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.

Why Chemotherapy Causes Hair Loss

We all know that chemotherapy causes hair loss, but what you may be wondering is why it causes hair loss.  Sometimes it’s helpful to know why your body is experiencing a traumatic event, such as hair loss, in order for you to wrap your mind around it.  After reading this blog, you will understand the scientific reason why hair falls out due to chemotherapy.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it becomes a devastating life-changing event.  When you discuss your treatment options with your doctor and decide on chemotherapy, another devastating event is receiving the knowledge that your hair will fall out from the treatment.  Soon after a patient’s first chemo treatment, 90% of the hair in the anagen, or growing phase, can fall out.  This type of hair loss is called anagen effluvium and occurs after any insult, such as chemotherapy; to the hair follicle that impairs its growing activity.

Scientists have discovered that cancer is rapidly dividing cells.  Malignant tumors are toxic and can spread, thus impairing important functioning parts of the body, even if the cancer originally began in an area such as the surface of the skin.  Chemotherapy is meant to slow down or stop the dividing cells.  However, the unfortunate part of this type of treatment is that chemo doesn’t differentiate between the different kinds of rapidly dividing cells in our bodies, such as hair follicles in the growing phase.

Chemo may be necessary to stop some forms of cancer.  Loss of hair is less important than loss of life, which is why many cancer sufferers opt for the treatment.  However, when a woman loses her hair, it can feel like she is losing a piece of her identity.  DK International, a Minneapolis metro hair loss salon located in Chanhassen, MN, knows the importance of keeping your spirits and confidence high while fighting off cancer, which is why we went into the hair replacement business.  By contacting us today for your free one-hour consultation, you’ll be on the road to being your best self and in the best position to fight this disease.  During your consultation, we’ll help you choose the best wig to fit your style and budget.  We’ll answer your questions and ease your fears.  Be sure to connect with us on Facebook to find out how we’re helping our clients with their hair replacement 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!