There is nothing so daunting as entering the unknown – and lets face it, chemotherapy to most is a whole world of unknown. From working out what your results mean, to the type of chemo drug you are on and its possible side effects – its enough to make anyone’s head spin. Add to that how you cope with life in general during treatment and working out whether you want to wear a wig, hat, headscarf or turban should your hair fall out and there is no surprise that the smallest things to those not going through chemo, are huge, scary tasks to those who are.
Over the years I have had numerous conversations with clients regarding their situation and the right solution for them. There have been those who want to be totally prepared and will buy hats and trendy chemo headscarves for when the inevitable hair loss happens, those who panic the day before their first treatment and want something expressed out to them because they fear their hair will all fall out immediately after their appointment, and those who take everything in their stride, working through the hurdles as they appear.
Selecting the right chemo headwear can seem quite daunting, there are lots of tips and recommendations from cancer patients and charities but what works for one person is not the right solution for another. Having said that, there are a few pointers which are food for thought for all:
1. If you want to be prepared for hair loss, buy only 1 hat first. This will give you the confidence that you have something for when the time comes, and when it does happen – my best tip is to then try a few options out. Trying chemo hats and head scarves on when you have hair is very different to when you don’t. Things that you think get covered, may not be, for example, the top of your neck and hairline around your face can be exposed with some designs which might make you feel self conscious or vulnerable. When you have hair, you don’t realise what a difference this makes.
2. Be kind to your skin! Bamboo whilst is a lovely material, it doesn’t keep its shape well after washing and some manmade fibres can irritate the skin so if you have a sensitive scalp, use some non-allergenic body lotion to soothe the skin and buy chemo hats or a head scarf made from natural materials. Our sleep hats are made from 100% jersey cotton, specifically for sensitive skin.
3. Not all chemo hats are the same – some are too small, some designs stick to your head like a second skin, others have no shape to them. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good one, but don’t be frightened to try a few different designs to see which one suits you
4. Be Bold – its natural to want to go for a neutral colour palette such as black, grey or cream, but a few sessions into your treatment, your skin tone can change and these colours can wash you out. You don’t have to go for bright orange, but a warm colour such as a soft pink, plum or olive will give you a bit of a lift. Our baby blue lucy cancer hat is a really popular colour too
5. Chemotherapy hats are not just for the daytime – they can be used at night time too, in fact when you lose your hair, you can get quite cold at night as a result so a sleep hat works wonders. We make two types, a single layer and a double layer which is reversible.
If you can visit a shop like ours or if the hospital where you are receiving treatment runs a workshop where you can try different scarves and hats on and learn how to tie a chemo head scarf, give it a try – its not as scary as it might seem, the teams are usually very welcoming and will do all they can to help you through a tough time.