9 Best Shampoos For Hair Loss After Radiation

Medically reviewed by Dr. Amy Revene M.B.B.S.
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

Radiation therapy can be a lifesaver, but it often comes with unexpected challenges – one of which is hair loss. 

Just when you want to feel like yourself again, your hair begins to thin or fall out. 

But there's hope! The market offers an array of shampoos specifically designed to support hair regrowth after radiation. 

But with so many options out there, how do you choose? 

Worry not, for we've scoured the best picks and compiled a list of the nine best shampoos for hair loss post-radiation. 

Dive in to discover the perfect solution to restore the vitality and fullness of your locks.

Summary

Hair care during chemotherapy can be an emotionally and physically challenging journey. 

Still, with the proper guidance and a proactive approach, navigating this phase with confidence and resilience is possible. 

Furthermore, embracing change, experimenting with new styles, or even adopting wigs can offer a renewed sense of self. 

While chemotherapy's effects on hair are often temporary, the strength and adaptability one develops during this period are lasting traits that speak volumes about the indomitable human spirit.

Why radiation causes hair loss?

Radiation therapy targets and destroys rapidly dividing cells, including cancer cells. Unfortunately, hair follicles – responsible for hair growth – are also rapidly dividing cells, making them susceptible to the damaging effects of radiation. This leads to hair loss in the treated area.

Radiation therapy is a precise tool in the fight against cancer, delivering high doses of radiation directly to cancerous cells to prevent them from growing and dividing. 

However, its precision does not always spare healthy cells with similar growth characteristics to malignant ones. 

Hair follicles, among the most active cells in terms of division and growth, often get caught in the crossfire. When radiation damages or destroys these follicles, hair loss or "alopecia" occurs. 

It's important to note that hair loss from radiation is typically localised, meaning it usually only happens in the area where the radiation is directed, unlike the more widespread hair loss seen with some chemotherapy treatments.

9 best shampoos for hair loss after radiation

Following are the nine top shampoos you can use after radiation to restore hair growth.

1. Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Strength Shampoo

best shampoo for hair loss after radiation

Hair Strength Shampoo by Scandinavian Biolabs is a premium hair care product with ingredients inspired by nature, formulated to support the appearance of healthy and strong hair.

The formula features a natural compound called Capilia Longa (Curcumin), shown in studies to reduce hair loss by up to 89% and improve hair density by 52% after 150 days. 

The formula also contains an amino acid complex that is intended to support the overall appearance of hair integrity.

This shampoo also contains Niacinamide, an iso-form of Vitamin B3, which increases keratin levels in the hair shaft. 

The blend of ingredients in this shampoo is designed to help manage the appearance of excessive sebum and rebalance the scalp.

The shampoo has a pleasant eucalyptus aroma, making it a refreshing and invigorating choice for your daily hair care routine.

Hair Strength Shampoo | For Women
Hair Strength Shampoo | For Women
Aims to cleanse gently while helping to reduce excess oil and balance scalp

2. Davines Energizing Shampoo

Davines Energizing Shampoo

As per the manufacturer, this shampoo is tailored for those with hair prone to thinning and breakage. 

A core ingredient is caffeine, believed by the company to boost circulation and enhance hair's elasticity. 

A study from 2017 validates the growth-boosting effects of caffeine on hair follicles. Furthermore, Davines asserts that their product shields fragile hair from snapping. 

Key ingredients in the shampoo include caffeine, peppermint oil, eucalyptus leaf oil, and citric acid. 

Notably, the shampoo is free from parabens and sulfates, making it a cleaner choice for hair care.

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3. Philip Kingsley No Scent No Colour Gentle Shampoo

best shampoo for hair loss after radiation

The Philip Kingsley No Scent No Colour Gentle Shampoo, available in a 250ml bottle, is crafted for all hair varieties, especially those with sensitive or easily irritated scalps. Priced at £20.00, it specifically caters to allergic and reactive skin. 

What's genuinely heartwarming is its origin story: it was initially conceived to be gentle enough for individuals undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, inspired by Philip's wife during her breast cancer journey. 

Why is it a favourite? This shampoo stands out not just for its gentle touch but also because it's devoid of fragrance, parabens, and SLS. It promises a deep clean, leaving hair looking lustrous.

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4. Mielle Organics Babassu Conditioning Shampoo

after radiation shampoo

The manufacturer touts this shampoo as a sulfate-free formula that gently cleanses hair without depriving it of its natural oils. 

Specifically designed for natural hair types ranging from 3A to 4C, its unique blend features ingredients such as babassu oil, almond protein, and hibiscus extract. 

Mielle Organics emphasises that this mix not only softens but also reinforces hair strength. 

Moreover, they proudly claim that every ingredient used in this product is organic, reinforcing their commitment to providing natural and wholesome hair care solutions.

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5. MooGoo Milk Shampoo

after radiation shampoo

MooGoo Milk Shampoo, available in a 500ml bottle, is formulated to prioritise scalp health. As an everyday shampoo, it boasts natural ingredients, ensuring a gentle cleanse for hair and scalp, devoid of harmful elements. 

Its unique blend is derived from coconut and glucose-based cleansers, avoiding aggressive synthetic detergents like SLS and silicone-based components. This shampoo stands out due to its high recommendations. 

Many cancer patients and oncologists applaud its efficacy, applauding its gentle, straightforward, and nurturing qualities. The affordable price further enhances its appeal, offering value for money.

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6. Jupiter Balancing Shampoo

after radiation therapy shampoo

The shampoo is enriched with zinc pyrithione, renowned for its antifungal properties, effectively addressing scalp dryness and itchiness. 

According to the manufacturer, it not only eliminates skin flakiness and buildup but also soothes and hydrates the scalp, thanks to its infusion of essential oils

The key components of this shampoo are zinc pyrithione, coconut oil, squalene, and sugar kelp extract. These ingredients work in synergy to provide a comprehensive scalp treatment. 

An added commendable aspect is its ethical stance: the product is proudly cruelty-free, ensuring users a choice for their hair and conscience.

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7. Weleda Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash 

after radiation therapy shampoo

Weleda Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash, offered in a 200ml bottle, boasts a mild formulation suitable even for the delicate skin of babies. 

Crafted with natural ingredients, it has earned dermatologists' approval, assuring users that it'll render their sensitive scalps and skin smooth and soft. 

As a brand, Weleda holds a special place in the cancer community, establishing trust over the years. 

Although primarily formulated for infants, this product has shown promising results for those affected by chemo, especially addressing the common concerns of dryness and itchiness. This dual-purpose product is a testament to gentle yet effective care.

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8. Mediceuticals Folligen For Normal Hair & Scalp

after radiation therapy shampoo

Mediceuticals Folligen For Normal Hair & Scalp, available in a 250ml bottle, is a gentle yet comprehensive cleanser. Its cutting-edge dermatological formula is designed for optimal hair growth. 

Packed with natural DHT inhibitors and a microvascular stimulator, this product aids in fostering new hair growth post-cancer treatments. 

The shampoo is notably free from sulfates, carcinogens, and harmful agents like DEA (Diethanolamine) and MEA (acetamide and Monoethanolamine). While its packaging may give off a clinical vibe, the tangible outcomes are compelling. 

Although not explicitly promising accelerated post-chemo regrowth, users often report denser, more robust, and better-conditioned hair. 

Another boon is its focus on enhancing scalp blood circulation, ensuring improved nutrient absorption.

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9. NIOXIN 3-Part System 1 Cleanser Shampoo for Natural Hair

after radiation therapy shampoo

NIOXIN's 3-Part System 1 Cleanser Shampoo, in a 300ml size, is specifically crafted for naturally thinning hair. 

While it doesn't claim to counteract chemo effects, it ensures an in-depth cleanse, setting the stage for healthier, denser-looking hair during regrowth. 

The product stands out with its Activ-Renewal™ technology, a potent mix of age-resistant botanicals and humectants. 

Its appeal is heightened by the brand's reputation: boasting over three decades of focused independent research, NIOXIN has emerged as the most lauded brand for naturally thinning hair in the USA. 

It's a holistic hair solution with a commitment to both scalp stimulation and care.

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How to take care of hair during radiation therapy?

Radiation therapy, essential for many cancer patients, can affect hair health. By adopting certain hair care practices during this challenging period, one can navigate the side effects better, preserving the health and integrity of the hair and scalp. 

The renowned Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center offers guidance for individuals wanting to maintain their hair health during chemotherapy. They recommend:

Gentle cleansing

Choosing the right shampoo is crucial. Look for mild, sulfate-free shampoos that contain nourishing ingredients. 

These products help maintain the scalp's natural oils and prevent further dryness or irritation, making them ideal for hair under the stress of radiation therapy.

Avoid excessive heat

Hair weakened by radiation can be further damaged by heat. It's best to let hair air-dry naturally and avoid using heat-based styling tools. 

If you must use a hairdryer, opt for the lowest heat setting. Also, avoid hairstyles that require tight pulling or excessive manipulation, such as tight braids or ponytails.

Scalp protection

The scalp can become especially sensitive during radiation therapy. Protecting it from external elements becomes paramount. 

Wear a hat, scarf, or cap to shield your scalp from the sun's harmful UV rays when stepping out. This not only protects from potential sunburn but also helps in retaining moisture. 

This protective layer can also offer warmth during colder months, preventing further dryness.

Natural treatments

To moisturise the scalp, consider using natural oils, like coconut or almond oil. These oils can provide nourishment and alleviate some of the dryness and discomfort.

Conclusion

Hair care during chemotherapy can be an emotionally and physically challenging journey. 

Still, with the proper guidance and a proactive approach, navigating this phase with confidence and resilience is possible. 

Furthermore, embracing change, experimenting with new styles, or even adopting wigs can offer a renewed sense of self. 

While chemotherapy's effects on hair are often temporary, the strength and adaptability one develops during this period are lasting traits that speak volumes about the indomitable human spirit.

FAQs

How can I fortify my hair during chemotherapy sessions? 

According to Macmillan Cancer Support from the UK, to maintain and strengthen hair during chemotherapy:

  • Use a non-medicated shampoo to untangle hair.
  • Refrain from using hair dyes, bleach, hairdryers, and curling irons.
  • Use a wide-toothed comb for wet hair.
  • Wear a hair net while sleeping to gather fallen strands. Always consider discussing with your medical practitioner for personalized advice.

Which shampoo is recommended for hair regrowth post-chemotherapy? 

Breastcancer.org suggests that while shampoos are designed for thinning hair to tackle mild to significant hair loss, volumizing shampoos can also give hair a fuller appearance. It's beneficial to consult a doctor about hair regrowth shampoos suitable for individual needs.

What should I apply to my scalp during chemotherapy? 

According to Cancer Research UK, while wigs can cover the head, they might not be comfortable, especially during hotter months, due to potential itchiness and warmth. Alternatives include hats, scarves, or baseball caps. Another avenue to explore is cold caps, devices that cool the scalp, consequently reducing blood circulation.

References: 

  1. https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/cancer-drugs/side-effects/hair-loss-and-thinning
  2. https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/side_effects/hair-loss
  3. https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/impacts-of-cancer/hair-loss
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5804833/#:~:text=In%20an%20in%20vitro%20study,hair%20follicle%20growth%20%5B10%5D

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Dr Amy Revene M.B.B.S. graduated from the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. She is currently working as a General Physician at New Hope Medical Center. Amy has a passion for research and offers her expertise and opinions to help people in their quest to lead healthy, happy lives.