HAIR CARE RECOMMENDATIONS

How should I take care of my hair while using DigniCap?

DigniCap offers the chance to minimize chemotherapy induced hair loss in men and women with solid tumor cancers, such as those associated with breast, prostate, ovarian, uterine, lung and other tissues. Most patients who use DigniCap will see a significant reduction in the amount of hair loss from chemotherapy. However, shedding should be expected and is completely normal for patients using scalp cooling. The amount of shedding experienced will vary from patient to patient.

Chemotherapy may cause scalp irritation, make the hair dry, brittle, and more difficult to manage. Handling your hair gently during treatment and for several months after you complete your chemotherapy regimen may help reduce the amount of shedding and maintain your hair quality.

Washing Your Hair

  • Wash your hair at home prior to the scalp cooling/chemotherapy session as oily hair may affect the thermal contact.
  • Do not use conditioner on the day of your scalp cooling treatment.
  • Wash your hair no more than twice a week.
  • Use lukewarm water and avoid hot water and high-pressure shower heads on your hair.
  • Comb your hair with a wide tooth come before washing to remove any loose hairs and to prevent tangles or matting.
  • Gently use the palms of your hands instead of finger tips to wash your hair and scalp.
  • Continue limited hair washing until shedding has returned to normal pre-chemotherapy levels after treatment is completed.

Styling Your Hair

  • Avoid applying heat to the roots of the hair with appliances such as blow-dryers, curling irons, flat irons and hot rollers. These can be used on longer hair if the scalp is avoided.
  • Let your hair dry naturally as much as possible.
  • Comb your hair twice a day using a wide tooth comb instead of a brush.
  • It may be helpful to simply use your fingers to gently comb through your hair instead of using a comb.
  • It is IMPORTANT that any loose hairs are removed to prevent hair from matting.
  • Hair accessories that pull on the hair should be avoided. Loose pony tails, loose buns, braids and soft headbands are okay.
  • Cutting your hair short before chemotherapy is not necessary for scalp cooling purposes. If desired, you may trim your hair at any point during treatment. Do not cut in layers as this will thin your hair.
  • Using hair oils to keep the hair soft is recommended. Coconut oil and olive oil are good choices as well. Chemo drugs can cause hair to become dry and brittle.
  • Avoid direct sunlight on your scalp. Wearing straw hats or loose baseball caps are ok for short periods of time.

Avoid Chemicals

  • Harsh chemicals can lead to dry hair, breakage, progressive hair thinning and hair loss.
  • Do not use peroxides to color hair.
  • Refrain from perms to curl or straighten hair.
  • Avoid parabens such as methylparaben and propylparaben that are commonly used as preservatives in hair products.
  • Do not use sodium laurel sulfate, a foaming agent that will remove natural oils in the hair.
  • Stay away from silicones that are commonly used to tame or de-frizz the hair.

Hair Shedding

  • Shedding is losing a larger amount of hair than what is typical for you.
  • The majority of hair shedding usually occurs after the first and second infusions.
  • It is likely that you will have a heavy shedding phase roughly 14-21 days from the first chemotherapy date, depending on the chemo regimen. If you are being treated weekly, this will be closer to weeks 4 or 5. During this heavy shedding phase it is recommended that you finger comb or run a wide tooth comb through your hair twice a day to remove any loose hairs and prevent matting.
  • You should not wash or get your hair wet if it is shedding heavily. Wait for the shedding to slow down, comb it well, and then wash.
  • Patients with extra thick, curly hair may have more shedding at the beginning of chemotherapy because the hair acts as an insulator and makes it harder to cool the scalp.
  • When shedding, comb your hair with a wide tooth comb or use your fingers to comb through to remove the loose hairs from the scalp before it gets tangled in the rest of your hair.

Hair Matting

  • Matting is caused by loose hairs getting tangled in the rest of the hair.
  • Try lightly wetting the matted area with a spray bottle and apply large amounts of condition or essential oils.
  • Have someone else try to work through your hair section by section with a wide tooth comb. You could also use a flexible brush or fingers.
  • Some patients have found it helpful to have a hair stylist work through any matted hair or clumps for them.

 

HAIR CARE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How often should I comb my hair?

Comb your hair so that you can remove the loose hair from (the scalp) shedding before it gets tangled into the rest of the hair using a wide toothed comb. Comb your hair before washing it, to remove any excess loose hairs and prevent tangles or matting afterwards.

What kind of shampoo should I use?

Use a gentle shampoo that is sulfate and paraben free and lukewarm water (avoid hot water). Avoid harsh chemicals that can lead to dry hair, breakage, progressive hair thinning and hair loss such as the following:

  • Parabens (such a methylparaben and propylparaben) are chemicals that are used as preservatives
  • Sodium laurel sulfate is a foaming agent and will remove natural oils in the hair
  • Silicones that are used to tame or “de-frizz” the hair work by coating the hair strands.

What hair products can I use?

Staying away from any chemicals is best. Avoid harsh chemicals that can lead to dry hair, breakage, progressive hair thinning and hair loss such as the following:

  • Peroxides for hair coloring
  • Perms to curl or straighten hair
  • Parabens (such a methylparaben and propylparaben) are chemicals that are used as preservatives
  • Sodium laurel sulfate is a foaming agent and will remove natural oils in the hair
  • Silicones that are used to tame or “de-frizz” the hair work by coating the hair strands.

Can I color my hair?

Staying away from any chemicals is best. Avoid harsh chemicals that can lead to dry hair, breakage, progressive hair thinning and hair loss such as the following:

  • Peroxides for hair coloring
  • Perms to curl or straighten hair

Can I use a hair dryer, curling or straightening iron, or hot rollers?

Avoid applying heat to hair with appliances such a blow-dryer, curling iron, straightening iron, and hot rollers. Let your hair dry naturally as much as possible.

Can I cut my hair?

Yes, you can cut your hair. Please note, there is no advantage to cutting it short before chemo for scalp cooling purposes. It is better to go into chemo with as much hair as possible, but trimming your hair is fine.

What if I get matted hair on the back of my head?

Dampen your hair and add a fair amount of conditioner to the matted area.  Have another person work through the area slowly to ease out the knots with a comb. It may take time and patience, but do not cut the knot out with scissors. If this doesn’t work, visit a hair dresser for assistance.

Can I swim in the ocean or swimming pool during treatment?

It is recommended to avoid harsh chemicals that can lead to dry hair, breakage, progressive hair thinning and hair loss. It is not known whether chlorine or salt water will damage your hair during scalp cooling. Using a swim cap is not recommended because of the additional strain it puts on the hair.

Can I go to the beach or layout in the sun?

Avoid direct sunlight on your scalp. It is best to stay out of the sun. Wearing a straw hat or a loose-fitting baseball cap is acceptable for a short period of time.

What happens to my hair if my head becomes warm in between treatments (such as during exercise, from night sweats, or from using a wig or hats)?

It is ok if your head becomes warm from other activities between treatments. Just avoid anything that pulls on your hair or rubs on the scalp.

Can I wear rubber bands and/or hair clips that pull on my hair?

You can wear your hair in a ponytail, but it is best to use a scrunchie and tie it back very loosely. Avoid putting too much strain on an individual patch of hair.

Can I wear hats, wigs, swim cap?

You can use a head covering that does not pull on the hair.

Do I need a wig or head covering?

The goal of scalp cooling is to reduce overall hair loss so that a wig, cap, scarf or other head covering is not needed. Any added stress or friction on the scalp and hair follicles may affect the outcome of treatment. However, the use of a wig or head covering may be desirable for reasons other than hair loss. For example, changes in hair color, hair texture, or hair quality, or for patients experiencing patchy hair loss or thinning. If you want to preserve the option to use a wig, you may wish to have a wig fitting before you start scalp cooling treatment to minimize friction on the scalp and hair follicles.

How should I take care of my hair once I have finished chemo?

Continue following the recommend hair care for at least 2-3 months after your last chemo session, as the hair follicle will still be very fragile. The goal is to get your hair back to pre-chemo shedding levels and to allow time for the hair follicle to strengthen before adding heat and/or chemicals back into your hair care routine.

Once you are back to pre-chemo shedding levels, you can slowly start to introduce heat and hair care products. Reintroduce these gradually. For example, try one product for a few days to see how your hair responds. Then slowly start adding in other products. Similarly, use the hair dryer on low and cool heat for several days to ensure your hair tolerates it before using higher heat levels. After you have reintroduced your pre-chemo hair care routine, you can then consider coloring your hair.

How long do I continue with the limited hair washing?

Until your shedding has returned to normal pre-chemotherapy levels.

How long do the hair follicles continue to be fragile after all the treatment is complete?

Three to six months.

Please note that the content of this website is not intended as professional medical or healthcare advice and should not be construed as a substitute for professional healthcare advice, or services from a qualified professional healthcare provider familiar with your unique situation. This content is intended solely as a general product and corporate information.

OPERATIONS
Dignitana
10925 Estate Lane, Suite 185
Dallas, TX 75238
+1 877-350-2150

HEADQUARTERS
Dignitana AB
Traktorgränden 3
226 60 Lund, Sweden
+46 46 16 30 90