Patricia Brown Clinic

'LIFE' Blog

'LIFE' Blog

Cold Cap Hair Guide

Posted on May 31, 2016 at 12:55 AM

With the type of chemo I had, I would of 100% lost my hair had it not been for using the Paxman Cold Cap. I was so thankful to also experience zero hair loss, I know I owe this to the cold cap, but I have put together a little guide for cold cap users, as I think they all contributed to the fantastic results I had...

Before Treatment:

DO NOT CUT YOUR HAIR! I repeat DO NOT CUT YOUR HAIR! I wasn't told I had too, but I have heard that some people are told to cut their hair short before using the cold cap, No, No and NO! You do not need to cut your hair, this will have no effect on how effective the cold cap is for you, it is completely pointless and defeating the object! You are preserving the hair you have, so keep it exactly how it is.

On the day of your treatment take some over the counter painkillers, I found Panadol to be good. I would either take two as I had my anti-sickness tablet an hour before chemo, or when I got to the hospital. This will just take the bite off if you do find it uncomfortable.



Before the cold cap goes on, your hair has to be wet, well your scalp to be exact. You don't need to wet the length of your hair, but the top and your scalp needs to be soaking wet. If like me you have thick hair make sure you get through all the thickness and get it soaked! Use a water spray bottle and the nurses are very busy so you can help out by doing it yourself, or getting whoever has come with you to chemo to do it for you.

 You want to use products with the least chemicals during treatment, that goes for your hair too! Retire your hairspray, hair mouuse and dry shampoos and go natural. Look for shampoo's and conditioners that are sulphate free and I'd recommend starting to switch to these in the weeks before treatment and avoid colouring your hair before your first treatment.


Then you need to apply a conditioner, again you don't need to do the ends. I found Body Shop's Rainforest Volume Conditioner worked well, as it was a thick consistency so gave a good barrier to stop your hair sticking to the cap as it freezes.

Body Shop Rainforest collection is ideal to use not just as the conditioner to put on while using the cold cap but also when you wash your hair at home too. These shampoos and conditioners are lovely and natural with no sulphates, parabens or nasty chemicals.



Now the important part, cap fitting! Make sure that the cap is a good fit, it needs to be a really snug fit. Don't rush this part, it is vital to get the correct fitting cap. Your silicone cap should cover your scalp, then the helmet should hold this snugly in place with no air pocket underneath, it needs to be a good grip to the top of your head.



It is a good idea to wear a headband so the cap isn't touching the skin around your hairline directly. I found the velour headbands with the Velcro worked really well, but be careful to not let it cover the hair that is going under the cap. I would recommend tucking the top of your ears under the headband as they can get a little frosty!



Then you are good to go. The machine will be turned on for the required time, I'd always say have the cap left on a little longer than the recommended time than less.



Don't have the cap applied while it is cold, this will be too much of a shock to your head and you will very likely feel discomfort. Switch it on once it is properly in place, then it will gradually get colder as its on, far easier for you to get used too, but allow the extra time for it to get to the right temperature when on your head.



You may hear a slight whooshing noise as the water goes from the machine to your helmet and it should feel cool all over.



Usually, it is the first 10 minutes that are the worst. If you are going to find it painful or uncomfortable it will be the first 10 minutes, if you can stick with it for this first part you will find it gets far easier after that. You may like me, not even notice its on.



At the end of the required time, the Paxman Cooling System is switched off. Don't take the helmet and cap straight off, you need to defrost. You may as well be a chicken you have taken out the freezer, but don't worry your defrost time will be minutes not hours. I found 5 or 10 minutes did the trick.



Carefully remove the cap, leave it a little bit longer if it still feels stuck to your hair, what you are likely to see is a frosty covering over your hair. This is good and ideally what you want to see every time.



Leave your hair alone for the rest of the day.



Wash your hair gently the next day in lukewarm water if you can. Don't rough towel dry it! Just gently pat dry it to get out the excess water then get on your comfy clothes, leave your hair alone and have a well deserved rest for the day.



In the time between chemo's try to do as little as possible with your hair, try to avoid tying it up, avoid heated appliances to start with. If you must blow dry do so on a low heat.



If like me, you find your hair is doing really well you can ease up on your routine, I would blow dry it gently, run the straighteners through it, but other than that I wouldn't do much in the way of styling with it unless I was going out, but I still wouldn't mess with it too much.



You can't colour your hair while using the cold cap and I also didn't have mine trimmed until after chemo, this was just personal choice but the less stress and trauma to your hair the better. Ideally you want to just leave your hair alone and do as little to it as possible during the months of your treatment.



Invest in a good quality brush that wont pull or snag your hair as you brush it. I found the brushes mentioned below to be essential to my hair care during treatment. If you have an old brush that pulls at your hair throw it or retire it to a drawer. A good qulaity brush will keep your hair in top condition.



Tangle Teezer: Amazing, been my hair's best friend for years but really came into its own during my treatment. This gently brushes through your hair, easily brushes out and knots and can be used on wet or dry hair.


You can purchase these from a range of shops like Boots or has the full range.


Denman Tangle Tamer Ultra: This large paddle brush is ideal for brushing through dry hair to keep it in good condition and knot free. You can find these in Boots, Amazon or



Wet Brush-Pro Amazing: Amazing, Amazing! This brush is in my opinion is a superb de-tangler for wet hair. It glides through your hair when wet and does not pull at all. Your hair is effortlessly knot free. I would never be without this now.



I used all these brushes and would highly recommend them. The reason I kept my hair was of course down to the cold cap. But due to having fantastic results of having zero loss, I do think that really looking after my hair during treatment and maintaining that routine helped.



The Paxman Cooling System will give you a really good chance of prevent or minimising hair loss. But here are the most important points, get them ingrained into your mind and stick by these rules all through!



Make sure your hair on the top of your head and scalp is soaking wet each time.



Make sure that the cold cap is fitting properly every time you wear it. This is vital. Don't take a "I think its on right" or "it should be ok" it has to be on correctly for every chemo.


Make sure the cap is on for the right amount of time, every time.

As hard as it is, try not to stress about if you will still lose your hair as stress can affect us in many physical ways. You may think it's easy for me to say as I had zero hair loss, but remember I had 12 times of using the cap, the wait to see if any hair came out  each time. Had it of been on wrong at any one of these I still could of lost my hair even on my last chemo session. As I found I was experiencing zero hair loss, I didn't get flippant over it, I insisted on the 3 points above were done properly every single time and I didn't let it enter my head that my hair was going to go, it wasn't, simple. I refused to entertain anything else. Maybe part of it was luck, maybe positivity and determination did play a part, maybe it was lots of things. But the cold cap has 100,000 users and many of these have experienced zero or minimal hair loss, you could well be one of them.

 It is your choice, but at least give it a go, why lose it if you don't have too? xxx

Categories: Cancer and Me

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