What woman doesn’t want the glamorous full head of hair that can be seen on actresses, models and celebrities? Regardless of what number or quality of hair products one uses, there is no way to beat the volume inducing impact that hair extensions can add; however, what happens when hair extensions cause damage to your hair in the long run, damage that can even lead to permanent hair loss?
There are numerous types of hair extensions out there and when handled, maintained or attached improperly they can lead to severe damage to hair follicles and even permanent baldness. Dermatologists have received reports of hair damage and hair loss from all three of the most popular type of hair extension application techniques, which are gluing, weaving and braiding. The consensus in the beauty industry, however, seems to be that it isn’t the hair extensions alone that are causing the damage as much as a poor understanding of how to use, apply and maintain them.
A report in the British Journal of Dermatology has shown that one of the most dangerous and rarely reported types of extension-induced damage to hair is called traction alopecia. Traction alopecia refers to hair loss that can be put down to pressure applied to the hair. The study also shows that traction alopecia is a vastly underreported condition, meaning that there may be more women out there that are suffering from baldness due to hair extensions.
The way hair extensions damage hair is by creating tension on the hair follicle. This is often achieved by placing the hair extension too close to the root of the hair or by attaching it to a thin strand of hair. If tension is consistent and left unaddressed, the hair follicle may eventually become inflamed and fall out.
Hair experts like dermatologist Francesca Fusco or Dr. Jennifer Martinick have specified that short term use of hair extensions should not lead to any permanent damage, however, it is more a problem of how these hair extensions are applied and maintained. Specialists suggest that hair extensions should be supervised and maintained at least once a month, with defective extensions being replaced or reapplied and heavy ones being rotated in order to reduce pressure on the same hair follicles. Clients are also advised to seek professionals that fully understand the process and can inform clients on how to best protect their hair.
Some doctors criticize the ethics of beauty industry professionals who accept all clients that request the procedure. According to dermatologists and specialists alike, clients that exhibit thin/fine hair or that are already showing signs of hair loss should be turned down by salons in order to protect them from further damage. Hair extension users that are beginning to see hair loss should stop using hair extensions immediately in order to avoid permanent hair loss.
Other repercussions of faulty or poorly maintained and applied hair extensions are headaches and in some more severe cases even bleeding from the scalp.
Hair extensions which require heat when they are applied can also be quite a damaging for your hair’s health. While there aren’t any third-party elements such as tapes or bead attachments, the extreme heat used to fuse hair strands together can cause each individual hair follicle to suffer damage and in time, this procedure can lead to permanent damage and even hair loss.
So while there is no doomed model of hair extension that causes hair damage 100% of the time, heat based products; products that require a lot of chemicals during the application and removal process or extensions that are too tight or put too much tension on hair follicles can prove to be more damaging in the long run.