Former Big Brother contestant Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace is at the centre of a debate over whether or not hair extensions are a safe fashion accessory – something anyone concerned about hair loss is likely to have strong views about.
Horgan-Wallace recently owned up to bald patches which, she says, were caused by the myriad hair extensions she has worn over the years. The condition which causes hair to fall out as a result of wearing hair extensions is known as Traction Alopecia, and a snapshot newspaper poll shows that 74 per cent of people think that the hair extensions which can cause it are a bad idea.
Excess strain on follicles
The reason hair extensions are so often in the news for the wrong reasons is that wearing them frequently can put excess stress on hair follicles. By attaching them tightly to a woman’s hair, stylists often increase the force endured by the follicles significantly. Longer hair extensions – which are much favoured as they add length as well as volume – carry extra weight. When kept in for prolonged periods, as they often are, they can cause so much stress to the scalp that follicles become damaged, hair falls out and the growth cycle is affected. Hair breakage can also occur, where the hair snaps along the shaft, making it appear thinner and frizzy.
While specialist Traction Alopecia treatment can often be effective, it is also a condition that can be very easily avoided in the first place – simply by choosing a hairstyle that does not place excess stress on the scalp on a regular basis. Tight braids, high buns or ponytails and cornrows, for example, can be just as damaging as extensions and should be approached with similar caution.
Belgravia’s comprehensive hair loss treatment programmes for Traction Alopecia feature recommended formulations of high strength minoxidil. This is a topical preparation applied directly to the affected areas which, in cases of TA is most likely to be the hairline and where the extensions are fixed to the scalp. Further TLC for the scalp comes in the form of assorted hair growth boosters which can ensure that the hair and scalp are in the best possible condition.
For Horgan-Wallace, her bald patches have led to some significant changes in her styling regime. She has swapped the extensions for a wig, and wrote on Twitter that “Girls really need to take heed from what has happened to me. If you must have extensions, please please keep them well maintained.”
To help encourage new growth in the patches where she has lost hair on her head, the celebrity told the Daily Star that she is applying “stem cell liquid” to her scalp each night.
It is not clear what product she is referring to, as most developments pertaining to stem cell hair loss treatments are based around the idea of growing new hairs in a laboratory so that they can be implanted into a patient’s head, just as they would be in a hair transplant procedure. It seems most likely that the liquid is a cosmetic plant stem cell product designed to nourish the hair, rather than an actual pharmaceutical hair loss treatment.
Interestingly, Aisleyne told the Daily Star that her initial reaction to discovering her hairloss was to consider a hair transplant consultation. Surgical hair restoration is rarely needed in cases of Traction Alopecia although some surgeons will consider this if the follicles have been destroyed and are therefore beyond the help of normal treatment methods.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.