From Kim Kardashian to Jennifer Lopez, hair extensions are one of the hottest trends among the stars but it could also leave you with permanent damage, like baldness. Board certified dermatologist Dr. Schweiger and Chioma Odimegwu, one of his patients, were here with tips on hair extensions and what you should look out for.
Two main types of hair extensions: Temporaryo Clip on hair strands attached to your hair ex. wedding or special occasion, try new style without commitment
o Generally made of synthetic hair
o Human hair is more manageable and looks better than synthetic hair§ Options are human hair, synthetic hair, or mix of both
o Lasts up to 6 months when properly applied/cared for
o Important to have extensions placed by an experienced hairdresser
o Applied with heated clamp that melts solution to seal extension around hair§ Can be damaging to hair often need to cut hair after extensions removed§ Can also be braided or woven in may increase risk of traction alopecia
o Extension applied with glue are removed with acetone damaging to existing hair
What you should do if you notice baldness. Traction Alopecia Hair loss occurring from constant tension on the hair follicles
o Most commonly seen in those who wear tight braids
o Also caused by hair extensions
o Seen most commonly with permanent extensions
o Also seen with chronic use of clip-on (temporary) extensions
o Tension on scalp from application/removal process
o Weight of the hair extensions causes tension/pulls on follicles
Risk of traction alopecia from hair extensions may increase with:
o Attaching extensions very close to the scalp pulls at natural hair they are attached to
o Using extensions that are heavier and greater in number of hairs than the natural hair it is attached to
Black hair is most at risk for traction alopecia:
o Different shape of follicle helical configuration of hair sebum secretions don't flow down hair shaft DRY & BRITTLE Cultural predilection for tight braids
*If you notice hair loss remove extensions (professionally if applicable!)*
Make an appointment with your dermatologist to access the damage. Take photos of affected area.
Go through period of watchful waiting to see if improves on its own.
Treatment options:Potentially reversible if treated early1. Minoxidil may stimulate regrowth if offending factor (extension) is removed
*Most important treatment is removing the extensions/braids/ponytail*
Traction alopecia is reversible when caught early
If after some time (up to a year) there's none or minimal regrowth hair transplantation is a possibility.
2. Definitive treatment for traction alopecia à hair transplant
o Must change habits or transplanted hair will be at risk
Ex. Naomi Campbell showed traction alopecia in photos taken last year she has worn extensions for yearsCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times