This varies a lot for everyone, just as everyone's hair varies in general. Some people's hair grows fast, some slow, some thick, some fine... One thing's for sure – after having lost your hair to chemo, it can never grow back fast enough! You're going to have to have some patience here.
If you haven't yet begun chemo, there's a new device effective at preventing hair loss in many women, and you should ask your doctor about it. For more information, please read our post, New Therapy May Prevent Hair Loss Due To Chemo.
Your hair can actually start to grow back during treatment, though that doesn't usually happen. Within a month of finishing, though, you should start to see some fine, downy hair on your head. The entire process will be gradual; I wouldn't expect anything even approaching "normal" hair for 6 months, and then it'll be like a boys' cut - maybe a couple of inches long.
Interestingly, your hair almost always grows back different than it was – a different color, and/or curly if it was straight, straight if it was curly.
Best of luck if you're about to start chemo – make sure to check out our Chemo Guide for lots of helpful information.
It depends - if you have had Taxotere this drug can and does cause permanent hairloss and after case studies shows that its really permanent and nothing can be done.
For anyone thats had taxotere i am part of a support/action group and if you would like to join us please let me know. You dont have to do anything but there are alot of women on there very active so you will be able to keep up todat with the research etc that we are getting on with.
I finished my 6 mos. of chemotherapy in mid October of this year. The last three month was weekly treatments of Taxotere. During this treatment my hair actually began to grow back. It is now about 1 inch long on the sides and 1/2 in long on the top. I had light brown hair with quite a bit of gray which I did color prior to losing it so I really don't know how much gray hair I really had. Now most of the re-growth is white or very light gray with a little black. I am hoping that some of my original color will return but the way it looks now I would be surprised. I can't tell yet what the texture will be. Sometimes I think it will be curly but other times it stands straight up on the top. I guess I will just have to wait and see. I am just happy to be finished the chemo and happy to have my hair growing back.
It's an interesting process, watching your hair grow back. I think most of us experience a change in color, one that may become less pronounced in time. I'd doubt you'd ever go back to your exact original color, but it might trend more that way as the months go by. And if it comes back curly, I think most of us find the curliness dissipates from "Harpo Marx" into more of a gentle wave. Anyway, glad you've finished, and enjoy your new hair! PJH
Hi, i was so sorry and sad to read your message. I was told around my 3 month check up, after rads, that they had contacted Sanofi and that it was now classed as permanent. Its devasted all of us in our group on we strugle but we are of massive support to each other.
In France, it is so widespread and common that 3 months ago they started an official survey. They had to inform Sanofi of what they were doing and Sanofi we not happy about it. Which just goes to show their true intentions doesnt it! anyway the survey will finish about May next year - so when they have the numbers from that i think something will kick off because they are not happy about whats happening to alot of their female patients. They say that when sorting their patients treatments they also consider how they are going to live their lives afterwards so they are finding these figures difficult to work with. I have started my compensation claim for this disfiguremnt with the full backing of my team. They have given me paper work which states i have grade 111 alopecia caused by taxotere. Sanofi have always said it can happen but they have lied and covered up the true % so hopefully next year something will be done.
If you would like to contact the support group you can email everyone at this address
Admin, i dont know if email addresses are allowed but please could you leave this on please its not a personel address. Many thanks
It's fine, Shirley. Thanks so much for reaching out to help. I hope you both find some resolution here - and that your hair does eventually grow back. I'm so sorry you're having to go through this... PJH
I'm glad that physiclaly you're doing well - but your soul needs to heal, too. I hope, with time, that this happens. And yeah, it would be a big plus if you got your hair back, like you did after the first treatment. Sending you all the best healing energy in hopes that'll happen - PJH
Hi, I am going through the same and I am also afraid that my hair isn't coming back I however did not loose all my eyelashes or eyebrows only some so I had fake eyelashes that last for 3 moths and it has made me feel much better because I chose longer eyelashes than what I normally have I wish I could talk to you by phone, I live in Germany Munich and I could call you if back if you call me, it cost me nothing to call the States my number is 0049 89 6494 6494 my name is Veronica, if you like to talk I would really like it :0)
Veronica, we all have different experiences with losing, and then regaining, our hair. If you're afraid it's not coming back - trust me, it will. Probably not the same (may be curly, or a different color), but it'll happen. We don't do phone calls here, but please join our next live online chat: Thursday, April 29, 7:30-9 p.m. US Eastern time (which would probably be 4 hours' differnt than you, perhaps?) Stay tuned for information about how to sign up. Good luck - PJH
Thanks so much for your input here, A. It's great to hear about other women's positive experiences! PJH
Hi my name is Patty I'm a year out from chemo and had my last herceptin treatment in Dec of 2009. I understand how you feel, and only someone that has been through this journey trually understand the feeling of loosing hair eyelashes eyebrows....I have struggled with it all but my hair is about 3 inches dark brown I have always had light blond staight hair I wont say it still isnt hard but it get easier with time...I have a nice wig and that has helped alot of people ask me where I got my hair done I tell them its a wig and they don't believe it...wig is somewhere if you can don't scrime....you being so young I'm sure it's harder I'm 53 so at your tender age I can only imagine but we get through our journeys in life....be patient with yourself be kind to yourself and I wish you all the best in all you do....Patty
Patty, thanks for sharing your thoughts here. It's clear you have a good heart, and a great perspective on life. Peace - PJH
First of all, for your bravery, and your vigilance, I say thanks. I am so sorry to hear about what has happened to you, and many other women who have taken Taxotere. I was recently diagnosed w/ Her 2+ breast cancer, and I may have to undergo a regimen using that drug, in combination w/ Carboplatin and Herceptin. To date, have you been able to determine what you have in common w/ the other women (besides Taxotere), that are also experiencing permanent hair loss? Perhaps you share the same age, racial background, diagnosis, the drug combination, or perhaps it is just the drug itself. Do you have insights, or new information from your support group?
I would like to know more. I had breast cancer 2 years ago and leukemia 1 year ago. I was on taxotere and since then my hair has grown back very, very thin and sparse. Im 42 and don't know what to do about my hair. I used to wear wigs, but in Hawaii it gets very hot and frustrating. So I stopped using them and use a bandana instead. If anyone has any ideas, I could really use them.
Hi, thanks. No there is no other common factor, its either when Taxotere has been used on it own or mostly when combined with other chemo drugs - i want to stress here that the drugs company sanofi do know about this problem but dont think its worth mentioning. They think its far too important to keep raking the money in!
There are new independant studies been carried out, the conclusion is always the same -Taxotere, but the drugs company REFUSE to carry out their own study so they can keep on ignoring it poo hooing the independant ones and refusing to talk to oncologists in France about it!
You might want to ask your doctor and hair dresser about a line of hair products called Nioxin that are supposed to help thinning hair. I have heard that some post-chemo women have had good results from it. I don't know if there are other brands with the same active ingredient.
Your hair will probably keep changing. Mine came back curly at first and gradually got straighter; it's still finer than it used to be. So hope that the changes are to thicker hair. Wearing the scarves is a good idea because wearing wigs sometimes affects the way hair grows back--too much pressure and not enough air for the hair follicles to do their best. Your body, including your hair, has been through a lot with treatment for two consecutive cancers. It's going to take a while to recover. Stay well!
Interested that you just started your chemo and are only have 4 rounds - sounds like me..... can I correspond with you outside of this board?
You can send a private message to a poster on these boards by clicking on her name, and then you will see any other information the person has chosen to share about herself as well as a link to click to send a message. That message will not show on the public boards, and the person will receive an email that she has a message. Keep in mind that many of the posts may be over a year old. and not everyone is still following messages here.
I had my four ronds last year but I would love to talk to you or discuss any questions you have. Are you having surgery as well? Ihave some great imformation related to that. I look forward to hearing from you.
Hi Veronica, My name is Tina, and I just finished my chemo 1 month ago. I too have been treated with the taxotere drug and have loss my hair within 14 days after 1st treatment. My doctor assured me, all my hair will grow back fuller and thicker, and I think that's what I holding on to along with Faith and Prayer. I will pray for you, and hope GOD will give you what you stand in need of. My hair is baby bald (smooth) and Hopefully by my 48th birthday in june I can go without the wig. Stay Blessed. Tina
Tina, I'll bet your hair will be thick enough and long enough that you won't have to wear your wig by June. Probably it won't be long - and a good chance of it being curly - but you'll no longer be bald or "crew cut." Blessings to you - PJH
On March 15th 2010 I finished 6 rounds of taxotere/cytoxan. In the middle of April the hair on my sides and back of my head started to come in. The top of my head stayed bald till July when some hair came in. It is almost one year since chemo has finished, I am still wearing a wig. Side and back of head very thin, top of head even less hair, close to bald up there. My doctor said it was not the chemo causing this but I have a hormone imbalance that caused this. I had very thick, long hair before chemo. Now that I have read about risk of perminant hair loss with taxotere on many web sites, I am convinced it is the taxotere that caused the hair loss not my hormones. I hate the thought of wearing a wig for the rest of my life.
Mary, I'm sorry you're having to go through this. I'd bet it's a case of Taxotere causing your hair to fall out, and lack of hormones (due to drugs) preventing it from growing back in. Perhaps once you've finished with the hormone drugs your hair will thicken again. It probably will never be what it once was, but hopefully better than it is now... Take care- PJH
You could try wearing a ball cap...I know I have never been a hat person even when I had my hair but now I have gotten used to wearing one now...cause wearing a wig it does get hot. That's what I wear most of the time...
Thanks for adding your advice here - it's always useful to hear from someone who's "been there." I found a ball cap was my best option, too; never liked the idea of a wig, so never even tried it. Good luck going forward - I hope you soon have a new head of hair! PJH
does any one no how long it takes for your body hair i last treatment was 13 days ago how long does the chemo last in side you .
Up to several months, Macky - it'll take a year or more for all your hair to grow back to what you might consider normal. And that will be your "new normal" - I'd wager your hair will never be the same as it once was; though, for body hair (armpits, legs), that can be a blessing in disguise! PJH
One of the hair products I use is called "Mega Growth". You can get it at Walmart or any store and it does wonders. I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer Feb. 6 of this year, and started to take the "Chemo" pill. I lost patches of my hair so we shaved it. Stopped the pill April 23 and started to use "Mega Growth" and my hair now is about 1/8" long now. Very thick and dark and has some gray, but it really does work. I use 2X a day. Hope this helped you.
I'm glad your hair is coming back nicely, Tammy. Not sure it wouldn't have come back just as nicely even without Mega Growth, but so long as your oncologist knows you're taking it and approves - can't hurt, right? Good luck - I hope you continue to do well. PJH
Rebecca, most people will have all their hair come back, often a different color or texture from the hair they had before. Often the first hair is baby-fine peach fuzz, so I don't think you need to panic yet. I finished chemo in November, and it was March before I felt I had enough hair to go out in the world without a wig or hat. My new hair was curly, and it took me a while to learn to style it because my hair had always been straight before. Over the years, it gradually went back to straight again. Many other chemo survivors I talk to have similar experiences.
Will hair grow back like before??
For many people the hair will grow back a different texture. My previously straight hair came back curly. Sometimes the hair will come back lighter, grayer, or darker than before. Often the first hair to grow in will be soft and downy like a babies followed by thicker hair. Over the years, my hair has gone back to its original straight. There is a lot of variation, so no one can predict how yours will grow back, just that it will.
Hi, I am a 44 year old woman who just finished my last chemo treatments in jan. Along with being dianosed with breast cancer, I was also ending a marrriage of 22 years. Prior to treatments I had thick long dark hair that reached my waist. I also lost my eyelashes as well as my eyebrows. The eyelashes and eyebrows grew back quickly. My hair is about 2 inches long now. I bought a wig at the beginning of my treatments, I used false eyelashes, I drew in my eyebrows and did whatever I could to feel attractive and desirable again. Of course I was happy and very thankful to be alive but quality of life is important too. Why should we not utilize all the products and tools that are available to beautify ourselves the same way other healthy women do. You do whatever makes you feel whole and happy. There are gorgeous wigs that are available now, just find one that works for you. I also go through periods where I am emotionally drained but that is normal because look at what we are fighting.
Jivan, I am so sorry that you had to combine the stress of ending your marriage with the stress of cancer. It sounds like you found some good ways to cope with the devastation of losing your long hair. I had trouble drawing on eyebrows until the lady at the department store cosmetic section gave me some tips on how to draw more natural looking brows. I hope you gradually get back your strength--physical and emotional. You seem to be well on your way. Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm sure it will encourage other people.
I'm so sorry that you are feeling so devastated. I know how you feel, I had chemo and now have short patchy hair and painfully peeling fingernails. I'm also taking estrogen blockers, which make me feel hot-flashy all of the time, so a wig is out of the question. I feel like chemo sent me into my old age - I was happily middle-aged before, but still felt good about myself. Now, it's all over. I'm just an old lady with a chemo cap. I can recommend 'The Abby Cap' as a cover-up, from Amazon.com. It seems like the best of the cover-up caps, not too tight, frames the face with a little volume and it comes in a lot of colors. (No, I don't work there or own the Abby Cap company.) It just made me feel better. About Latisse... the thing about that is it can permanently cause your eye color to darken, so if you have green or blue eyes, you might not want to use it unless you don't mind having brown eyes. It doesn't do that to everyone, but, it does do it to a certain percentage of users - enough that it's in the product warning.
Good luck, hope we can stay healthy.
Joyce, your hair can actually start to grow back during chemo, though that doesn't usually happen. It should start growing back pretty quickly, though. It'll be gradual; I wouldn't expect anything even approaching "normal" hair for 6 months, and then it'll be like a boys' cut - maybe a couple of inches long. Also, if it was curly before it may come in straight; if straight, it may come in VERY curly, so be prepared for a brand new hairstyle! And color, too. Good luck - PJH
I was surprised to see my hair starting to grow back and I am still doing chemo - Taxol and biological - Herceptin - I am surprised since there is estrogen blocking going on! It is like baby duck down - my hair was very thick and grew quite fast before. Also I lost almost all of my eyebrows and I can see them coming in too - like 5 oclock shadow on a man, and I can feel stubble on my legs. One advantage was no facial hair plucking or shaving ;-) but I'll be glad to get my hair back! Thanks, PJH, for your comments - I was wondering what was going on - the odd thing is that my chemo is really effective, but my immune system is unharmed - that with the hair growth is curious. Anybody else have a similar experience?
Comments from the Annex
Yes, I've heard from several cancer buddies that their hair started growing back even before they were done chemo. It's counter-intuitive, but there you have it - the body works in strange and mysterious ways! PJH
It's going to depend on what type of chemo that you received. I had Adriamyacin, Taxotere and Cytoxin.
My last treatment was on Sept. 18th. It's Dec. 18th, and I have 1/4" stuble. Prior to chemo, my hair was light brown with silver streaks; and it was very straight. It's coming in black, and it looks like it might have a little curl too.
I finished chemo on 9-21-09, TAC and this week I have started to feel 'pings' in my head like follicles are poping through my scalp. Has anyone else felt that? Ping, ping, ping all day long.
Well, that sounds promising... I don't remember feeling that, but we're all different. Your hair must be anxious to get growing again. Now comes the fun part - what'll it be? Straight, or curly? Red, black, blonde...? Be prepared for some surprises! PJH
Well, it's been 10 months since chemo ended and my hair started growing back. It's still a lot darker than pre-chemo. Am upset because the super straight hair prior to chemo, is now nothing but frizz. So frizzy in fact that I wash it and put the close fitting cap (that black people use) to make it lie straight. So it looks as though I will continue to wear my "best friend" wig for a long time to come. Dr. says it still may change. Sure hope so.
Are you saying that it didn't start to really grow back until after 10 months? I would like to know if anyone had to wait 10, 12 14 months before it really kicked in. I have been finished with chemo for 10 months and I still have very thin hair on the top and sides. I can see my scalp. I wonder if women write on the message boards in a panic at 6 months but then don't come back to say it turned out ok eventually? Maybe I'm grasping at straws.
It took me about 6 months post-chemo to grow about 1" of hair. It came in curly, but now is calmed down. And it never did come back as thick as it once was; it's OK, just thinner where it used to be thicker. Unfortunately, there's apparently not much to be done; hope you see some improvement in the next year... PJH
I finished chemo in November and went to work without a scarf or wig for the first time in March, but it was still very thin and short, like a boy's haircut. I have a picture of me the following July with it looking OK--short and curly. I don't remember how long it took before I had my first haircut following chemo. Your hair may never be as thick as it was before, but I think you will continue to see progress over the next few months. It's hard to compare notes about this because everyone is different.
Sorry to tell you but I have been off Taxotere for over 12 months and I look like a monk. Reasonable hair growth around sides and back - very little on top. Certainly not a good look for wearing in public. I have actually had to have the back and sides cut so they don't stick out under the wig. I was on Taxotere for 2 1/2 years - once every three weeks. Have now been on Xeloda tablets for almost 1 1/2 years. Hair started to grow back very thin and fine almost as soon as Taxotere stopped, but no new growth for almost 12 months. I thought eyebrows and eyelashes were growing back, but only one or two have reappeared - although leg and pubic hair have grown back to some extent. I never had much underarm hair.
After my first chemo nearly 10 years ago (but not Taxotere) hair grew back quickly with lots of curl which stayed until I lost hair this time around. I have never minded losing my hair, but the fact that it doesn't look like it is going to grow back is really getting to me. Hadn't heard before I saw this forum that Taxotere is being blamed for permanent hair loss.
Pooh, it might not be the Taxotere per se, but simply the cumulative duration of your chemo. I know other women who haven't taken Taxotere but, like you, have had multiple rounds of chemo; and their hair is very thin. I'm so sorry you're going through this - cancer comes with all kinds of challenging, discouraging side effects, and I truly wish there was more doctors could do about this one. Take care - PJH
Just found this site, very helpful. I had my BC dx 12/09, neoadjuent chemo AC x 4 and Taxotere x 4 starting 1/10 to 6/10. Surgery to follow. I finished chemo by 6/10. By 12/10 I had stubble. Hair growth very very slow for me. To date, 4/12 I have very very thin stringy hair that you can see my scalp thru. I responded very well to the chemo and my hair and my onc. said it should have come back! My stubble followed by stringy hair slowly grew only on the sides and back, nothing in the crown or top. I have to say, I have worn hats, scarves, and now wigs for almost 2 years this June. I am very disgusted at this outcome for my hair but I am healthy and have almost 3 years. post dx with no recurrences.
I have yet to go in public without covering my head. Anyone else in my boat?
Linda, I know there are many other women experiencing severely thinning hair from chemo - not just Taxotere. We all react differently to it - and there's no predicting what our reaction will be, how long side effects (lasting effects) will continue, or if things will improve (or not). It's all one big roll of the dice, unfortunately. Please don't give up hope; it took me about 9 years to get over some of the lasting effects from chemo, and others I don't think will ever leave me. But while you're alive, there's hope; hold onto it. Take care - PJH
You girls have enlightened and education a sister who is new to the chemotherapy process. Taxotere is not one of meds and I will be sure to discuss this indetail with my oncologist should she suggest it. I guess I should see this as a blessings because I never lost all of my hair. I buzzed it because it was falling out at a high rate of speed and the length made it worse. That happened 16 days into treatment. My hair is now growing like a weed and at week 6 is com able but not cute. The hair that didn't fall out is about 1 1/2 inches long and the the hair that fell out is like a 3 day stubble that a man gets when he doesn't shave.
My oncologist believes that my continued vitamins regimen, B complx, 2 fish oil capsules, Vitamin D 2000 units and one multi-vitamin had alotto do with at in concert with the galloon of water I drink every day. Again, I'm new and have only had three treatments. I was hoping that sharing the vitamin regimen might help a sister.
Claudia, thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience here. I'm glad the vitamins seem to be helping you; you mention your oncologist knows about the vitamins, which is important: even vitamins and supplements can affect how chemo acts in your system, so it's critical that your doctor knows about EVERYTHING you're taking. Good luck as you continue through treatment - PJH
I have a brain tumour and needed chemo & radiotherapy at the same time, my chemo was oral, because everyday I was having radiotherapy on my head, i was told that i'd lose my hair because of the radio not the chemo and that it would never grow back, with all that i was facing it was the least of my worries, when it started to fall out I asked a friend to shave my head for me which she did, it was strange but didn't concern me too much. My hair grew back in patches where there had been no radiotherapy so i continued to shave it. I was using mens hair clippers but my scalp was still sore, so my friend suggested i try a ladyshave which I did, i shaved it 3 times and then left because it appeared to be growing all over, very fine at first and slightly thicker, it is now shoulder length, but still a little thin at the front where my surgery scar is. So I got my hair back against the odds, but the best news is I have outlived my original prognosis by 19 months.I know this doesn't directly relate to the question asked, but I wanted to share my story and give hope to those now dealing with this despicable disease.xxxx
Jo, thank you SO much for sharing here. It's a huge help and comfort to others going through a similar experience to hear from someone who's been there – and come out the other end intact, so to speak. I wish you all the best as you continue with your journey. May you continue to outlive your prognosis for many, many years! PJH
Wow, Jo! What a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing both the hair regrowth and the survival parts of your experience. Shoulder-length hair despite the odds. It just shows that each person's experience really is unique, and that predictions are just averages of groups of people. May you continue to outlive your prognosis with many more years of health.
Hi, I have been on nab paclitaxol, 2 weeks on and 1 week off for 3 rounds. When my hair started falling out after about 10 days I bought Liquid Silica (Swisse brand has the strongest dose). I used to take Silica regularly but had stopped. No more hair fell out once I started the Silica and I kept my eyebrows and lashes. I wish I had taken it earlier before the chemo, might not have lost so much hair? The hair that was left is growing slowly after I buzzed it to 1/2 inch. My husband also finally started taking Silica and his hair has filled in wonderfully at the front and at the back crown. I would try this supplement before and after any chemo, it protects skin, nails and cartilage as well. It is now 2 1/2 weeks since my last chemo (I don't want any more) and I am hoping soon that the follicles that were damaged will start producing hair again so it gets thicker. I will keep you posted.
Be well and happy.
Thanks for your feedback here, Lucelle. I have to acution you - I trust you discussed taking this with your oncologist. While under cancer treatment, it's VERY important that you inform your medical team of any medicine, supplement, or vitamin you start taking, as some can potentially interfere with your treatment. Good luck - I hope your hair grows back quickly! PJH
Rebecca, I'm betting your hair will grow back in different in texture/color than what it was before - curly if it was straight, maybe straight if it was curly, maybe darker or lighter - but hopefully you won't see much noticeable hair loss. If you take an aromatase inhibitor, however (Aromasin, Femara, or Arimidex), you may very well experience some pretty significant thinning of your hair – so be prepared for that, OK? Best of luck to you - PJH
I had about an inch of hair after four months, so it sounds to me that it is too soon to panic about the hair. The stress, the Tamoxifen, and your own natural hair growth rate may be making your hair regrowth slower than some other women's. You could ask your hair dresser about shampoos like Nioxin that are supposed to help hair growth. It didn't help me much, but my hairdresser told me she had customers who saw a significant improvement. We have a picture of me eight months after treatment with short, curly hair that looks pretty good. Hang in there! Most women do get all of their hair back, even in the places where they would have been happy for it to stay away! For a while I thought I might never have to shave under my arms again, but eventually even that came back!