This 'Cooling Cap' Could Prevent Chemo-Related Hair Loss

A revolutionary "cooling cap" that could prevent hair loss from chemotherapy might be coming soon to heads near you.

DigniCap looks like a helmet and is clinically proven to prevent chemo-related hair loss; trials done in Europe and Asia show that eight out of ten women (of "diverse ethnicities") who used the system during chemotherapy retained their hair. It was recently FDA cleared for final clinical trials, which means it might come to the U.S. soon. Medgadget explains how it works:

DigniCap consists of a touch screen equipped refrigeration and control unit that monitors scalp temperature and delivers cooling liquid to the inner cap. The inner cap is a silicone device that fits snuggly on the head and contains sensors and channels through which a cooling fluid is pumped. The channel network is separated into two parts so that the front and back of the head can be cooled independently. Finally, an outer cap keeps the system insulated and absorbs water that condenses on the cooling inner cap.


DigniCap's tagline is "because hair matters," which is true — it does. One of my close friends beat Hodgkin's lymphoma when she was only 19. She was a valiant rockstar throughout the entire shitty process, but she hated cutting her shoulder blade-length hair off (even though she got a fauxhawk and looked incredible). I remember her telling me that she knew it sounded superficial, but the hair loss was devastating because it was a tangible example of the chemicals coursing through her body. Let's hope the final trials go well.


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Violet Baudelaire

For anyone else wondering WHY it works (I mean, I got the how- it makes your head cold, apparently - but the why didn't really make sense to me, because from what I understood, chemo targets any sort of fast replicating cells in your body, of which hair is one), apparently the cooling of the scalp constricts the blood vessels in that area, which means that the chemo is absorbed more slowly into the blood supply there and thus the hair cells aren't affected as much.