Can Hair Extensions Lead to Hair Loss?

The magic of hair extensions is one of the best kept beauty secrets of today’s women. However, few of us realise the risk that this growing beauty trend poses for permanent hair loss. Symptoms ranging from blinding headaches, to patchy hair loss and sometimes even permanent damage, are making doctors warn women about the dangers of hair extensions.

When celebrities use hair extensions to frequently change their look, women in huge numbers, and men to a smaller extent, also start to buy into this trend, turning hair extensions into a multimillion pound industry.

The theory behind extensions is wonderful. You can increase the length or volume of your hair by simply attaching either artificial or human hair to the ends of your own hair. Problems can be caused by the ways in which you have to attach the extra hair to your own hair, and the potential damage these techniques can cause.

Ways to attach extensions range from using:

  • Small clips,
  • Small metal rings which get crimped on,
  • Using potentially harmful glues, which can strip hair of its protective layers,
  • Sewing in bunches of extensions to your existing hair, which is weaved into rows.

Hair extensions have received a lot of attention in recent years as more and more celebrities are encountering side effects associated with long-term use. For every star who walks down the red carpet with long flowing locks, there are the celebrities who have suffered irreparable damage to their own natural heads of hair.

Over time, the friction and tugging of the added weight at the scalp, can cause injury to the natural hair follicle, and hair loss can occur. Any chemical or mechanical treatment of the hair can damage at both the root and the shaft, causing it to break, at, or just above the extension joins. If the hair is pulled out often enough, the follicle will simply die, resulting in hair loss, a condition known as Traction Alopecia.

Hair loss experts have pointed out that the occasional short-term wearing of weaves and extensions should have no long-lasting negative effects, but that sustained and continuous usage can result in hair loss problems.

Women experiencing hair loss and damage caused by extensions should have the extensions removed as soon as possible. A lot of women find that the damage leaves their own hair unsightly, and their first thought might be to replace it with further extensions – unfortunately this will only aggravate the problem and to prevent permanent hair loss you should avoid doing this.

A visit to a hair stylist will be enough to correct the hair’s appearance if the damage isn’t too bad, although it may need a dramatic change in hairstyle to remove damaged hair. But over time, it should grow back normally and healthily without having to resort to medical intervention.

Hair extensions can completely change your appearance for the better, but generally it is not a good idea to leave them in for too long.