Women use hair extensions for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they want a new longer look, or to add fullness to their hair, or they just want to try something that seems fun.
However, the use of hair extensions can cause damage to the scalp and breakage of the hair they are attached to leading to hair loss -- a feature no woman wants.
Hair extensions are typically attached to your own hair using either hot fusion bonding that attaches the extensions using a hot glue, cold fusion bonding that uses a keratin-based polymer to attach the hair instead, or the weave method where the hair stylist braids the hair into your own hair.
Costs for hair extensions range from $300 to $3,500 but can go even higher depending on how much hair and the quality of the hair is added.
Dermatologist have observed that the extensions can put excess tension on the hair follicles and cause the hair to fall out by creating a form of traction alopecia. Dr. Benabio describes in his dermatology blog that constant pull on the hair follicle damages it so over the long term, the follicle can no longer produce new hair.
Once the follicle is damaged, new ones do not grow so as more follicles are damaged, permanent hair loss occurs. The only treatment for this form of hair loss is topical minoxidil (Rogaine), which may or may not help, or a hair transplant, which is very expensive.
In the U.K., there has been an effort to ban the use of hair extensions fueled by lawsuits that have occurred from women with damaged hair. Barry Stevens, from the Trichological Society, has been involved as an expert witness in court cases involving women who have developed permanent baldness from hair extensions.
He reported to the daily mail online, 'I've had people in tears at my clinic over this. The extensions can destroy the follicles so that hair cannot grow back. He went on to say, 'Women using extensions may not be aware of the presence of traction alopecia. But with time this becomes permanent alopecia.'
Women should question whether it is worth the risk of permanent hair damage to have attached extensions.