What do you do when chemotherapy takes your brows and lashes?
If you’ve suffered from losing your hair during chemotherapy or are concerned about future hair loss, you aren’t alone. Millions of women have voiced their concern over their chemo hair loss, especially during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But the top of your head isn’t the only hair you can lose.
Many women lose their hair "down there," which is no biggie for most of us. However, women also may lose their eyebrows and eye lashes due to the effect of chemotherapy. What’s more is you can continue to lose your eyebrows and eyelashes months or even years after treatment.
So what's a woman to do?
Makeup is usually the first and most important step for women who lose their eyebrows and lashes due to chemo hair loss. It’s an easy enough solution partially because many women already know proper makeup techniques.
Eyeliner is a big plus, and with a bit of powder of the same color, it can give the illusion of texture and therefore eyelashes. Eyebrow pencils and regular and custom made stencils are an easy find, though it can take a bit of practice to apply them well. Simply follow the brow bone. If you aren’t confident enough, use a stencil as well. You can always redo your eyebrows.Extra Tip: If your eyebrows and eyelashes are just thinning due to chemo hair loss, it's important to take good care of them. Try not to scrub your eyebrows when washing your face. and avoid using mascara on your eyelashes.
False Lashes & Eyebrow Wigs
That’s not to say replace your eyebrows with tattoos of skulls and roses, or one that says “Mom.”
It takes a bit of work, but false lashes and eyebrow wigs are another option. False lashes are great since drug stores, beauty supply and department stores carry a wide variety of choices. They come in various colors and styles, so if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try purple lashes with gems or stick with the regular black. Although false lashes may take some practice to put on, you can find hypoallergenic glue to avoid additional complications of chemo hair loss like allergic reactions, skin sensitivity and discomfort. False lashes are great for special occasions, unless you feel every day is a special occasion.
Eyebrow wigs are definitely a unique idea, and not so easily to find. They look great if properly applied, but they can cause irritation from the special glue, making them difficult to use every day. That’s why many recommend pulling these babies for special occasions only.
If you’re going through chemotherapy for a while, are experiencing continuous hair loss, or your eyebrows and lashes simply didn’t grow back properly from chemotherapy, you might want to consider tattoos. I don't mean replacing your eyebrows with tattoos of skulls and roses, or one that says “Mom.” These are special tattoos that look like eyebrows and act as permanent eyeliner to fill in the parts that would otherwise look blank.
Tatoos might be an extreme step for some people, but many women do this as they get older anyway. Eyelashes naturally may thin over time, or perhaps a woman plucked her eyebrows too eagerly when she was younger. Regardless of the reason, it is great for someone with chemo hair loss since tattoos last a long time, and look great if done by a professional. It's a little painful, but it’s worth the pain for those in need of some face TLC.
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According to Breast Cancer Network of Strength, the type of chemotherapy you receive will determine whether you will lose your lashes and eyebrows, as well as the individual. However, most chemo does cause some form of hair loss. If you haven’t already lost your hair, take extra care to avoid disturbing the follicles.
Regardless, some individuals experience hair loss after their round of chemo, or continuous bouts of chemo hair loss long after. In very rare cases, hair loss can be permanent. Luckily, with a combination of makeup, false lashes, eyebrow wigs, and even tattoos, you can feel great without worrying how you look.