When you’re battling breast cancer, you don’t only have to fight against the disease. You have to contend with the side effects from treatment designed to eradicate it. Chemotherapy can be extremely effective in treating breast cancer, but it certainly doesn’t come without a price. There are plenty of unpleasant side effects to chemo treatment for breast cancer patients, including fatigue, nausea, weight fluctuations and mouth sores. But for many women, the loss of their hair is one of the most traumatic consequences because it doesn’t only impact you physically – it packs an emotional punch as well. For some women, a wig provides a sense of confidence during a difficult time. It certainly isn’t the only option to deal with hair loss, but it’s definitely one worth considering if you’re concerned about how you’ll deal with changes to your hair. If you’re thinking of getting a wig, here are a few tips to make the process easier.
Many women find that cutting their hair short before they begin chemo helps reduce some of the trauma associated with hair loss. Instead of losing large chunks of hair, you’ll only be losing small pieces, which is usually less distressing. It’ll also help you get used to how you look with less hair and make it easier for a wig to fit on your head.
Consult with a Wig Specialist
There are a wide variety of wigs to choose to from, so it can be a little overwhelming when it comes time to pick one out. A wig specialist can help guide you by suggesting possible options that will look and feel good. If you visit the specialist before you start treatment, she can get a feel for your natural hair color and style and suggest a wig that’s similar so that you feel like yourself when you’re wearing it. She can also provide recommendations on how to care for and maintain your wig or where you can take it to be restyled.
Buy the Best You Can Afford
Good wigs are expensive – there’s no denying that. A wig made with human hair can cost anywhere from $800 to $3000, while a synthetic style can range from $30 to 500. You may wear your wig every day while you hair grows back, but you’ll probably only need it for about a year so you don’t need the most durable option available. Still, you want one that looks good – if it looks like a bad toupee, you’re not going to want to wear it – and feels good – if it’s itchy or scratchy against your scalp, you won’t want to wear it either – so it’s important to buy the best that you can afford. Check with your insurance company to see if they’ll cover any of the wig’s cost, which can definitely help. While a human hair wig may seem like the best option, there’s significant cost and maintenance involved. A good synthetic wig costs less, requires little care, and can look just as fabulous. Choose a wig without an obvious part line and that doesn’t get matted when you play with it.
Choose a Light Color
You’ll probably feel most comfortable in a wig that is similar to your natural hair color, but it’s usually a good idea to opt for one that’s slightly lighter. During chemo, your skin may take on a green, gray or yellow tint. If there’s less contrast between your hair and skin, you won’t call attention to your skin’s discoloration. Wigs tend to be thicker than natural hair too, so a wig that matches your natural color may actually look darker and wash you out.
If possible, it’s a good idea to have two wigs during chemo treatment in case you need to send one out to be restyled or cleaned. While you should have one that resembles your usual hairstyle, don’t be afraid to try a funky, fun wig style for your second option. Try a bold black Cleopatra style wig, or a long, curly blonde wig – something that’s totally different from your usual look to give yourself a little pick me up.