On my main blog, I’ve gotten several questions lately about recommendations for hats for cancer patients survivors undergoing chemotherapy, so I thought I’d post this over here as well. 

When the hair first starts to go (and go read this for Stella’s heartbreaking description of her hair falling out in her hands, the temptation to pull it all out, and one of what may be several short haircuts before it all goes), the scalp becomes incredibly sensitive.  Many people lose their hair in 48 hours.  For others, it takes a week or more.  It’s taken me about 10 days to get down to a level of fuzz matching Little Bear’s — and it’s been a bit disconcerting, as it’s (frankly) been a mix of waiting, washing, pulling, and cutting the sad-looking remains ever shorter. 

The thing I recommend most for sore scalps is a headcover — a Buff headcover, actually.  These amazingly soft, silky cylinders pull right over the head and then can be twisted into several styles, from skullcap to topknot to pirate.  I like to let mine hang loose down the back a bit, since I’ve always had long hair and it’s just plain weird not to have that swing behind me anymore.  Buffs are the absolute best thing you can find if you know you’re going to lose your hair quickly — you can wear them beforehand to to prepare yourself a bit, during to catch the falling hair and disguise those really bad hair days, and afterwards for warmth or comfort under a regular hat, if you wish.  I also sleep in mine every night, to keep the stubby hairs from rubbing my scalp raw against the pillow.  They wash and dry easily in minutes, are well-made, and are used in performance sports across the globe.  They’re also quite striking — check out the beautiful designs from National Geographic!

I also ordered hats from Headcovers.com and TLCdirect, the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit hat store.  Both arrived quickly and were inexpensive.  They’re soft, small (so that they fit a head without hair — yes, it really does change your cap size!), without harsh linings inside, and with few seams to irritate the scalp.  I love this wrap from Headcovers right now, actually, as it’s soft and easy to wear, without the structure of a hat or the difficulty of a scarf.  If you’re looking for a good hat for those first chemo days, you’re really looking for one thing — soft, soft, soft!


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