To Wig Or Not To Wig

January 15th, 2020 |
Hair loss

by CindyLupica | Survivor: Gestational Trophoblastic Tumor    Connect


That is a question, a question for many facing chemotherapy or currently on chemotherapy. A question for some of us post-chemo or those who have been left with more permanent side effects. You’re left with the decision of changing your look in order to look similar to how you did before treatment or styling differently according to your new situation. Whatever your reason to question, it is always smart to learn the pros and cons. You should never feel pressured to do one thing or the other. During my long and aggressive chemo treatment for choriocarcinoma, a pregnancy cancer, I felt pressured in the sense that wigs were common ground to chemo and hard to avoid; however, I did not feel pressured to wear one. I decided to ride in between, depending on how I felt or what I needed at that time or day. Wearing a wig helped me feel more “normal” yet other days it felt deceiving to myself and others, even my own family. 

At the time, my youngest was four months old and my biggest concern was for her. Even my cat was skittish at the sight of my new look, bald and the wig. I believe it all falls on getting used to, adapting, something some cannot handle while going through their treatments, and that is OK! That is the mere reason for this topic alone! Some days I went bold and bald, my way of accepting the harsh reality, while other days I simply covered with a head wrap or scarf/handkerchief as a half-way reality. I honestly have to say that for me, I was more devastated in losing my identity when my eyebrows and eyelashes fell out versus my hair. I had the privilege to be offered a wig or two at my infusion lab from the ACS wig bank. Some women decide to invest in their own wig(s) for various reasons. There is no right or wrong on how you use or not use these resources. Let’s take a look a the pros and cons of using wigs during and post-chemo: 

1. During chemo 

Hair loss is almost always unavoidable (unless cold caps are used and there will still be thinning of the hair). During this process, it may be beneficial to consider a wig to help keep the “normal” appearance whether for business or for personal reasons. Keeping the “normal”’ appearance can:

PROS: 

  • eliminate a lot of questions (and stares) from outsiders 
  • help cover the fact of sickness
  • boost self-esteem
  • help one get used to the feel of wigs before hair loss occurs 
  • make one feel more normal as chemo begins to strip outer appearance 
  • help eliminate the scare/fear in young children or those who are sensitive 
  • help keep scalp warm and protected from sunburn
  • lessen the time needed to "get ready" in the morning, giving you more time during hard days
  • hide the sickness timeline (can be looked as a CON)

 

CONS: 

  • can appear deceiving to self and to others which leads to further explanation due to curiosity and unanswered questions 
  • can make acceptance of cancer and chemo even harder 
  • can be itchy and irritating to the hair follicles and scalp (wear a wig cap or stocking under)
  • wigs can be hot, particularly during those heat flashes! Certain wigs that are too thick can contribute to that extra heat.
  • can look “off” and obvious depending on the style or brand of the wig
  • may not fit face frame (which is why it is important to browse what’s available)
  • can lead to feeling more vulnerable when not wearing a wig

 

2. Post-Chemo 

 After chemo treatments have ended, the body begins the lengthy, yet remarkable process of detoxing and re-healing; this process includes hair re-growth. New hair can be different. Texture, even color can be altered, sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently. This alone is a challenge of acceptance. Some may even experience thinner hair, a very unfortunate side effect, and a new normal to have to get used to. Continuing to wear a wig is always an option and easier for those who have adapted to already wearing one.  Here are a few more pros and cons aside from the ones listed above:

PROS: 

  • continuing to wear wigs can help speed the emotional healing process up
  • a good excuse to have any hair you want, any style, color, length and accessorize, accessorize!
  • can mask the fact that there was a sickness
  • help hide the ‘funky’ re-growth length (though some use it to have fun with wild color and spike!)
  • convenience and quick/easy
  • permanent style if synthetic (a careful comb-thru or hand sweep and you’re done!)
  • unlimited styles if a real human hair wig
  • collecting points thru purchases and posting reviews from select companies can earn free wigs or wig money for new purchases
  • many varied styles, colors, and lengths to choose from (the ACS wig bank can aid and guide you!)

 

CONS:

  • hides new identity and reality
  • can confuse outsiders as they wonder about your new hair
  • raises curiosity of outsiders as they wonder about your hair loss or regrowth
  • hides the sickness timeline (can be looked as a PRO)
  • long-time use can damage real hair
  • expensive(human hair costs more than synthetic wigs)
  • continual wear can lead to more frequent purchases
  • a lot of time is spent to allocate a perfect looking wig to fit desire and face frame
  • knowledge is needed to know the differences between synthetic, high heat synthetic and human hair for personal use and decisions
  • unless styled or worn differently, outsiders and hair know-hows may catch on to your wig-wearing in time

So there are the pros and cons of wearing wigs during and after chemo. Remember, there are so many options of wigs alone, options that fit your comfort and need. There is no wrong or right to what you do decide. This is your choice, your option, and your right to own it however you desire. Can’t decide? Go with a little in-between, mix it up and owe no one explanations! This is an intimate decision and yours to make. 

 


Sign up to join our community here to continue the conversation.

Want to blog with us ? Learn more here.

CindyLupica's picture
Top
Blogger
CindyLupica   
Cindy Lupica is a wife, mother of four, and survivor and advocate for Choriocarcinoma & Molar Pregnancy Awareness. She is also an advocate for the Choriocarcinoma Research Fund at Brigham & Women's Hospital, where you can donate to here. You can connect with her on IHC under the username pregnancycancer_twinmolarpregnancy.

Comments

Top