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.

Hair Loss 101: Causes and Symptoms

What are the Main Causes and Symptoms of Hair Loss?

hair loss

Hair loss is not a fun side-effect to have to deal with and can cause many of us to become self-conscious about our appearance. However, most of us will not be able to avoid it, either early on or when we get older. There are many different types of hair loss as well as causes. Some are inevitable but some can be prevented and treated. Here are the main causes and symptoms of hair loss:

Hair Loss Causes

Family history – Hair loss is inherited in most cases, also known as male or female-pattern baldness.

Stress – This could be from physical stress from surgery or an injury, an illness or emotional stress.

Chemotherapy – This powerful medicine destroys cancer cells but also the cells that help you grow hair.

Physical damage – Pulling on your hair too tightly from ponytails or braids can cause loss. Using curling irons or straighteners too often, as well as coloring your hair can damage it as well.

Age – The older you get, the less your hair will grow naturally. Your hair will get thinner and tends to break more often.

Poor diet – Protein and iron are big building blocks for growing your hair. Any deficiencies in these two will have cause you to lose hair.

Thyroid disease – Most commonly hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism will play a big part in hair loss as well, also combining with stress and diet.

Hair Loss Symptoms

Your symptoms will depend on the type of hair loss you have. Thinning hair happens over time, so you will probably not notice them falling out. If you hair is shedding, you will lose your hair in clumps that fall out. You may notice hair on your pillow after sleeping, or excessive hair in your brush or shower. A general loss of hair would cause you to lose hair all over your scalp, but focal hair loss is in just one area. Inherited hair loss will cause bald spots around the forehead or on the top of the head.

Contact us today to schedule a free one-hour consultation, where you will meet one-on-one with one of our experienced technicians to discuss the type of hair loss you’re experiencing and the solution that best fits with your lifestyle and budget needs. We offer various products that will aid in your treatment including volume solutions and professional strength products.

Hair Loss Due to Chemotherapy

The Effects of Chemotherapy on Hair and How to Handle It

homepage-slide1Most people don’t put too much thought into their hair and it’s health, unless they are facing the possibility of it falling out. Both men and women going through chemotherapy have a greater chance of losing their hair. The amount or speed it falls out at depends on the type and dose of medication you receive, but nonetheless, the chemotherapy will affect hair growth and loss.

 

Why does chemotherapy attack the hair? The medications involved are very powerful and go after the rapidly growing cancer cells. They also go after other growing cells as well, including hair roots. Although hair loss is primarily thought to be on the scalp, it goes after hair on the entire body, including eyebrows and eyelashes. Hair loss can be temporary and will start to grow back about 3-6 months after chemo has ended. People may find that their hair falls out in clumps all at once, or gradually, finding hair on their pillow, hairbrush or shower. Whether one’s hair is dramatically thinner  or goes bald completely, it is a hard transition to go through. Here are some tips in prepping for hair loss due to chemo and some ideas on dealing with the change.

  1. Be gentle with your hair prior to chemotherapy. Skip the hair color treatments which will only weaken your hair. Allow your hair to air dry and refrain from using hot devices such as hair curlers and straighteners.
  2. Consider cutting your hair if it is long. This will make the hair loss process seem less noticeable and be less of a transition shock to you.
  3. Get headwear to cover your head during or after such as a wig, scarves or hats. Being self-conscious about being bald may be lessened if it is covered up and not as noticeable. Keep your confidence during treatments.
  4. Protect your scalp from the cold and sun with sunscreen and hats. Your scalp may be sensitive from going through treatments or make you extra cold. Stay comfortable and cover up when necessary.
  5. Be patient. Your hair may grow back slowly or look different in color or texture than what it was originally. It will take some time to get it back to what it was like before the damage from chemotherapy. Allowing it to grow back naturally is key.

Contact us today to schedule a free one-hour consultation, where you will meet one-on-one with one of our experienced technicians to discuss the type of hair loss you’re experiencing and the solution that best fits with your lifestyle and budget needs.

How To Cope With Losing Your Hair After Chemo

 

Kathy After

Kathy After

DK International is familiar with the emotional and physical struggles women go through when they are diagnosed with breast cancer.  It can seem like their world is closing in on them when they fear that much for their health; and then they find out their hair is going to fall out.  I wanted to include one testimonial a client wrote up for us who went through just that.  DK International was honored to assist Kathy in her successful fight against breast cancer.

 

“Each day was filled with many doctors’ appointments and so many unknowns.  A day I vividly remember was when the oncology nurse said; ‘You will lose your hair 14 days after your first chemo treatment.’  I looked at my husband, Jay, and said, ‘no way, I do not believe her.’  I dropped my head on Jay’s shoulder and began to cry.  For some reason, as women, our identity seems to be based on our hair.  I am not a vain person, but losing my long blonde curly locks felt like my femininity being stripped from me.  Overwhelmed and exhausted, we took home a list of businesses in the Twin Cities where I could shop for a wig.

“My mom, sister, and a dear friend took me to DK International.  I love shopping, but was not excited about this kind.  Upon arrival, the staff at DK was very friendly and professional.  The private room for my consultation made me feel at ease, yet I panicked when I looked around the room and didn’t see any wigs that looked like my hair.  I knew my naturally curly hair was going to be a challenge and my eyes began to fill with tears.  The staff immediately comforted me.  They began to explain the option of custom ordering a wig.  This would allow me to get my exact hair color, curl, and style.  I was nervous about ordering a wig I was not able to try on, however I knew I was with the experts and that helped to reassure me I was making the right purchase.  We were about to leave, when I began to cry.  I didn’t want to lose my hair and could not imagine wearing this wig.  Then, the manager of DK took off her wig revealing her bald head and informed me she has Alopecia.  I would have never guessed her hair was a wig.  It was beautiful, she looked fabulous and this gave me hope.  A few weeks later my wig arrived and it was perfect!

“I feel blessed to have been positively affected by the staff at DK who, with ease, assisted my journey to become a four year survivor.  I will continue to ‘pay it forward’ and share my experience with others.  I would advise anyone to visit DK for the free consultation; it is one hour that will change your life!”

 

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, contact DK International today to schedule a free one-hour consultation.  Our experienced technicians know just what you’re going through and are here to comfort you and help you.  Connect with us on Facebook, where we share our weekly blogs, and join our online community!