Caring for your hair and skin during chemo or radiation

Caring for your hair during chemotherapy

Your scalp may be sensitive. You may also feel cold or lose some hair.

Wash your hair with a mild soap, pat gently with a towel to dry and use a wide toothed comb.

Caring for your hair during radiation

Your scalp may be red, itchy, dry, or flaky. Avoid perms, coloring, and exposure to the sun or cold.

Remember, your hair will grow back after radiation and chemotherapy treatments. In the meantime, wigs, turbans, scarves and hats are options to cope with hair loss. They come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes.

Caring for your skin during chemotherapy

Some patients experience very dry skin. Use a mild soap and lukewarm water or a mild cleansing lotion or cream.

Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Consult a cosmetologist for specific techniques to improve the look and feel of your skin during treatment.

Caring For Your Skin During Radiation

It is essential to leave the marks your doctor or radiation therapist might have applied. They will eventually fade away.

Avoid exposing treated areas to the sun. Do not use sunscreens until all your radiation treatments are complete, unless your doctor approves.

If the treatment area itches, tell your radiation therapist.

Temporary pigmentation change ñ redness or tanning ñ may occur during treatment. Check with your doctor about using a cosmetic concealer.

Do not use cosmetics, perfumes, or deodorants on treated areas before checking with your radiation therapist.

Avoid extremes in temperatures on treated areas. If your skin is still irritated after your radiation treatment is complete, ask your radiotherapist to recommend a moisturizer and sunscreen.

Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any signs of infection or changes in skin color.

Caring for your synthetic wig:

Synthetic wigs are less costly and easier to care for than natural hair wigs. All wigs donated to the Forth Floor Salons are cleaned, cut, and individually fitted for patients free of charge.

  • Wash your wig in cool or tepid water with a mild soap
  • Blot dry with a towel and let it dry on a wig stand, but do not wring dry
  • Once dry, your wig may be styled as desired
  • If your wig is curly, it will retain curl after washing
  • It is safe to style your wig with non-heated rollers


Synthetic wigs are flammable. Do not:

  • Use curling irons
  • Use heated dryers
  • Place near flame or match
Last reviewed: 
October 2016

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