The evidence that cold cap therapy works

Published: July 31, 2023

One of the most dreaded side effects of chemotherapy is hair loss. According to an article published in Skin Appendage Disorders, 14 percent of women say they would refuse chemo for this reason alone. However, there is a treatment for chemo-induced alopecia (CIA) that’s proven to work and has helped thousands of patients preserve their hair during chemotherapy, and that’s cold capping.

Although cold capping, often called scalp cooling, has been available for over 20 years, the medical profession has only started recommending it to patients in the last few years. Oncologists now recognize the benefits of treating patients holistically rather than solely focusing on the disease. This includes helping patients to maintain a positive mental attitude to aid recovery, and a big part of that is supporting people who want to save their hair during chemo.

In this article, we explore the concept of cold capping and its efficacy, and share real-life patient stories.


Understanding Cold Capping

Cold capping uses specialized caps that are cooled to very low temperatures and worn before, during, and after chemotherapy sessions. The cold temperature constricts blood vessels in the scalp, reducing the amount of chemotherapy drugs that reach the hair follicles, thus minimizing hair loss.

Research Supporting Cold Capping



Numerous studies have investigated the efficacy of cold capping, particularly for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. We delve into some key research findings:


– OhioHealth, Retrospective evaluation of Penguin Cold Caps for chemotherapy-induced alopecia

75% of patients saved more than 75% of their hair when using the Penguin Cold Cap system

During the study period, 100 patients began cold capping, with 95% completing the treatment. Over 92% retained over 50% of their hair, with 75% saving over 75% of their hair The type of chemotherapy significantly influenced results; 71.4% of those on doxorubicin regimens had successful hair retention, compared to 95.7% with paclitaxel and 96.6% with docetaxel. High compliance with cold capping protocols likely contributed to the overall effectiveness of 92.1%, which is consistent with or higher than many reports in the literature.
Find out more: Clinical Breast Cancer Investigation Results

– Clinical Breast Cancer Investigation

65% of patients saved more than 75% of their hair:

A study in Clinical Breast Cancer investigated scalp cooling’s effectiveness in preventing hair loss for women undergoing breast cancer treatment, specifically adjuvant TC chemotherapy. The results were promising, with 65% experiencing less than 25% hair loss (“excellent” outcome) and 25% reporting hair loss between 25% and 50% (“good” outcome). The study concludes that cold caps and scalp cooling can effectively prevent hair loss during TC chemotherapy.
Find out more: Clinical Breast Cancer Investigation Results

– Providence St Joseph Health

80% success rate:

Providence St Joseph Health conducted a small study using Penguin Cold Caps to assess the impact of caretaker training and patient feedback on hair loss prevention. 80% of patients achieved 50% or more hair retention. Those who completed the therapy also reported improved emotional well-being and future outlook. The study emphasizes the importance of training and support in optimizing hair loss prevention during treatment.
Find out more: Providence St Joseph Health Study Results

– Turkish Journal of Oncology

78.5% of patients experienced no significant hair loss:

A review article published in the “Turkish Journal of Oncology” examined a series of five studies on women undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. The average success rate (the percentage of women with no significant hair loss) was 78.5%, demonstrating scalp cooling is a viable option for minimizing hair loss during chemotherapy.
Find out more: Turkish Journal of Oncology Article

– Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

74% to 100% satisfaction:

A clinical trial by “Breast Cancer Research and Treatment” evaluated the effectiveness of Penguin Cold Caps on 103 breast cancer patients. The study revealed that cold capping significantly reduced hair loss, preventing CIA in 61% of patients. Additionally, patients who used cold caps reported overall satisfaction levels of 74% to 100%, with all patients who completed scalp cooling recommending Penguin.
Find out more: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, Clinical Trial Results

– European Journal of Cancer

81% protection against hair loss:

A research article published in the “European Journal of Cancer” studied the effectiveness of the Penguin Cold Cap scalp cooling system. 57 patients receiving a chemo regimen that includes Taxanes (TX), anthracyclines (ANR), and etoposide (ET), all of which are known, major alopecia-causing agents. The research found that overall protection of 81% was achieved.
Find out more: European Journal of Cancer Article


Patient experiences

In addition to scientific evidence, patient testimonials provide valuable insights into the success of cold capping. Here are a few excerpts from breast cancer survivors who used Penguin Cold Caps during their treatment:

Picture of Jennifer Chemo

Last day of chemo for Jennifer

Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer and given a treatment plan of weekly rounds of Taxol and Herceptin. After chemo she said, “My hair looks amazing – super healthy, lots of growth, and most importantly, I still look like me”. Read Jennifer’s story.

Meg received a diagnosis of multiple myeloma in 2023 and shared her experience, ” “Receiving my cancer diagnosis and then having to deal with the treatment was bad enough, but going bald on top of that was too much. I am so happy with my results. I kept a positive attitude that it would work, and it surely did”. Read Meg’s story.

Liesl saved 95% of her hair with Penguin Cold Caps. She says, “Since my first cold capping session, I’ve told everyone who will listen about the benefits of this therapy, including strangers and internet support groups. It is now my personal mission to make sure that every mother diagnosed with breast cancer is aware that this therapy exists and that saving her hair is her choice to make. It is one I am eternally grateful I made, and so is my daughter.” Read Liesl’s story.

To find out why more patients are successful with Penguin Cold caps, click on the button:


Cold capping is a proven technique for preserving hair during chemotherapy

It provides patients with a sense of control, improved well-being, and enhanced self-esteem during a challenging time. Supported by research studies and patient testimonials, cold capping offers hope to breast cancer patients facing the possibility of hair loss.

It is important to note that while cold capping has shown promising results, it may not be suitable for everyone. Factors such as the specific chemotherapy drugs, the dosage, and individual patient characteristics can influence the effectiveness of cold capping.

By arranging a Call Back with Penguin Cold Caps, our experts can guide you on whether cold capping is appropriate for you.