdresser says to massage the scalp not the hair as this increases blood flow to the follicles. The scalp should move. Or stand on your head!!
Also found a shampoo called FAST on internet the other day, bigger Boots stores stock it, was out of stock at mine. You get shampoo & conditioner £25.00 and have to use it everyday but supposed to make hair grow faster as the name suggests. Have a look at it. Would be interested to hear if anybodys tried it.

I also ordered some Philip Kingley Maximiser from QVC and tried that at the weekend and was impressed, definitley gave more volume and fullness to hair.
Hope this might help.
Stella x

I just ordered some Fast shampoo and conditioner from Amazon - last chemo (Docetaxol) next week so I’ll be giving it a try soon. There’s an article in latest Hello mag (11 Feb issue) about hair treatments - they list Fast and another one that looks interesting, LA Science Follicle Stimulating Shampoo. I haven’t minded being bald too much but novelty is definitely wearing off, I really hope it grows back ok!

I have to go out so in a hurry, but wanted to post about Nioxin. I had my hair trimmed four weeks ago and my hairdresser recommended Nioxin shampoo, conditioner and finishing treatment. I’ve een using it for four weeks and it’s made a marked difference. If anyone’s interested I can post more details later.

Yes please Libsue,
I have a friend who tried FAST on her (non cancer affected) thin hair. She used it for 3 months and it made no difference whatsoever :frowning:

Hi nannabarb,

As I understand it F.A.S.T claims to promote growth (lengthwise), whereas Nioxin thickens hair which has thinned for whatever reason. If you go to their website you can use their ‘consultation tool’ which will help you decide which kit to buy (there’s five kits), I was advised by my hairdresser to use kit 2. Nioxin has a guarantee that if you don’t notice a difference after four weeks they will refund your money (not sure if this only applies if bought directly from them). There are websites selling the product at a reduced price - a Google search will throw these sites up.

I’ve been using Nioxin for a month, at first there didn’t seem to be any difference but after four weeks use I can now definitely notice my hair thickening up. If you read reviews - some people claim it’s made no difference, but many say it has. My opinion is it’s a great product, the treatment has not only thickened my hair but also improved the condition. It goes a long way on short hair, I have lots of shampoo and conditioner left, but soon I’ll need to replace the ‘scalp treatment’.

If you decide to buy it , good luck. I hope you get the same result as me.

Thanks Libsue,
I will have a look.
To clarify, my friend that tried FAST actually wanted more length as well, but this didnt happen either, and she used the products religiously.