I've been on dose-dense chemotherapy to treat hereditary breast cancer for a full four months now and miraculously I still have my eyebrows and eyelashes.
Normally, this very strong chemotherapy regimen results in widespread hair loss, often including the brows and lashes. The hair loss is usually dramatic by the third week of treatment and within the second month it can be complete. So far, my lashes and brows have been mostly spared. I may be one of the rare lucky people whose brows and lashes don't fall out during chemo. However, it's more likely that that I can thank Latisse for this blessing.
Hair loss is one of the many heartbreaking aspects of cancer treatment for we cancer patients. It announces to everyone that you have cancer, whether you want to talk about it or not. You can fake hair on your scalp, and wigs can even be fun. It’s not so easy to fake eyebrows and lashes - and they’re smack dab in the center of your face where everyone looks.
It may be just a few hairs, but preservation of my brows and eyelashes during chemotherapy is a comfort to me during my cancer treatment and for that I’m grateful. I've used Latisse for years and am a big fan. When I got the diagnosis of cancer, I decided to keep using my Latisse as an experiment since I am now a living laboratory for skin, hair and nail issues facing cancer patients. I've continued to use Latisse almost every night during my four months of chemo. I apply it on both my upper lash line and brows. The hair there has thinned, but overall I have enough hair to look "normal." Only I can tell that I used to have longer and denser lash and brow hair.
I use another trick on my brows to help my light blond eyebrow hair stand out. I have them tinted every 6 weeks. I also use the dark brown mineral makeup powder in my Bronze Mineral Eye Shadow Trio applied with the angled eyeliner brush. It never smears and it looks natural.
I'm almost done with chemo and hopefully my little eyebrow and lash follicles will hang in there. At least I've enjoyed an extra three months more than the norm with the ability to use eye makeup, look like myself, and feel pretty while I'm on chemotherapy.
Like our hair follicles, our skin takes a real hit from chemotherapy treatment too. Are you, or is someone you know interested in what I, as a dermatologist, have learned about keeping our skin healthy and comfortable during chemotherapy? I invite you to read my post titled Dematologist's Advice for the Best Skin Care during Chemotherapy.
I created my Chemotherapy Skin Care Kit to simplify my skin care during chemo. It served me well. It is a great to help keep skin healthy during chemo. If you are undergoing chemo, I hope it helps. It makes a great gift for friends or loved ones undergoing chemo too. I donate 50% of the profits to cancer advocacy and research through FORCE, the advocacy organization for the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer community.
Photo attribution: Thanks and gratitude to © Harry Choi/TongRo Images/Corbis