How often should I wash my hair during scalp cooling treatment?
The big fear around washing hair during scalp cooling treatment is the thought that washing hair will ’cause’ the hair to fall out. It is very important to understand that the underlying cause of your hair loss is a side effect to chemotherapy treatment. It is not the hair washing that is ‘causing’ the hair to fall out.
What happens is that when there is loose hair that is ready to fall, it is more likely to do so when moved e.g brushed, washed, styled. However, these loose hairs will come out at one time or another. It’s not the case that if you don’t brush or wash your hair that more hair will be retained. Excessive washing and brushing/styling is not recommended however, keeping your scalp clean and hair tangle free is key to reducing ‘dreadlock’ style hair matting (that can result in having to cut hair).
Therefore, when to wash hair depends on your hair, scalp and style type. In most cases two to three gentle hair washes a week is sufficient. Gently brushing hair every day is helpful to avoid matting.
How do I wash and condition my hair during scalp cooling?
washing hair scalp cooling, Conditioning hair scalp cooling
Keeping your hair and scalp clean and tangle free is really beneficial during scalp cooling. As most people experience more hair loss then usual we know that sometimes washing hair can be an anxious event. Questions such as: How should I wash my hair? What products do I need to use? and What shampoo technique is best for scalp cooling? are answered here.
With some expert tips and a bit of practice you will discover that there is a way to make time to wash and style your hair. Whatever concern you have we are here with ideas and encouragement.
Gentle shampoo and condition guide
Wet your hair using tepid to warm water – the best temperature to wash your hair at during scalp cooling is often a matter of debate. Some guidance suggests that people should use ‘cool’ water. However, our experience shows us that what is important is that you feel comfortable with the water temperature (not cold, particularly if in the shower).
Additionally, in order to clean the hair warm water is often needed to help remove scalp secretions and build up of oil. Some people think that they have to use cold or very cool water to help keep the hair follicle protected. However, at the time of writing there is no evidence to suggest that using cold or cool water makes a difference.
Use a generous amount of your chosen shampoo – this makes it easier to clean the hair. Place a generous amount of shampoo between your palms. Spread over both hands. Gently ease shampoo in a stroking motion from root to tips.
Do not pile hair up onto of your head – avoid piling longer lengths of hair on top of your hair, like they often do in shampoo adverts, as this can make hair more easily tangle.
Gently and slowly massage the scalp and roots – you can also stroke shampoo through your scalp and very gently ease the shampoo down any lengths. Your aim is to clean the scalp and hair but minimise any tangling.
Gently rinse the hair. Repeat shampooing if your hair does not feel clean.
Select a generous amount of your chosen conditioner. This may be a different conditioner from the one you use during your actual scalp cooling treatment.
Put conditioner in the palms of both hands.
Gently stroke the lengths and tips of your hair first (the hair furthest away from the scalp), then stroke the remaining conditioner over your roots.
Wait – It is well worth waiting for at least 1 – 2 minutes to allow the conditioner to soften the hair before combing through.
Gently comb or finger through the conditioner until your hair is tangle free. It is very important to take your time when combing or fingering hair. It may be that your hair type or style doesn’t need combing through. The objective is to ensure your hair is tangle free.
If your hair is seriously knotting or matting see our section Thinning hair & troubleshooting – scalp cooling.
Rinse and pat dry. Gently rinse the conditioner and then gently pat dry your hair.
Tip – Choose a shampoo and conditioner that is best suited to your scalp and hair type. Look in our guides.
Drying and styling – scalp cooling
Daily hair care and products for scalp cooling
You can also contact your scalp cooling manufacturer for guidance.
Next planned review: February 2022