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.

Chemotherapy and Hair Loss

Hair loss is one of the most well-known and most feared side effects of chemotherapy. And for good reason – the majority of men and women who undergo chemotherapy treatment will experience some degree of hair loss. But everyone who undergoes chemo experiences hair loss differently, so it’s difficult to know what to expect or how to mentally prepare for it.

 

In general, hair loss usually begins with two to four weeks of starting chemotherapy treatment. The loss doesn’t just occur on the head, but can affect hair all over the body, including eyelashes and eyebrows.

 

chemo and hair loss

 

Sometimes, hair falls out in clumps, while it is sometimes more gradual – you might just notice more strands in your brush and hair that is thinning overall. Depending on the severity and pattern of your hair loss, you may decide to shave your head before it is completely gone, or simply style it in a way that masks some of the loss.

 

The hair loss will generally continue for the duration of the chemo treatment and for a few weeks after it ends. Hair usually regrows within six months, and it may come in with a different color or texture, because the cells that control the pigment of your hair are not yet functioning. As such, this is usually a temporary change.

 

So is there a way to prevent hair loss caused by chemotherapy? Unfortunately, there is not. Some drugs are more likely to cause hair loss than others, and the level of loss may also be affected by the dosage and duration of treatment. Your doctor should be able to help you prepare for hair loss as a possible side effect of chemotherapy.

 

Going through chemotherapy is difficult for many reasons, and hair loss can add a significant mental burden to an already difficult time. Make sure that you have support during this tough time.

 

If you’re experiencing hair loss caused by chemotherapy or radiation, DK International can help. At our discrete Twin Cities hair loss salon, our experienced and compassionate hair restoration experts can help you find an answer for your hair loss, whether you’re interested in wigs, hairsystems, or other hair solutions. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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!