The cold cap system is a product that can be used to minimize the amount of hair loss you experience during chemo. Although hair loss during chemo is highly variable, with each form of chemo affecting people differently, trying the cold cap can be another tool to possibly keep your hair.
Use Gentle Hair Care
You will need to be more gentle with your hair during chemo since the hair can become more fragile and your scalp may be sensitive. Keeping your hair care routine simple and gentle will minimize irritation. Avoid most hair products since they can cause buildup and are difficult to completely wash away. You will need to use a gentle shampoo and wash with cool water, so avoiding hair products will allow a milder shampoo to be more effective at cleansing your hair. All chemical processes and heat tools need to be avoided until months after you finish treatment. This include hair color and relaxers. For women with textured hair, they may find saturating their hair with a thick conditioner can reduce the combing needed to work through tangles.
Maintain Your Cold Cap Schedule
There is variability in the appropriate treatment schedule for using the cold cap, so you will need to be adherent to the schedule for the best chance at success. Typically, the cap can be worn at any time around your chemo session. Some people may find it is easier to wear the cap while they are having chemo since they may need to sit in the treatment center for several hours. The cap is made to be extremely cold, which reduces the amount of chemo that reaches the hair follicle. Hair follicles also become less active during cold treatments, which can prevent chemo from targeting them. Since chemotherapy is made to kill highly active cells, hairs, which are frequently in a growth cycle, are easily affected by chemo. To make treatment with the cold cap more comfortable, consider using a heating pad or dressing in several warm layers to stay comfortable.
Protect Your Hair And Scalp
Many people who lose their hair during chemo wear wigs or head wraps, but these items can be useful even if you retain your hair. Keeping your hair and scalp protected will reduce the environmental impact on your hair. For example, dry conditions, direct sunlight, and cold air all damage your hair, and it is more prone to damage during chemo. If you wear a head wrap, choose ones with a soft satin lining, which will minimize friction against your hair and can be more comfortable in areas where your hair may be thinning. Wigs also work well as a protective style, even if you are not losing your hair. Since you need to avoid manipulation of your natural hair, wigs provide styling options while keeping your hair and scalp protected.
Cold caps are an excellent tool to use while undergoing chemotherapy to give you the best chance at retaining your hair. In addition to using the cold cap, being extra gentle with your hair care can protect your fragile hair and scalp.
For more information about chemo cold caps, contact a local resource.