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Hair Loss from Cancer: Alternatives to Wigs

By HERWriter
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Hair Loss related image Photo: Getty Images

Hair loss from chemotherapy or radiation therapy can be devastating. Many women naturally try wearing wigs during that time period. However, wigs may not work well for one reason or another or a woman simply doesn’t want to wear one all the time.

Luckily, these days there are a number of online businesses that have been started by women who have experienced cancer-related hair loss themselves. They offer a variety of solutions for the loss of one’s hair and usually have other products or services that may help. Below are a handful of websites to explore.

• Headcovers Unlimited at www.headcovers.com
Started by Carol Galland-Wildy, with her daughter Danielle, after her own devastating experience with hair loss after treatment for breast cancer in 1989 when she was 40 years old. This site has wigs, turbans, scarves and other headcovers such as hats with hair and a line of cosmetics specifically intended for those being treated for cancer. There is also a selection of headcovers for children and men.

• Hats, Scarves and More at www.hatsscarvesandmore.com
Started by Nicki Serquina in 1988 after being diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. A hairdresser by trade, Serquina has offered consulting for cancer patients regarding wigs, hats and scarves since 1993. She also owns a beauty salon in Spokane, Wash. Products include turbans, sleep caps, scarves and choices for men, teens and children.

• Hats with Heart at www.hatswithheart.com
Founded in 1993 by Kay Gravett due to her own need, the company has been carried on since her passing “to meet the needs of women enduring the stages of cancer treatment and hair loss due to alopecia, trichotillonmania, lupus, burns and other medical conditions and treatments”. Over 90 percent of their products are hand-sewn by local sewers instead of being mass-produced.

• BeauBeau® head scarves at www.4women.com
Owner Susan Beausang is from a family with three generations of breast cancer survivors and also suffers from alopecia areata. Her products come in a variety of fabrics and scarves and are lined in cotton.

• Just In Time, Inc. at www.softhats.com
Specializes in a variety of hat styles. The owner was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1985 and was drawn to wearing hats instead of wigs because she felt she was pretending to have hair and also found wigs to be itchy and uncomfortable. She set out to design and sew her own 100 percent cotton hat styles and her headcovers focus on comfort and good construction.

Additionally, this forum link from Breastcancer.org has numerous other sites listed. Some offer free or subsidized head coverings:
Forums such as these are a helpful ways to find and connect with other women with cancer and hair loss.

Additional sources:

Why and How Hair Loss Happens

Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s health care and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele are at www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles

Edited by Alison Stanton

Add a Comment4 Comments

Your blog is really good. I think its very beneficial for those who had lose there hairs due to treatment of cancer. And also your stuff is very trendy so I think it will help a lot to needy one. Have a look to this link you can find so many things similar to your blog: http://www.elliebeauty.com/brands/Freetress-Equal-.html

February 7, 2013 - 3:49am

Look for my article tommorrow. It is on cold cap therapy.



June 14, 2011 - 9:50am
EmpowHER Guest

Really helpful blog post!

One solution for hair loss that has not been mentioned here is the use of cold cap hair retention treatment - hair loss as a result of chemotherapy is not inevitable as cold cap treatment can reduce or completely prevent hair loss.

Cooling the scalp during selected chemo regimes restricts the blood flow to the hair follicles and reduces the amount of chemo that reaches them. The caps are linked to a compact refrigeration unit which circulates at -6 degrees C through coolant lines and into the coolant caps. The treatment has a high success rate and is not painful for patients.

Please ask any questions if you want more info :)

- Cool Head Warm Heart

June 14, 2011 - 9:44am

Hi Michelle,

Thanks so much for mentioning my fashion-forward beaubeau scarves. I'd like to mention that my scarves, offered in over 300 fabric styles (silk, rayon, jersey, exercise), are pre-tied and pre-styled. So they are as easy to put on as a baseball cap and yet look like they were professionally tied and styled. They also come in 3 women's sizes and 2 girls' sizes. 4Women.com also offers soft sleep caps and just-released, "the swimbeau" swim cap, all designed to meet the specific needs of women and girls with medical hair loss.

Thanks for mentioning us!
Susan Beausang, 4Women.com

June 14, 2011 - 7:48am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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