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Hair loss can be an incredibly distressing side effect of chemotherapy. ‘Should I use a cold cap?’ is one of the most common questions people ask their doctors about chemotherapy.
Cold caps, or cooling cap worn during chemotherapy, present the possibility of reducing, or stopping hair loss from chemotherapy. How effective scalp cooling caps work is dependent on the chemotherapy drug, doses used and type of hair among some other reasons.
Scalp cooling decreases the blood flow to the hair follicles, reducing the number of chemotherapy drug that reach them.
1.1 There are two main kinds of scalp cooling, and both involve wearing a ‘cold cap.’
The first sort uses a gel-filled hat that is chilled and substituted at regular intervals during your chemotherapy to maintain the a cool scalp.
The second kind uses a refrigerated cooling machine to continuously pump a liquid coolant via the cap throughout the treatment.
Both kinds of scalp cooling cap need to be worn before, during, and after chemotherapy. Machine based cooling caps require extra time spent in the ward for chemo sessions. This is not the case with gel filled caps as the pre and post cooling can be done while travelling to and from the session.
1.2 What does the research show?
Controlled studies show, when used correctly, gel filled cooling caps such as Arctic Heat caps are just as effective as machine-based cooling systems. Patient feedback has identified a much more convenient and ease of use with gel filled caps. Results show that when used correctly scalp cooling greatly reduces hair loss, in most cases between 50-80%.
The initial feeling of the cold on the scalp can cause mild headaches and a chilly feeling, these symptoms soon disappear and with some adjustments usually are not a major concern.
Some research has also indicated that people with a thicker hair layer might be more probable to lose hair than those with a thinner layer of hair. This may be because the scalp doesn’t cool down sufficiently due to the insulating effect of the hair.
It is also advised to bring warm clothes when observing an appointment, as cold caps can make people sense cold. The initial part of the treatment may be discomfiting while adjusting to the cool temperature.
One of the best cooling caps available in the market today are being produced by Arctic Heat, an Australian owned and operated company founded by Shane Williams. Arctic Heat focus on delivering an innovative line of products for athletes, industry, medical and personal use that will control heat stress, improve quality of life and increase comfort, competitive advantage and productivity.
The company is world renowned, offering cooling products designed to reduce or eliminate the effects of heat stress and heat related illnesses. Arctic Heat cooling caps are another revolutionary, easy to use product, proven to successfully reduce hair loss in chemotherapy.