AmuAmu: Colorful Chemo Caps Made to Ease the Stress of Hair Loss

Hair loss is one of the leading causes of stress in female cancer patients.

According to a 2009 survey of 638 cancer patients by the National Cancer Center Hospital in Tokyo, the number one stressor for female patients was hair loss of the scalp. Eyebrow and eyelash loss, brittle nails, facial swelling and discoloration, and skin blemishes were also high on the list. For men, however, physical pain was the leading cause of stress, while hair loss and other appearance related issues were ranked much lower. This goes to show that women in particular are greatly affected by changes in physical appearance, especially hair loss.

Chemotherapy and Hair Loss

According to research by the National Cancer Center, hair loss usually begins approximately 3-4 weeks after chemotherapy. However, the timing and amount of hair loss depends highly on the type of medicine used and the duration of treatment; sometimes hair loss begins as early as 7-10 days after treatment.

But why does hair loss occur? Cancer occurs when cells in a certain area of the body begin to grow and mutate uncontrollably. In chemotherapy, powerful medicines are used to stop this growth; however, this medicine prevents the growth of not only cancer cells, but cells in the entire body - such as cells in the scalp and hair matrix. If these cells are not replaced, hair will stop being produced and the remaining hair will fall out. This not only affects hair on the scalp, but hair over the entire body - such as eyebrows and eyelashes. This hair loss does not happen all at once but gradually, as it is controlled by the patient’s hair cycle and the medicine’s effect on cells. Once a patient finishes chemotherapy, hair typically begins to grow back a few months later. 

Although hair loss is a temporary side effect, it still has a tremendous effect on self-esteem. As more and more cancer patients are able to lead normal lives during treatment, the fear of how changes in their appearance will be seen by both loved ones and strangers is a cause for concern in many patients.

AmuAmu: a light and breathable chemo cap produced by master knitwear artisans.

Mitsuke, Niigata is a town traditionally known for its knitwear; however, in recent years the industry has been in decline due to a shift towards outsourcing and “fast fashion.” One Mitsuke company, Sekiei Knitwear, has long been a supporter of the Japanese knitwear industry, and using the technology and designs of its master artisans, created its own brand “AmuAmu” to support both the local industry and cancer survivors everywhere.

A New Generation of Chemo Caps

Over 90 color/design variations, made with gentle materials to add color to your wardrobe without putting pressure on sensitive scalps.

The yarn leftover from other Sekiei Knitwear products is used to create these caps. The weight of each cap is a featherlike 7~15 grams and is designed so as to not put pressure on the scalp. Using natural materials such as organic cotton, AmuAmu is breathable, functional, and fashionable!

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