Do Cooling Caps Prevent Hair Loss during Chemotherapy?

Hair loss is one of the most well-known side effects of chemotherapy – and for many, one of the most dreaded. Chemotherapy can be difficult enough without the added emotional effects of hair loss, so it’s understandable that cancer patients would want to preserve their hair. One way in which hair loss might be minimized during chemotherapy is cooling caps, or scalp hypothermia.

 

According to the American Cancer Society, scalp hypothermia involves cooling the scalp before, during and after chemotherapy, in an effort to reduce or prevent hair loss. Ice packs or specialized cooling caps are used to cool the scalp.

 

The cooling effect minimizes hair loss by constricting blood vessels in the scalp, reducing the amount of chemo chemicals that reach the hair follicle cells. In addition, cold hair follicles are less active. Because chemo targets rapidly dividing cells, the follicles are less attractive. The sum effect is that chemo doesn’t affect follicle cells, and hair loss is reduced or prevented altogether.

 

cooling caps

The newest cooling caps involve a two-piece system in which a cooled liquid is circulated through a cap placed on the scalp during chemotherapy sessions. A second cap is placed over the cooling cap to keep the cold in and to hold the system in place.

 

But do cooling caps really work? Some research has found little to no reduction in hair loss. However, in studies of the new cool cap systems, more than half of the women using them during chemo for early-stage breast cancer lost less than half of their hair. The success of cooling caps may also be linked to the type and dosage of chemo drugs used, as well as the thickness of hair and proper fitting of the cap.

 

There are side effects, however, including headaches, scalp pain, chills and upper body discomfort.

 

Whether you use a cooling cap or not, chemotherapy often results in some degree of hair loss. At DK International, we’re here to support you through your chemotherapy and hair loss journey. Our compassionate Minneapolis hair loss professionals will discuss your options for hair restoration, hair replacement, wigs and more. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What is Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia?

In our last blog post, we discussed the unique challenges of caring for fragile, breakage-prone African-American hair, and the steps to take in order to prevent thinning hair and hair loss. Today, we’re going to go more in-depth into an ailment that can cause permanent hair loss in African-American women: central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia.

 

central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia

As explained by the American Academy of Dermatology, central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, or CCCA, is believed to be associated with the frequent pulling of hair in African-American women. Specifically, it is caused by hair being repeatedly styled into braids or similar tight hairstyles, causing excessive traction.

 

There is some debate about whether chemicals – such as those in relaxers – that are applied to the hair can contribute to CCCA, but most experts believe that there is no direct association between relaxers and hair loss. However, women who are being treated for CCCA are advised to discontinue the use of relaxers and other chemical treatments, as they may cause further damage to already-fragile hair.

 

CCCA can lead to permanent hair loss – in fact, it’s the most common form of permanent loss in African-American women. This occurs when hair follicles are replaced by scar tissue, preventing hair from regrowing. This is why it’s especially important to seek treatment for CCCA as soon as you notice thinning hair or hair loss.

 

In many cases, treatment involves two steps. First, discontinue styling the hair in ways that pull or strain against the scalp. This can help to slow or even reverse the progression of CCCA. Second, a dermatologist may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, usually involving a combination of topical and injectable corticosteroids.

 

If you’re experiencing permanent hair loss caused by central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, DK International is here to help. No matter your budget or goals, we offer a variety of hair replacement products and services, including hair loss solutions, hair systems, wigs and more. Contact our Minneapolis hair loss salon to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced hair replacement professionals.

How to Protect Fragile African-American Hair

African-American hair has a unique structure which makes it more fragile and prone to breakage and damage. As such, more than half of African-American women state that hair loss is their primary hair concern.

 

African-American hair

Because of the increased risk of damage, it’s important for African-American men and women to take the appropriate steps to protect their hair against hair breakage and loss. We’ll share a few tips for African-American hair care, courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology, below.

 

Washing and Conditioning

Wash hair at least once per week in order to remove hair products and avoid build-up. Rinse hair after workouts to prevent sweat and salt from building up in the hair. Use conditioner after every wash or rinse, concentrating on the fragile ends of the hair.

 

Choose shampoos and other hair care products made from natural ingredients, such as shea butter, olive oil, aloe vera or others. These can help to build and maintain moisture in the hair. Avoid sulfates, as they can be drying.

 

Similarly, look for conditioners with amino acids, wheat proteins, hydrolyzed proteins or panthenol. Those ingredients will help to strengthen and protect the hair.

 

Styling

Apply heat protectants after washing and before styling to minimize the potential damage from heat. Use ceramic irons or combs with straightening hair.

 

Don’t attempt to relax hair at home – it’s important to enlist a professional to ensure safe application. Wait at least eight weeks to do touch-ups, and never use a relaxer on hair that has already been relaxed.

 

Talk to Your Dermatologist

If you begin to notice any excessive damage or thinning hair, talk to a dermatologist. There may be an underlying cause that’s contributing to your hair loss.

 

No matter your hair type, style or condition, DK International can help with your hair loss. We carry a wide variety of hair replacement products and services, including hair loss solutions, hair systems, wigs and more. Contact us to schedule a free consultation at our discrete Twin Cities hair loss salon.

Minimizing Hair Loss From Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis is a fairly common skin disorder. It causes red, raised and often scaly patches to appear on the scalp, sometimes spreading to the back of the neck, forehead or behind the ears. According to WebMD, about half of the 7.5 million Americans who have been diagnosed with psoriasis deal with patches on their scalp. Doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes psoriasis, and while there are many effective treatments, there is no cure.

 

scalp psoriasis

Thinning hair isn’t a side effect of scalp psoriasis itself. However, scratching or picking at scaly patches can cause hair loss. The use of harsh chemicals to treat the disease or the stress it causes can also contribute.

 

Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the hair loss caused by scalp psoriasis, as discussed in a recent article by the American Academy of Dermatology. We’ll highlight a few below.

 

Be Gentle

When removing scaly patches on the scalp, gently comb away the scale. Don’t pick at scales – doing so can aggravate the skin, causing the psoriasis to worsen or hair to fall out. If your scales are itchy, scratch with short, smooth fingernails to avoid causing further damage.

 

Alternate Shampoos

If you’re using a medicated shampoo, try alternating it with a gentle, moisturizing shampoo. Use a non-medicated conditioner after every wash to keep hair moisturized and strong.

 

Minimize Heat

If possible, allow hair to air dry. Psoriasis makes the scalp extremely dry, so the heat of a blow dryer can cause additional dryness and irritation.

 

Avoid Harsh Treatments

It’s tempting to use products to boost thinning hair or hide psoriasis patches, but try to minimize the use of harsh hair products. Before putting anything on your head, test it on a small patch of your scalp. If you experience irritation on that patch, don’t use the product.

 

If you’re experiencing thinning hair or hair loss caused by scalp psoriasis, talk to your dermatologist about the cause and treatments. Then, give DK International a call. Our experienced Minneapolis-St. Paul hair replacement professionals can help you find the hair restoration product or hair solution that works for you. Call our Minneapolis hair restoration salon to schedule a consultation.

Does Weight Loss Cause Hair Loss?

If you’ve recently started experiencing hair loss with no apparent cause, you’ve probably started looking back at any recent changes in your life, trying to determine the cause. Did you recently have a baby? Have you experienced a hormonal shift? Are you suffering from a disease known to cause hair loss? Could weight loss be the cause of your thinning hair?

 

The answer to that last question: no! While thinning hair or complete hair loss can be caused by hormones, stress, trauma, cancer and other diseases, it is generally NOT caused solely by weight loss. However, thinning hair is a pretty normal byproduct of weight loss for a few reasons, which were discussed in a recent Women’s Health article.

 

weight loss and hair loss

First, it’s important to recognize the difference between thinning hair and major or complete hair loss. A degree of hair loss is associated with rapid weight loss, or with weight loss caused by trauma or stress. And the more weight you lose, the more hair you’re likely to lose. But it’s unlikely to experience complete hair loss due solely to a drop in weight.

 

But the cause of the loss can be attributed to one primary factor: diet. When people are actively working to lose weight, they often consume less protein and fewer nutrients. The body will always divert protein to its most important functions, leaving hair last on the list. This can lead to thin or thinning hair.

 

The good news? This form of hair loss is completely temporary. Once you’re no longer actively losing weight, your hair will no longer fall out. And you can work to avoid it by ensuring that you’re consuming enough protein and vital vitamins and minerals. Zinc and biotin can be especially beneficial for hair growth.

 

If weight loss has caused your hair to weaken or thin, give DK International a call. Our experienced Minneapolis-St. Paul hair replacement professionals can help you find the product or hair solution for your specific issue and budget. Call our Minneapolis hair restoration salon to schedule a consultation.