One thing that is sometimes not mentioned in the run-up to chemotherapy treatment is that hair loss may extend to eyebrows and eyelashes as well as the scalp.
Most patients enter into treatment fully aware that severe shedding on their head is likely, but to suddenly notice that your eyebrows or eyelashes have disappeared as well can be both surprising and devastating. The same is true when people are diagnosed with Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis; two autoimmiune disorders which also lead to total baldness of the head and face (Alopecia Universalis causes body hair to fall out, too).
Eyebrows can, of course, be painted back on, but there’s an innovative alternative solution, which is both effective and rather good value.
Eyebrow wigs made from real human hair
For £75, New York salon HairPlace NYC offers a set of eyebrow wigs that are made from real human hair. Popsugar writer Jessica Cruel gave them a try and loved them. “For three days I wore the wigs,” she wrote. “I worried that people would start to stare, or I’d lose a brow on the subway – but neither occurred. Surprisingly, the faux arches were unrecognisable to most. Even my best friends didn’t realise they were fakes! They just looked like I had filled in my brows with dark pencil. In the end, the eyebrow wigs became a time-saving and cost-effective solution.”
The salon’s website says that the eyebrow wigs are a “beautiful solution for those who have thin or no eyebrows due to over-plucking, scars, genetic causes, chemotherapy, Alopecia or stress,” and that they are available in a variety of shapes, colours and thicknesses. They are applied with an adhesive and will stay on for up to three days at a time. The Popsugar writer says that they will need replacing every six months or so.
Like hair on the scalp, eyebrows will usually start to grow back within a few months if they fall out after cancer treatment, making eyebrow wigs a good short-term solution. Cold caps can help to minimise hair loss during chemotherapy by chilling the scalp and keeping the drugs away from the scalp, but these devices are not currently designed to chill the eyebrows.
Eyebrow wigs seem like a good solution for those with temporary hair loss. It is also a worthwhile option for those who have lost eyebrows to other conditions, including scarring alopecia, and are not keen on brow microblading – a form of medical tattooing whereby tiny hairs are tattooed on in a range of shades in order to realistically mimic natural eyebrows. This does require regular top-ups but has been hailed as being incredibly valuable in boosting the self-esteem of people coping with baldness from the severe forms of alopecia areata.
In cases of Alopecia Totalis and Universalis, there is often little chance of any hair growing back, as current treatment options are not well-regarded and are rarely very effective – though help may soon be at hand if new drugs in development in the US are given the green-light.
Moderate Alopecia Areata is a more common form of autoimmune hair loss, affecting up to three per cent of people in their lifetime. Though eyebrow-shedding isn’t normally associated with this sudden-onset condition, it has been seen in some rare cases. In many instances this hairloss will clear up naturally and regrow will resume of its own accord. However, if or when this may happen is unknown.
Treatment for Alopecia Areata of the scalp is possible and often effective. At Belgravia, personalised treatment programmes for this type of patchy hair loss involve topical applications of high strength minoxidil from the recommended formulations available at Belgravia’s in-clinic pharmacies. This solution is applied directly to the scalp where needed, in order to promote an increase in localised blood flow and encourage hair growth. It cannot, however, be used on eyebrows or to treat any other form of facial hair loss or shedding of body hair.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.