How it Works - Polar Cold Caps

Hair loss (alopecia) is a much feared side effect of chemotherapy and is one of the most psychologically devastating aspects of cancer treatment. More than 80% of patients who receive chemotherapy consider hair loss the most distressing aspect of their treatment.


How it Works

The cold temperature of the cap constricts the blood vessels beneath the skin of the scalp, preventing the chemotherapy medicine from reaching the hair follicles, therefore allowing the patient to preserve their hair. This process is referred to as vasoconstriction. The cold also slows down the hair follicle metabolism, making the hair cells dormant or less active, further preventing the absorption of chemotherapeutic drugs. During chemotherapy treatment, the patient wears the cap for:

  • 1 hr prior to treatment
  • Throughout the entire treatment
  • 3 hrs after treatment

Polar Cold Caps must be changed every 30 minutes during this entire process to ensure the scalp remains cold.

Premedication infusion is not considered chemotherapy and caps can be worn during this time.

Instruction Video

As mentioned in the instructional video, important items to keep in mind while using Polar Cold Caps include:

  • The cap must be securely fastened to the scalp.
  • Caps must be replaced every 30 minutes.
  • Caps must be changed out as quickly as possible, preferably less than 1 minute.
  • The cap temperature must be between -32ºC to -38ºC.
  • Caps are numbered 1 – 6, be sure to use in numeric sequence to allow for sufficient freeze time.

Proper technique is essentially important to ensure the best possible results.

User Guidelines

  1. Remove caps from ordinary home freezer and place in cooler, under dry ice 3 hrs prior to chemotherapy treatment. If using biomedical freezer at hospital, place caps in freezer the day before treatment.
  2. Prior to applying cold cap, cut moleskin to size and place on forehead just below hairline to protect the skin from cold temperatures.
  3. Remove cold cap from cooler and test with infrared thermometer to ensure cap temperature is between -32ºC to -38ºC.
  4. Place cold cap on patient’s head with the interior gel portion against the scalp and fasten chin strap.
  5. Securely fasten forehead straps.
  6. Tightly fasten rear straps, working from the interior bottom to top.
  7. Once interior straps are fastened, secure rear support strap.
  8. Ensure all straps are tightly fastened, firmly securing cap to patient’s scalp. Readjust chin strap for comfort if needed.

When removing cap, simply undo chin strap and remove cap as a helmet. Do not undo other fastened straps. Be sure next cap is ready to go prior to removing cap.

Polar Cold Caps are numbered 1 – 6.  Be sure to use in numeric sequence to allow for sufficient freeze time.

Polar Cold Cap Storage

Once you have received the Polar Cold Caps, place in ordinary home freezer with pink gel side facing out. Contact a local dry ice supplier and order a total of 60 lbs of dry ice. 30 lbs in slab form (3 slabs at 10 lbs each), 30 lbs in pellet form.

  • 1st Layer: Starting at the very bottom of cooler, lay slab of dry ice across bottom and place caps 4, 5 and 6 flat across ice.
  • 2nd Layer: Next, place second slab of dry ice on top of caps 4, 5 and 6.
  • 3rd Layer: Next, lay caps 1, 2 and 3 flat across second slab of dry ice.
  • 4th Layer: Lastly, place third slab on top of top of caps 1, 2 and 3. Separate pellets in plastic resealable freezer bags, ensuring not to completely close bag, allowing for adequate ventilation, and place on sides and top of cold caps filling any available space within cooler. If your dry ice provider does not supply pellet form, broken pieces of slab form will work as well.

Once completed with treatment, place caps back in ordinary home freezer with gel side facing out.

Scalp Colling Process



At Polar Cold Caps, we believe in the importance of giving back. A portion of chemo cold caps purchase will be donated to the American Cancer Society, helping support the fight against cancer.

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