There are many caring professionals who are dedicated to offering you a host of specialist hair and scalp services. These can include hair replacements systems, trichology assessments, permanent make up, scalp treatments, nutritional support and more. This section will provide you with an overview of services on offer and where to find help and advice.
Now you may have never heard of some of these services... or know what they can offer, and you may also have concerns about what services are suitable for you from a medical point of view and what services you need to pay for privately or can get help with from the NHS.
In this section we will introduce you to inspiring experts offering the most amazing specialist services especially for people like you who are facing problems with their hair. This is not to say that your medical team cannot offer you support and help with hair concerns, but naturally they are focused upon your medical care, and their hair care advice can be limited.
Hair loss and scalp care issues are a specialist area. Whatever your hair or scalp concern there is an expert waiting to offer you guidance, support and practical advice.
Meet the experts and services that may offer you support: • Please choose a category:
There are some fantastic charities and organisations who can offer you support and practical advice on looking good with hair loss. Some organise workshops with experts, such as make up artists and wig specialists, offering tips on looking good. Ask your care team or Macmillan nurse for details of local groups. The organisations listed below arrange workshops throughout the UK.
Look good, feel better This is a charity supported by the cosmetics industry and they offer workshops throughout the UK. These are well structured and will take you through various aspects of looking good such as wig care, make up tips such as pencilling on eyebrows, image and style ideas. They are run by caring style experts and volunteers.
You will also be given a fantastic free goodie bag of cosmetics and be shown how to use them.
Ask you nurse or take a look on their web site for your local group - booking is essential. This service is free of charge.
The web site has some excellent ideas and a DVD can be ordered with helpfull tips. http://www.lookgoodfeelbetter.co.uk
Head strong HeadStrong is a free service run by the charity Breast Cancer Care. There specially trained volunteers offer practical information and support around hair loss due to cancer treatment, on an individual appointment basis. There helpful sessions offer an excellent opportunity for you to try on head scarves and have a one to one session to discuss your needs.
Cancer Hair Care is working together with HeadStrong to share our knowledge and support to patients. The links below may have been recommended to you during a HeadStrong session. We do hope they are helpful.
Hats and scarves with hair Hot Hair supplies some great hair pieces that are attached to hats and scarves. The links below will take you to some recommended items.
Scarves with hair attached http://www.hothair.co.uk/denim-braided-bandana.html http://www.hothair.co.uk/wavy-bandana.html
Eldora false lashes The team at Eldora are very helpful and supply the largest range of lashes in the UK. Their team are very supportive of ladies with hair loss so if you don’t know what may be right for you email them as they really are great at giving tips and helpful advice. www.eldora.co.uk
Boots sell a fantastic range of easy to use fake eyelashes. New easy strings eyelashes Natural looking eyelashes Fun and funky fake lashes
Organic first aid lotion for irritable scalps Organic Repair Lotion http://www.essential-care.co.uk/organic-repair-lotion-326-0.html
A Make up session may help you to... • Learn how to pencil on eye brows
• Learn to define other features
• Successfully apply false lashes
• Select colours that compliment your wig
• Become confident in your new look
You may not normally be a person who wears lots of make up but when it comes to hair loss, and in particular thinning of eyebrows and eyelashes, make up artists can offer you some great help. Learning how to define other features on the face and pencil on your eyebrows can make such a difference to how you feel about your appearance and give you a great confidence boost.
The great thing about make up is that you can experiment and develop your own style and techniques. Most big department stores offer free one on one advice and consultations ranging from how to apply your eyebrows to offering tips on enhancing your eyes without eyelashes. Private tutorials are also available either at your home or within a private room, salon or spa. A private tutorial or “make up session” will cost from £20.00 upwards or is sometimes free when you commit to a purchase of products.
Most wig shops, trichologists and specialist hair care clinics will know a make up artist who specialises in helping people with hair loss changes – so it’s worth asking.
If you are having skin problems try organic and mineral make ups which tend to be kinder to your skin.
Look Good Feel Better offer free sessions
Look at our section Eyebrows and eyelashes for some more in-depth information
Permanent make up
Permanent make up is a great way to help you:
• Create realistic eyebrows • Define eyes when eye lashes are missing or fine • Create the illusion of eyelashes • Accentuate other features on the face
Permanent make up offers you long term make up for the face. In other words the make up will be permanent much like a tattoo and will normally gradually fade. It is not available on the NHS and is offered at specialist clinics, salons and spas.
Prices really do vary and normally start from around £300 upwards for two eyebrows. In general, you cannot have permanent make up on large areas of the scalp but can on most other areas of the body and in particular the face.
You must seek approval from your doctor before you go ahead and generally speaking you cannot have any form of permanent make up during active cancer treatments.
The great thing about permanent make up is that if you have lost your eyebrows and are dealing with long term eyebrow loss, or eyebrow thinning, then permanent make up can offer you a great natural looking alternative. Permanent make up can also help to disguise scars and help with reconstruction, such as nipples after breast operations.
Permanent make up is classed as non-surgical but it does normally involve the use of needles and specialist equipment so should be treated with due care and consideration. There are various techniques and products used, but mostly a local anaesthetic in the form of a cream is applied then fine needles (similar to tattooing) with mineral colours will add gradual colour to your skin.
Most importantly, make sure that you check out the permanent make up artist you are using. Check their creditability and ask for testimonials or to speak to people they have worked on.
Here are some links to specialists and organisations who are used to taking good care of people like you whom have had cancer treatment:
Karen Betts http://www.karenbetts.co.uk
Tracie Giles http://www.traciegiles.co.uk
The British Association of beauty therapy and cosmetology http://www.babtac.com
Specialist head scarf and hat suppliers
Until faced with coping with hair loss, most people have never seen a specialist scarf or hat. Specialist headwear has been designed with particular features in mind to help hide and cover your scalp and hair line. They are normally available from wig suppliers, oncology units, web sites and some department stores.
There is nothing to say that you can’t wear regular headwear but, unlike everyday head wear, specialist wear has been made specifically for hair loss wearers.
Specialist headwear offer special benefits and features such as:
• Designed to be extra secure and stay on without slipping or coming undone
• Cover the head and hair line to disguise hair loss
• Natural and organic fabrics for comfort and ease of wearing
• Can offer the illusion of hair such as with a fringe attached to a hat or scarf
• Shape your head,, for example added fabric to twist and shape round the head
• Offer complete cover of hair line, nape of neck and forehead
• Offer a good alternative to a wig
There are many caring companies and shops that offer a range of specialist head scarves and hats. From the very latest trend wear to something special for a wedding or occasion, there is something to suit everyone.
We have dedicated an entire section to covering up. You will find lots useful links, ideas and details about specialist head wear along with suppliers and stockists. Covering up
We have written an in-depth section about wigs and hair replacements in our Wigs section and suggest you look here.
A trichologist may be able to help with: • Advice and guidance on any hair care concerns
• Recommendations on wigs, extensions and hair replacement services
• Hair loss advice
• Support and guidance during hair loss
• Recommend nutritional supplements for hair growth
• Managing hair thinning
• Scalp disorders
• Unexpected hair loss
• Lack of regrowth
• Advice on hair condition for colour and technical services
• Scalp advice following radiotherapy
What is a trichologist? A trichologist is a true “Hair expert” trained in the science of the hair and scalp. Experience with cancer patients can vary, but some can offer advice on forms of hair and scalp problems throughout treatment.
Other services they offer may include helping you to understand why hair loss is affecting you during treatment, diagnosing reasons for hair growth problems, offering advice on new growth, scalp care, recommending specialist wig makers, products and other services.
A trichologist is not necessarily a hairdresser, although some are. They are not a medical doctor but have mostly undertaken a degree-level training course and had an extensive hands on training period.
Trichologists work in the private sector. Some are located in salons, spas, specialist clinics or have a practice at their homes. Others may come to you and offer a hospital or home visit. Unfortunately trichology is not available on the NHS, so this means that you will have to privately fund any visits, treatment and products yourself. However some trichologists do accept NHS wig prescriptions and offer discounts to cancer patients .
How much does it cost? Prices for a consultation normally start from £40.00 and can cost up to £120.00 and sometimes more. This normally depends on where you live, as clinics in major cities such as London tend to be more expensive.
To find a good trichologist we recommend that you use the directory supplied by the leading professional body: The Institute of Trichologists. This professional body is one of the oldest in the world and have been training people to be trichologists since 1902.
They ensure that their members and associates are well trained and stand by a code of ethics and conduct. In the UK, anyone can set up a clinic and call themselves a trichologist, so if you choose someone not registered with The Institute of Trichologists be sure to find out where they were trained, what experience they have and ask for direct testimonials.
The Institute of Trichologists directory can be found on their web site (details below), or you can call them for more information. Most trichologists are happy to chat to you on the phone for 10 minutes or so to find out if a consultation will benefit you. This will depend on what concerns you have, your particular cancer treatment and what stage of hair loss or problems you are having.
It's true to say that a tricologist can't offer you a prevention for hair loss during cancer treatment but they may be able to help with scalp problems, recommend a good wig supplier, help with new hair growth and provide reasurance and information to you.
If hair loss is going to happen to you a tricologist can't change that but may be able to offer you support, services and contacts.
Help you to understand why hair loss or major changes to your hair may occur There is nothing like a one to one consultation from someone dedicated to helping people cope practically, emotionally and physically with hair loss. They can draw you diagrams, refer you to wig or hair piece specialists and talk you through what to expect. They are there for you and your individual hair concerns, helping to put your mind at rest about the many questions you may have.
Hair loss prevention If you are having chemotherapy and, if relevant, they may help you to understand the cold cap hair loss prevention treatment (which only works with particular chemotherapy and cancer types).They may be able to offer you help with products to help stabilise thinning hair.
Many people think that a trichologist will automatically be able to stop or prevent hair loss – unfortunately this is not the case due to the side effects of most treatments.
However, it is always worth picking up the phone and asking their advice and most will make no charge for a brief chat on the phone. This will put your mind at rest and help you consider if visiting a trichologist will be of benefit at this stage.
Help you choose a wig Most tricologists will be able to reccomend local wig suppliers.
Some trichologists actually make wigs, but this can take a long time and so may not be appropriate in some cases. They can normally recommend a good wig supplier and help you with any related issues such as a sore or inflamed scalp.
Offer you specialist product advice for any scalp issues Most trichologists offer a range of specialist products and some will custom make you a product or treatment, some hold a licence for using prescription items.
During treatment for cancer some drugs can cause scalp and skin problems, and whilst it is always recommended that you speak to your doctor first, a trichologist may be able to offer you advice and offer product options.
Assess your new hair growth It is normal for hair to take some time to regrow.
If you have problems when the new hair grows through, or want guidance or reassurance that growth is returning to normal, then a trichologist maye be able to help.
Offer you guidance for any long term hair loss management Some people will need to deal with permanent or long term hair loss and a trichologist can talk you through all of your options and connect you to special long term hair replacement services.
Recommend a good hairdresser Most trichologist are not hairdressers, although some are,. If you have particular hair or scalp issues you may not be confident in cutting or colouring your hair and a trichologist can make recommendations of hairdressers experienced in dealing with these issues.
Offer nutritional and supplement advice We all know the term “you are what you eat”, and when it comes to hair and scalp care nutrition can offer good support to encourage hair growth. After cancer treatments, the body can be depleted of essential vitamins and minerals essential for good hair growth. A trichologist can offer you advice and guidance.
To find a trichologist near you contact The Institute of Trichologists. It is always essential that you seek the approval of your oncologist or doctor before seeing a trichologist.
How to approach your medical team about these services
Your medical team Talking to your doctor about hair concerns may be something totally new to you, but most cancer doctors and nurses understand that hair loss can be a very emotional, physical, and practical concern for you. So don’t feel uncomfortable about discussing your concerns with your care team about how you will look because they are used to it and talk to people about their hair concerns every day.
However, the medical profession are very busy trying to take care of your health and they specialise in medicine, not hairdressing. So I recommend that you ask the receptionist at your hospital or care unit who is the best person for you to ask about hair loss concern, whether that is your doctor or nurse.
For example, sometimes your doctor may be able to tell you if your brand of chemotherapy or other treatment will cause hair loss or write you a prescription for a wig. But normally it is the nurses who have the most day to day experience of dealing with hair loss and may be better able to help you and connect you to services such as wig suppliers and support groups.
Sometimes it is hard to know what hair care issues you should discuss with your doctor or care team, but it is always better to ask rather then assume. For example, many people are not aware that they should not normally colour, perm or permanently straighten their hair during active chemotherapy treatment and until the entire treatment phase is complete. Or that even the most natural of supplements or some natural treatment such as a scalp massage may, for various medical reasons, not be suitable during cancer and any treatment.
So when it comes to your hair care please always check with your doctor to see that services, products, advice and treatments are suitable for you.
Remember that you can also talk to medical experts such as a Macmillan nurse for advice and support.
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Please kindly note that Cancer Hair Care and The Caring Hair Boutique are not designed to provide medical advice. You should always consult with your doctor if you have any medical concerns or queries.