What to do if you lose your eyebrows during cancer treatment
Everything you need to know if you lose your eyebrows during cancer treatment, including the different options out there for you whilst you are going though this stage.
A year ago
All about Brows.
I have found that a common concern expressed by patients when they come and visit us in the Fresh Hair Wig & Beauty Salon is that they will lose their eyebrows during treatment. This doesn’t happen to everyone, some don’t lose any hair from their eyebrows, some may go sparse, but others will lose their eyebrows all together. The concern that women have is a loss of definition to the eye area. We are frequently told that the eyebrow frames your eye and a good eyebrow shape acts as an eye lift. It seems to be a bigger concern to some women than losing their hair on the head, as they think it is harder to disguise and feel it makes them look poorly. Yes it can be distressing losing your eyebrows but just like losing the hair on your head and getting a wig there is a solution. Ladies you can still have beautiful eyebrows despite partial or full loss of eyebrow hairs. There are different options out there for you whilst you are going though this stage but also remember your eyebrows will grow back after treatment!
If your treatment has just caused your eyebrows to become sparse then you can use an eyebrow pencil/wax with powder to fill in the gaps and create extra definition. It is easy to follow the line of your eyebrows if they are already there. If you are not sure of the shape you can get a professional to shape them for you every 4 weeks then fill them in yourself. Don’t worry about getting them shaped even though they are sparse, just make the professional aware of what is going on so they only remove strays. Always test the pencil/brow powder before buying, as the appropriate colour can also depend on the colour of your wig or whether you choose to wear a wig or a head scarf. You may find that the loss of hair around your face makes your eyebrows more prominent. To keep them looking natural go for a subtle shade that is one to two shades lighter than your eyebrows. Choose a pencil that is soft and waterproof, or you can use an eyebrow wax (these usually come in a brow kit together with the brow powder). Fill in the sparse areas of your eyebrow using light feathery strokes, remember you want to keep it as natural looking as possible. Then fill in your brow with the powder, using an angled brush. The powder will stick to the pencil or wax to keep it in place. For extra staying power, to keep hair in place and going in the right direction, you can use a clear brow gel which looks like a mascara wand and you comb it over the hairs in the direction of growth. Alternatively, you can use a semi-permanent eyebrow powder; this means it is water-resistant, smudge proof and sweat proof. This takes the stress out of worrying that you will accidentally rub half your eyebrow off in the rain!!
For those who have lost all their eyebrows, you can use the above products to draw on your eyebrows using the following method to get the correct shape:
- First start with the inside edge of the brow. Line the pencil up with the outside edge of your nose and the inside of your eye. That is where your eyebrow should begin, make a dot.
- Rotate the pencil still touching the outside of the nose until it goes across the outside edge of your eye. Place a dot here as this is where your eyebrow will end.
- Make sure you are looking straight ahead in the mirror, then to find the arch rotate the pencil at your nose so it now crosses the outside of your pupil, this is where the highest point of your eyebrow should be. Make a dot slightly higher than your initial dot as the brow goes up here.
- Then join the line together, you can create the top line by following the bottom the filling in the middle.
If this seems like too much hassle in the morning then your new best friend will be an eyebrow stencil, it certainly is mine. I use a stencil every day as it saves time and creates two perfectly shaped eyebrows without all the artistry. You usually get 3 or 4 stencils in a pack so you can choose the shape that best matches your eyebrow shape. Apply the stencil to the eyebrow if it is sparse or if you have lost all your hair use the above method to work out where the eyebrow stencil should sit. Then colour in the stencil with a pencil or a powder, remove and you have perfect eyebrows. Make sure you flip the stencil over for the other side and don’t choose different shapes!
Another option is a semi-permanent eyebrow, which is much like a tattoo. This treatment is perfect for people who are concerned about hair loss prior to treatment or after hair loss due to treatment. Please seek your doctor’s approval before having this treatment, if you are undergoing active treatment. This treatment isn’t available on the NHS, but will be offered in salons/ spas in your area. The semi-permanent make-up artist will define your brows using a needle and special techniques to create the natural look that you desire. They look fabulous not just like a black line where your eyebrow should be or eyebrows that give you a permanently surprised look. This treatment is perfect for those who don’t want to worry about putting make-up on every morning to create eyebrows or fill in sparse brows. It lasts 12-18 months before you need a colour boost so it is a longer term solution. The length of time the eyebrow tattoo lasts very much depends on the person. The treatment itself takes about an hour and half and is apparently no more painful than having your eyebrows tweezed. Whichever route you choose, don’t worry, there is always a solution. You never have to go without eyebrows.
By Fiona Brunt