Cold Caps FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why do patients consider using cold caps?
Different patients have different reasons for considering cold caps, such as:
- They want to keep their diagnosis private.
- They hope that minimizing hair loss will make coping with their cancer diagnosis easier for their young children or other family members.
- They feel that maintaining an element of control or a part of their identity can bolster their mental wellness during treatment.
- How do I decide what's best for me?
There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to use cold caps. Answering these questions may help with your decision:
- Is keeping my hair during treatment important to me?
- The post-cooling time requires patients to sit for several hours. Is there any reason this would be difficult for me?
- How will longer days at the infusion center impact me?
- Can I follow the hair care recommendations for patients using cold caps?
If you decide to use cold caps, you'll need to choose a product. At UCSF, we offer two: Penguin and DigniCap. When deciding between them, ask yourself:
- Is one of the cold cap products more affordable for me?
- Do I want to complete my post-cooling sessions at home or in the infusion center?
- Do I have a caregiver who can come to my appointments to perform the capping process if I choose Penguin? If not, can I afford its white-glove service?
- How else can I protect my hair during chemotherapy?
To minimize hair loss, be as gentle as possible with your hair during your course of treatment:
- Wash your hair only once a week or less.
- Use only sulfate-, silicone- and paraben-free shampoos. (If you have dyed or overprocessed hair, continue using your usual products.)
- Avoid hair-styling products, such as gels and creams.
- Refrain from dyeing, heat-styling and blow-drying your hair.
- Limit combing to once a day.
- Don't put your hair in tight ponytails or buns.
- Avoid hair extensions (including sew-ins, weaves, lace front wigs, braids and crochets). They can stress your hair and worsen shedding or block scalp contact with the cold cap.
- Avoid touching your hair, which can jostle the roots, and limit contact with rough materials. Use satin or other soft, tightly woven pillowcases.
More hair care tips are available on the DigniCap and Penguin websites.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.
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