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Joan Lunden Inspires Viewers with Hair Loss
by Angela Santoriello
Bald is beautiful and Joan Lunden proved it on October’s People magazine cover.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer this past summer, the former ‘Good Morning America’ correspondent created a forum to discuss chemotherapy and hair loss in the recent People issue.
“I'm almost reluctant to say it because it sounds superficial,” Lunden said in the magazine article, “but when you lose your hair, it just affects the way that you look at yourself in the mirror.”
Lunden’s boldness to shoot the cover bald and her brutal honesty in the interview set the stage for women to embrace their own hair loss by admitting how uncomfortable it can become.
“You feel less feminine, pretty or desirable, and it's not an easy thing to go through,” she said.
While Lunden addressed the aesthetics of hair loss, the physical discomfort can be painful as well.
“Sometimes, either during the re-growth of your hair or when you are bald, your scalp may feel extra tender, dry, and itchy,” the American Cancer Society reported.
Like Lunden, the society provides hope by offering tips to help the discomfort of chemotherapy and hair loss. Using mild moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, applying gentle creams to your head, using soft-bristle brushes, placing hair dryers on low heat and massaging the scalp as needed are all ways to seek relief and help with hair loss.
Though she bravely went bald on the cover of the magazine, Lunden has worn wigs to cover her head since her chemotherapy. She even offers beauty advice to viewers who wear wigs on her website in the video blog “My Wig Lesson for the Day.”
According to Lunden, after watching her hair stylist work on her wigs, she mastered the art herself. Offering advice like primping the wig on a mannequin head before wearing it or using clamps to keep the wig on tightly if styled while worn, Lunden confidently shows viewers how to do the same.
Patients who choose to wear wigs should shop for the hairpieces before the loss of hair to help with matching natural hair color and texture. Since wigs can be expensive, patients can speak to their doctors before purchasing a wig, because many health insurance companies cover the cost when it is submitted as a “hair prosthesis” prescription.
Lunden’s choice to be photographed without the wig she presently wears was harder than she expected.
"I had to make this big decision about whether or not to do the cover with no hair,” Lunden told People. “It certainly isn't the comfortable way to go, but I decided I was going to try and help others and show women that this isn't the end of the world. You can go on – and that was hugely empowering."