(Article Originally published at MySuncoast.com)
Brunette or blonde, straight or wavy, our hair is one of our most defining physical features.
But a harsh reality of losing your hair from cancer treatment is the constant reminder of cancer and chemotherapy, each time you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror.
Many with hair loss opt to cover bare heads with scarves and caps, but chemo-related hair loss can affect your scalp, your body, eyelashes… even your eyebrows.
Mary McAndrews-Albritton of Lasting Looks in Sarasota helps people with hair loss regain their defining features back through the art of permanent makeup.
“How you look is definitely a reflection of how you feel on the inside,” said McAndrews-Albritton. “When you lose your brows you really feel like you look tired. Not only are you feeling fatigued, but looking tired as well is a hard pill to swallow.”
Lasting Looks uses permanent makeup pigment, very different from tattoo ink. It feels very airbrushed looking on the skin.
McAndrews-Albritton added that there are also products to help hair regrow after treatment; a cooling cap to reduce chemo-linked hair loss is now approved by the FDA for those looking to possibly reduce chemotherapy-related hair loss.
But chemotherapy affects different people different ways, as Jayne Giroux, director of development of the Suncoast Blood Bank explained.
“The type of chemotherapy that I had did not cause me to lose my hair, and it was interesting because when I didn’t lose my hair, people assumed that chemotherapy wasn’t that difficult.”
But make no mistake, said Giroux, chemotherapy is chemotherapy.
“If I knew that the type of chemo was going to cause me to loose my hair,”she said, “I think I would have taken the initiative to either have a very short hair cut or go ahead and shave my head myself. I had a friend going through it and she did that, and she said it felt empowering to go ahead and take care of it herself.”