Hair Loss and Cancer – Chemotherapy Does Not Need to Lead to Hair Loss Anymore

Hair Loss and cancer – as if the dreaded disease isn’t bad enough it usually comes with the added burden of hair loss. So when the news hit the world of a new device that helps cancer patients keep their hair during chemotherapy, cancer patients everywhere felt there might be a small amount of relief to everything they already have to deal with.

DigniCap is the name of the device that is supposed to revolutionize hair loss during chemotherapy. It is a scalp cooling system that offers patients the possibility of keeping all or most of their hair during chemotherapy. According to DigniCap, the cooling system was approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. in December 2015.

Modern medicine has come a long way when it comes to handling the side effects of chemotherapy, making many aspects of the treatment manageable for the patients. But hair loss has been one of the side effects that for a long time was unavoidable. Many patients going through chemotherapy has said that they do not like the fact that hair loss makes it so obvious to others that they are are sick.

Dr. Saranya Chumsri, an oncologist specializing in breast cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, a clinic that now offers their patients DigniCap, said in an interview for the local paper that many patients do not want to be reminded they have cancer.

“Even though they, most of the time, feel really well, the fact that they don’t have hair reminds them every single day that they have cancer and are on chemotherapy. With the DigniCap system, just the fact they can keep their hair makes a whole world of difference,” said Dr Chumsri.

 

How Dignicap Works When Dealing with Cancer and Hair Loss

The DigniCap scalp cooling system is a tight-fitting silicone cooling cap. The cap is placed directly on the head of the person. And an outer cap is placed on the first silicone cap, and insulates and secures it.

The cap is connected to a cooler, where liquid coolant circulates throughout the silicone cap, delivering cooling to all areas of the scalp. Before the patients put on the cap, they wet their hair, and sometimes, when the treatment is done, they can actually find ice crystals in their hair. The temperature of the scalp is lowered and the scalp is kept cold, and because of that, less chemotherapy makes it to the scalp.

These are the factors that reduce the risk of hair loss. What determines how long the patients will be attached to the DigniCap, is the treatment that they are getting. But it usually last from four to seven hours.

Dignicap and hair loss
More and more clinics are integrating Dignicap as part of the post-cancer treatment.

Still Unattainable for Most People

Even though DigniCap is revolutionizing the battle of cancer and hair loss, it is still a tool that is mainly for those who can afford it. Using DigniCap is not cheap. In fact, it costs about $400 for each treatment.

Other problems that have been reported are that some of the patients get a headache from the cap, and that the strap on the cap can give some patients irritations on the chin. Nonetheless, more and more clinics are integrating DigniCap as part of their post-cancer treatment, making it a great development when it comes to cancer and hair loss.

William Cronin, the Chief Executive Officer of Dignitana Inc, the company that produces DigniCap, says in an article that he is honored to make a real difference for cancer patients who fear losing their hair to chemotherapy.

“As more and more centers like the Mayo Clinic integrate new innovations like the DigniCap system into their cancer care regimens, we move closer and closer to the day when that fear is a thing of the past,” he comments.

 

Hair Texture: What’s Your Hair Type?

Many people think that “hair texture” is simply how their hair feels. Maybe it feels dry or oily—or maybe it feels so good that you want to run your hands through it all day long. But the truth is that “dry”, or “greasy” is not technically hair texture, it simply describes the state of your hair. Hair texture and hair type for that matter is something you’re born with.

There are three different hair textures and four different hair types. Each hair type can be divided into three subtypes: A, B or C. Once you understand the different hair types and hair textures—you’ll understand what your hair is naturally capable of when it comes to things like having body or holding a curl. Plus, once you know your hair type, you’ll learn how to take better care for your hair.

So, let’s talk about the different types of hair. We’ll go through each hair type below. And,  if you’d also like to learn about what hair structure is, you can read more about that here.

What is Hair Texture?

Hair texture describes the circumference of your hair. There are three different hair texture types—fine, medium and thick. Each hair texture type has its own traits that set it apart from other hair textures and influence the care or treatment it may need.

  • Fine hair is the most fragile hair texture. Each individual hair is thin and only has two hair layers; cortex and cuticle. If you have this hair type, you might find it hard to keep your hair in a style, or it might get oily easily. And, as you probably know, too much product will weigh this hair texture down, making it break easily.
  • Medium hair is what most people have, and is thicker than fine hair. The individual hairs have the same two hair layers that fine hair has, but may also have the third one – the medulla. Medium hair can keep hairstyles better, looks thicker and is more resistant to breaking.
  • Thick or coarse hair has all three hair layers; cortex, cuticle, and medulla. Thick hair gives the impression of a fuller head of hair, and it can hold a hairstyle well. If you have thick hair texture, your hair is more tolerant to heat, styling products, hair dye and breakage than fine or medium hair. But this also means that your hair takes longer to dry and can get frizzy in humid weather.

It’s easier to visualize the different hair texture types if you look at a hair texture chart. With a hair texture chart, you can more easily see how the fine hair type compares to the medium hair type or thick hair type. Unfortunately, the creators of the hair texture chart might themselves not know the difference between hair texture and hair type. Keep reading for a better idea of the different types of hair.

Hair texture and thickness
Your hair texture is something you are born with. The texture of your hair can be fine, medium or thick.

So, What are the Different Hair Types?

Your hair type simply means whether you have straight or curly hair. But, understanding the different hair types isn’t quite that easy because there are several subcategories within the different types of hair.

  • Type 1: Straight hair. Straight hair is often fine hair. It can easily get oily and shiny since the lack of curls in the hair means that the oil from the scalp goes all the way down the hair shaft faster than in curly hair. Type 1A hair is very straight and fine. Most common in Asian people. Type 1B hair is thicker – it is still very straight, but has medium texture so it has more volume. Hair that is type 1C is very thick and coarse, but still straight and shiny so it can be hard to make curls last.
  • Type 2 hair is naturally wavy, with more curl than some types of hair but less than others. It is usually thicker than the first category. Type 2A hair is wavy and can be fine and thin or a little coarser. It normally has s-shaped waves and is easy to style. Type 2B hair is wavy and medium thick. It can be frizzier. Type 2C hair is wavy, thick and coarse. It can get very frizzy and hard to style
  • Type 3 hair is definitely curly. These types of curls go straight when the hair is wet and then go back to being curly as it dries. It is easy to style and has clear springy curls. Type 3A hair is shiny and thick with defined curls. It can also get frizzy. Type 3B hair can also have a combination of hair textures and has tighter curls. Lists over hair types often skip type 3C hair, but it is a hair with very tight curls or kinks.
  • Type 4 hair is very curly or kinky hair. It is often very coarse, but in actuality, it is also sensitive and easily damaged. If type 4 hair is healthy, it should have some shine and elasticity to it. Type 4A hair is soft, with tight and well-defined curls. Hair that is type 4B is also soft and fragile, with very tight and less defined curls. Type 4C has such tight curls that it may not even look curly.

What To Do About Dry Hair

Obviously, each of us is born with a unique hair texture and hair type. You can’t change your type of hair to a different hair type. However, the way your type of hair looks is something you can alter. You might curl, straighten, braid or perm your hair, for example. You can also alter your hair care routine.  Dry, dull or frizzy hair can be helped with various home treatments, like hair masks or products. If your hair is constantly very dry, there may be health factors to look consider, as your overall health affects what your hair looks and feels like. If this is the case, a hair supplement can help you because it contains the important vitamins and minerals your body needs. It will also specifically provide you with the vitamins essential to healthy hair growth.

Sun protect your hair and it will stay thicker and healthier longer

It goes without saying — when out in the sun, it is important to sun protect your skin. But what about your hair?
And lately, there are all sorts of products promising protection for our scalp and hair. But how on earth does SPF for hair even work? We clearly can’t load up on chalky, heavy lotion in our hair — so what are our options? Nutrafol talked with some experts to give you the best hair-care tips before you hit the outdoors. Paying attention to your mane and sun protect it, is now more important than ever.

What does sun damage to the hair look like?

By stepping outside without protection, you’re putting your hair at risk. These risks include faded color due to oxidation, lack of moisture, and overall distress, explains Ric Pipino, vice president of global creative at Alterna Haircare. These short-term effects make strands look and feel dull and dehydrated, but the longer-term problem is premature hair aging, he continues.
This process could mean a depletion of volume. You know that great, thick ponytail you’re used to? As you age, it’ll get thinner. And the sun only makes this process a whole lot faster.
The summer also brings wind, chlorination and salt water that produce free radicals which attack the hair fiber, says Pipino. These harsh seasonal foes weaken the hair’s integrity, putting you at risk for an overall withered, brittle appearance.

But doesn’t the sun only affect people who color their hair?

Not exactly. Although sun damage on dyed hair is more noticeable, it still affects everyone. The sun’s rays bleach both artificial and natural pigments. This is why it’s important to stay protected when you’re outside for long periods of time, explains Sacha Mitic, founder of Sachajuan. No matter the color, the sun will react with your texture, ultimately resulting in a dimmer, dryer appearance. Even though those rays don’t discriminate, chemically treated hair is more sensitive and therefore more prone to moisture loss, Mitic continues.

sun protect
Add some nutraceutical supplements as a part of your sun protect treatment. This will help your hair to stay healthier during the summer.

How do you sun protect your hair and scalp the best?

The goal when using sun protection in our hair, is to protect it from bleaching and to prevent moisture loss. You could apply SPF lotion for your skin to the scalp. But since that’s tricky, reach for a hat says Mitic. Alternatively, when you’re outside, definitely use a hair product with UVA/UVB protection and work it from your roots to your ends. Also, try a lower bun that sits at the nape of your neck, Pipino adds.
Try applying a conditioner, all over your hair, then throw it in a knot during a trip to the pool or beach. And do not forget to hydrate your body too while you are at it. Adding supplements full of vitamins and nutrients to improve moisture, strengthen and support your hair could help your hair while you enjoy the sun.

Sun Protect Your Hair When the Temperature Rises

Summer is almost here and oh, how we have been looking forward to it! But the season brings with it the need to protect yourself from excessive sun exposure and by that we don’t just mean your skin – it is also important to sun protect your hair.

Eating a well balanced diet and getting the necessary nutrition and vitamins is a good way to start preparing for those warm summer days. Without the right nourishment, summer hair can easily run amok. So, in order to prevent that from happening, preparations must be made. With all the fun in the sun comes a change in temperature that can wreak havoc on your hair. Frizz, limpness, texture changes, extreme dryness – all of these increase as the temperature rises. Nutrafol took some advice from Ammon Carver, Celebrity Stylist, on how to sun protect you hair by applying a day-to-day sort of maintenance.

Summer hair mistakes – which ones are the most common to make and how can one avoid them?

“Most women tend to over-work or over-style their hair during the summer. Summer is all about easy, effortless looks, so try not to get too fussy. Use lightweight products that won’t weigh hair down or keep it from moving naturally like mousse. This adds bounce and lightweight hold to curls and natural texture.”

What are some suggestions to avoiding common summer styling mishaps, like frizz, dryness, limp hair and excess oil?

“Use a lightweight finishing essential oil through your mid-length and ends, which fights frizz and dryness simultaneously. If you have limp hair and/or excess, just add dry shampoo at the scalp or use a texturizing and volumizing powder. The powder does wonders for adding lift and a beautiful summer-y texture.”

sun protect hair
Sun protect your hair with oil. Focus on the ends and use a hair comb when applying the essential oil on the rest of your hair.

Which are the ways that you can sun protect your hair?

“Many products are made with UV filters to help you when you want to sun protect your hair. Total Results Blonde Care Flash Filler and Biolage Colorcaretherapie Shine Shake are both excellent for sun/beach care and act as SPF for the hair. If for some reason you don’t have any UV hair products, apply a deep conditioning masque to your hair and slick it back into a simple bun while you enjoy the weather. It will help protect and condition the cuticle layer of your hair.”