by Viviscal Hair Expert, originally posted onFebruary 8th, 2013
From blinding headaches, to bleeding scalps and permanent baldness: The hidden dangers of hair extensions revealed
Hair extensions can add fullness and length to otherwise sad-looking locks, but according to a report in the Daily Mail, the health hazards that accompany the popular Hollywood beauty treatment can far out-way the rewards.
From blinding headaches, to patchy hair loss and sometimes permanent damage, doctors are now warning about the dangers of hair extensions, the must-have accessory of celebrities on the red carpet, and young women alike.
Neurologist, Dr. Orly Avitzur of Terrytown, N.Y., who is also the medical adviser for Consumer Reports, told ABC News: ‘I think the risk of baldness, if you start to get hair loss, that’s really my bottom line, then stop immediately.’
Hair extensions, where synthetic or real hair is attached onto a person’s existing hair or scalp by weaving, gluing, sewing or clipping it on, first became popular with actresses, but the treatment has quickly moved on to the mainstream.
Now thousands of young women are experiencing the dangerous side effects that come with trying to transform one’s natural hair with longer and fuller hair pieces.
Beauty queen Amanda Jones, 26, tried hair extensions for two Miss Virginia competitions.When she had the extensions glued to her own hair, she said she suffered no damaging side effects, but last year, she tried she tried a different method and had them sewn onto her own hair.
‘That was the most painful experience of my life,’ Miss Jones said. ‘I had them in for maybe three weeks. My scalp was red and bleeding. I lost a lot of hair.’
However Sadie Whitlocks, 25, told MailOnline that a friend’s experience with glued-in hair extensions was also a disaster.
‘She complained that they gave her headaches and after a while the synthetic locks got matted up. I had to cut them out leaving bald patches and they smelled really bad… they ended up like dreadlocks.’
One 46-year-old New York social worker, who prefers not to be named, said she ran to the doctor with blinding headaches.
After blood work and an MRI scan of the brain checked out as normal, there was no explanation for the sudden pounding in the patient’s head.
She was sent to Dr Avitzur, who explained: ‘When I went to examine her and simply touched her scalp, she pulled away and winced when my fingertips touched her quite gently.
‘She had hundreds of these tightly braided hair braids. It was pretty clear to me that she did not need a work-up, but that she needed to remove her extensions.
‘A lot of us do crazy things for the sake of appearance,’ he added.
The procedure, costing anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand, can be successful, however it is important to make sure the stylist attaches the extensions using a method that is tailored to your specific hair type.
If they’re attached too tightly, or weigh too much, problems can develop quickly.
The combination of weight and tension places strain on the wearer’s hair follicles, which are stretched to a point that the hair simply falls out. Known as Traction Alopecia, this can cause permanent damage to hair follicles and prevent hair regrowth.
Chicago cosmetologist Grace Santiler-Nowik, the president of the Professional Beauty Association’s Professional Council,explained: ‘It’s not something you tread into lightly. People want their hair thick and long, but they forget there’s a whole upkeep portion of it they have to maintain.’
Ms Santiler-Nowik emphasized that customers must return to the salon at regular intervals to have the extensions removed and replaced, and need to take a break from the hair pieces if they’re causing damage to a person’s hair.
‘I think it’s important for people to get education, there’s always a safe way to do things and a smart way to do things,’ she said.
Before and after: Hair extensions can add fullness and length to otherwise sad-looking locks, but the health hazards that accompany the popular Hollywood beauty treatment can far out-way the rewards
Even Jennifer Aniston, who first gave the extensions a go as her character Rachel in Friend’s, is weary of the procedure.
She told Harper’s Bazaar: ‘I decided to have a couple of extensions, never knowing you would end up with 400 things in your head that cause your hair to break off. Nothing destroys your hair faster than extensions.’