Why do people choose to cold cap?

Published: April 27, 2023

If you or someone you know is undergoing chemotherapy, you may be familiar with the unfortunate side effect of hair loss. Losing one’s hair due to cancer can be a difficult experience, as it often represents an outward sign of the illness and can impact a person’s self-image and confidence. Wigs may help alleviate the side effects. However, there is a technology that can help some patients keep their hair during chemo: cold capping.

You may be wondering, what on earth is cold capping? Simply put, scalp cooling is a process that involves placing cold caps, a tightly fitting, gel-filled cap, on the head before, during, and after chemotherapy treatment in the infusion center and then on your way home. The cold caps are cooled to a temperature between -15 to -40 degrees Celsius, depending on the specific cap used, and works by constricting the blood vessels in the head, thereby reducing blood flow to the hair follicles. This method can help preserve hair during chemotherapy, reducing the need for a wig. This, in turn, reduces the amount of chemotherapy drugs that reach the hair follicles, decreasing the likelihood of hair loss.

There are many reasons why people want to save their hair on chemo

First and foremost, it allows them to maintain a sense of normalcy and control during an otherwise challenging time. By preserving their hair, patients can feel more confident and comfortable in their appearance, which can have a positive impact on their emotional well-being. It’s like being able to keep one’s hair amidst the chaos of chemo.

Additionally, cold capping can help reduce the emotional toll chemotherapy can take on patients and their loved ones. Many chemotherapy patients find that losing their hair is one of the most difficult aspects of treatment, and by being able to avoid or minimize hair loss, they feel less anxious or depressed. It’s a way to take some control over their body and its appearance amidst the stress of treatment.

This can be particularly important for patients who are already dealing with the stress of a cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy treatment. Hair loss can be an additional weight on top of the already heavy load of a cancer diagnosis. With cold capping, chemo patients can reduce that weight and alleviate some of the emotional burden.

Cold capping may also help patients to maintain privacy and control over their illness. For many cancer patients undergoing chemo, hair loss can be a visible sign of their condition, which can lead to unwanted attention or pity from others. By using scalp cooling during chemo, patients can keep their hair and avoid this kind of attention. This may help them feel more empowered to control the narrative around their illness.

Is cold capping guaranteed to work every time?

It’s worth noting that cold capping is not a guaranteed solution for preventing hair loss. While it can be highly effective, success rates can vary depending on the type of chemotherapy drugs used, the patient’s individual physiology, and the specific cold capping technology being used. Some chemo patients may still experience hair thinning or shedding, even with cold capping, especially those on the harshest of regimens. However, for many chemo patients, the potential benefits can be significant.

How can I access cold cap therapy?

Despite its benefits, cold capping is not yet widely available in all treatment centers. However, everyone can rent the caps for the duration of their chemo, no matter where they live or the setting in which their chemo treatment will take place.

Some insurance plans will cover all or part of the cost of cold capping, so patients should check with their provider to preserve their hair. For more information on how to check, see Are Penguin Cold Caps covered by insurance?

Overall, cold capping can be a valuable tool for patients undergoing chemotherapy who want to preserve their hair. By reducing the impact of chemotherapy on the hair follicles, patients may be able to maintain a sense of normalcy and control during a challenging time.

While it may not be the right choice for everyone, many people find it to be a highly effective and beneficial treatment option. To find out more from the people who have cold-capped with Penguin, go to User Stories.

So, if you or someone you know is undergoing chemotherapy and concerned about hair loss, why not request a call-back from one of Penguin’s experienced consultants. Just fill in the form on the link below.

If you have any questions about cold capping, or anything else related to your chemo treatment, why not join the Facebook Chemotherapy Support Group – with thousands of members reaching out to each other, someone will no doubt be able to offer you first hand advice.