Location: the United States of America

What is scalp cooling?

Scalp cooling, also known as cold capping, is the only effective way to help reduce and manage chemotherapy hair loss.

What is scalp cooling?

The scalp cooling treatment itself is relatively simple - a cap, which comes in two sections (an inner cap and an outer cover), is worn for a little while before, during, and for some time after their chemo infusion. The treatment is administered by a trained medical professional and the cap is attached to a system, which circulates coolant liquid around the inner cap, reducing the temperature of the patient’s scalp.

Reducing the temperature of the scalp helps to protect the hair follicles and limits the damage caused by the chemotherapy drugs.
coldcap scalp cooling

How does scalp cooling work?

Scalp cooling works by limiting the damage to your hair follicles caused by chemotherapy drugs administered during cancer treatment.

Chemotherapy attacks fast dividing cells in the body. Cancerous tumors are made up of fast dividing cells, but so are hair follicles, nails, the lining of the mouth and other areas of the body. Chemotherapy can’t tell the difference between the healthy cells in hair follicles and the unhealthy ones in a tumor. The damage inflicted by these drugs causes hair to fall out around 14 to 21 days after the first treatment.
The cold causes the blood vessels in the patient’s scalp to get smaller. This means less blood flow to the scalp and therefore less chemotherapy drug reaches the hair follicles
Reduced drug uptake into the cells
The chemotherapy drugs need to get into the cell to do the damage, but the cold makes it more difficult for the drugs to enter the cells
Reduced cell division
The cold causes the fast division of the hair follicle cells to slow right down, meaning the chemotherapy doesn’t target these cells, reducing damage
Reduced cell metabolic activity
This is a bit complicated, but put simply, when the cells are cold, all sorts of processes slow down which makes it harder for the chemotherapy to kill the cells in the hair follicle

The scalp cooling system and cap

The scalp cooling system is the size of a small refrigerator and is located in the infusion suite of the hospital or cancer center you will be treated at. The patient doesn’t operate the system, including attaching the cap to the system – this will be done by one of your clinical team.
Paxman Scalp Cooling System (PSCS)
The cap is made up of two parts.
The inner cap is blue and made of soft silicone, so it can shape to your head. This is the part of the cap that will be in direct contact with your scalp. The cap is made up of a series of channels which fill with coolant when connected to the system, allowing the cooling process to happen.

The second part of the cap is an outer cover, which is grey and made of neoprene.  The chin strap and bungee cords across the top of the cap help to ensure that the inner cap is in close and consistent contact with your head.
Cap cover
Cap front
Cap side
It is really important, if you do choose to scalp cool, that you are familiar with the cap and cover and how to put them on correctly. You can ask for assistance in putting on the cap from a friend or family member that is supporting you, but most patients will have their cap put on by one of their clinical team. It is important to know how to put the cap on properly, as this will allow you to feedback to whoever is helping you put on your cap and ensure a great fit and the best possible results.
Watch How-to videos on putting on the cap
The US Cap Kit contains all the essentials that you will need on your treatment day.

  • The Cap Kit bag – adaptable and easier to carry with easy access
  • A Paxman Scalp Cooling Cap – an inner cap and outer cover in the appropriate size for you
  • The Paxman hair preparation pack
  • Paxman hair preparation conditioner – to be used in the hair preparation process
  • Paxman Forehead Protectors – a simple and effective way of providing a barrier between your forehead and the inner cap
  • MANTA brush – suitable for all hair types, this brush is gentle but effective and easy to use and hold
  • Wide tooth comb – a simple item for day-to-day hair care and most requested when we surveyed patients
  • Continuous spray bottle – a much easier way of dampening the hair than a traditional spray bottle
  • Towel – big enough to cover the shoulders during hair prep and to wipe out the cap after treatment
  • Disposable surgical caps – only required if you experience significant hair loss, but making here if you need them
You must bring your Cap Kit with you to all your chemo treatments. It contains everything you will need to scalp cool.
On this page

I was desperate to keep my hair. To keep part of what makes me feel like myself, so scalp cooling was something I immediately considered.

Help me decide
Tell me what I need to know
Scalp cooling haircare