If you lose your hair during cancer treatments, you may be a little confused over how to take care of this new skin. Vin Diesel and Chris Daughtry have it down, obviously, but if you’ve never before taken care of the skin on your scalp, how do you go about it now?
All skin is fragile during chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and the scalp even more so, as it’s probably never been so “naked” before and may be a little tender and sensitive. So forget regular harsh shampoos and opt for a more caring approach-one you would take toward baby skin.
Shampoos are out. Would you wash your face and hands with shampoo? Not usually, so either skip the shampoo or find an extremely gentle formula. Some doctors suggest baby shampoo for cancer patients, which is probably okay, particularly if you have some hair left. Another good option-California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo & Bodywash. Or, just use the same chemical-free cleanser you’re using on your face on your head. Massage gently like you would if you were washing your face.
Cover up. You’re probably already applying sunscreen to your face. If you’re going out bare-headed, put some on your scalp as well. Have you ever seen a scalp-burn? (Ouch!) Even if the sun is hiding, dangerous UV rays can still penetrate skin that’s not used to sun exposure, raising your risk of painful burns, skin damage and skin cancer. A good one to try: Soleo Organics SPF 30 chemical-free formula. You can also cover up with a hat, scarf, or wig.
Moisturize. Hair conditioner helped moisturize your scalp before. Now, without the protection of hair, your scalp will need moisture more than ever. You can use the same moisturizer you use on your face on your scalp. (Make sure it’s a gentle formula, preferably organic and free of our 21 ingredients to avoid.) Apply at least two times a day, preferably more while you’re going through treatment, since chemotherapy and radiation are drying to the skin. Moisturizer will help keep your scalp smooth, comfortable, and wrinkle-free. Try Dr. Alkaitis Scalp Oil or Balm Balm’s Face Balm for dry, sensitive skin-no chemicals in these!
Treat. You know all those things that happen to your face that you don’t like-breakouts, dry skin, oily patches? The same thing can happen to your scalp. If your scalp is having a hard time adjusting to being without hair and is challenging you with skin problems, consider a scalp treatment at your local spa. Tell them you have cancer and ask for chemical-free products, and then enjoy a nice scalp massage and possibly a light exfoliation to get rid of dead skin cells. The Mirror Image Day Spa in Deluth, Minnesota, for example, offers a scalp treatment that lasts for 35 minutes, and includes heated oils rich in emollients to help moisturize and nourish. You’ll come away feeling refreshed, and the skin on your head will look healthier and smoother. If you want to do it yourself at home instead, try Simply Organic Scalp Spa, an at-home treatment that helps rejuvenate and soothe the scalp.
Do you have some great tips on caring for the scalp? Please share with us.
Photo courtesy Bald Products via Flickr.com.