Fayette County

Lexington salon helps cancer patients with hair loss find the right wig

Kimberly Sporing at Hair by Kimberly at Lerry’s Hair Design in Lexington, Ky., Monday, September 26, 2016.
Kimberly Sporing at Hair by Kimberly at Lerry’s Hair Design in Lexington, Ky., Monday, September 26, 2016.

Kimberly Sporing works in a complex off New Circle Road that helps people with their hair — Lerry’s Hair Design.

Her end of the business, Hair by Kimberly, works with those who either don’t have, or are actively losing, that hair. She has worked in the field of hair loss for 15 years, and is now a medical hair loss specialist.

“The business used to be men,” Sporing said. “Now it’s women losing their hair for all sorts of reasons.”

For many breast cancer patients facing treatment, there are a raft of little traumas: nausea and exhaustion with chemotherapy and radiation, chest drains and pain with mastectomy and that awful day when the first strands of hair fall onto your lap.

Breast cancer patients can expect hair loss to begin two to four weeks into treatment and hair may fall out in clumps or gradually, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website. The upset associated with hair loss and an altered physical appearance is a constant reminder of the changes going on in the body, according to the clinic.

When it’s time to take on hair loss — which may extend to eyebrows and eyelashes — many patients find themselves in Sporing’s beautician’s chair. She will help them with everything from the initial shearing off of remaining hair to fitting and styling the right wig.

Cancer patients may find themselves needing a wig and uninformed about successful wig wearers — they don’t simply slap something on and have it look great. Most need some help with picking a grade of hair. Wigs vary in materials used, with some so advanced that they actually feel silkier than actual hair. A brand Sporing carries called Cyberhair has ridges and recesses similar to human hair, but wigs are also constructed with chemically processed human hair, untreated human hair, polyester synthetic fiber and modacrylic synthetic fiber.

Some pieces that Sporing uses can be fixed with medical-grade adhesive that allows clients to swim and shower wearing their faux hair.

“No wig is ‘you’ right off the shelf,” Sporing said.

She can help tailor a wig that can make people look twice because it looks so similar to the style and color the person had before they got sick. Sporing can also design full wigs or wig pieces and have them made for clients.

She keeps a private room for consultations, creating a luxury experience for a person whether they have cancer or alopecia-related hair loss or simply pattern baldness. She also works with children with hair loss.

“You come here, you still feel like you’re getting a salon experience,” she said.

Sporing has inspiration: On the wall of her room a little boy left a Post-It note thank-you: “They helped my mom.”

It’s one of her favorite things.

Cheryl Truman: 859-231-3202, @CherylTruman.

Facing hair loss with breast cancer: Advice and options

Online, Cancer & Careers offers tips to cancer patients on selecting the right wig, caring for it and providing daily hair care for it.

The American Cancer Society in Lexington at 1500 College Way offers free wigs to women diagnosed with breast cancer and facing treatment. It also has the Hope Lodge (free lodging for cancer patients receiving treatment in Lexington away from home), Road to Recovery program (free transportation by trained volunteers), and the Look Good … Feel Better program (trained cosmetologists helping patients deal with the harsh effects of treatment to their skin, hair and nails).

Not in Lexington? Contact your local American Cancer Society office or call 1-800-227-2345 to see if an office near you participates in the free wig program.

Not a wig person? The American Cancer Society’s Tender Loving Care store, available as a print catalog as well as online, offers a broad selection of hats, sleep caps, turbans and kerchiefs as well as mastectomy products. To request a catalog, call 1-800-850-9445.