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Hair Extensions A Danger To Health, Says Neurologist

naomi campbell hair extensions

Model Naomi Campbell show signs of traction alopecia

Hair extensions could be causing a variety of problems for wearers, and the symptoms they cause may be mistaken for serious neurological conditions, according to a recent article by neurologist Orly Avitsur. The Belgravia Centre sees many women whose hair extensions or weaves have caused the condition traction alopecia, and it seems that this type of hair loss is not the only problem that they can create.

A Scary Hair Story

One anecdote in the article tells of how a woman experienced serious headaches due to the extensions putting pressure on her scalp. Her doctor referred her to a neurologist and insisted she have an MRI and another separate brain scan. It took neurologist Orly Avitsur to examine her, and realise that the patient was wincing every time she lightly touched her scalp, to work out that the pain was being caused by her hair extensions.

Worryingly, Avitsur is used to seeing this kind of severe pain caused by extensions, explaining that tightly pulled ponytails, braids, and chignons can also cause chronic head pain. However, whilst hair styles such as a ponytail are rarely worn 24/7 and can be undone to give hair and scalp a break, hair extensions cause pressure round the clock.

Letting Go Of Extensions

Avitsur also states that patients, once the problem has been identified, are often unwilling to dispense with the hair extensions due to the cost they incurred from having them attached in the first place. The procedure, which can take up to eight hours, involves attaching real or fake hair onto the wearer’s own hair, usually about an inch down from the hair follicle. Clip-on extensions are a cheaper option, though they may cause more problems due to the added weight of the attachment.

If you’ve had trouble with your extensions, whether from headaches and other uncomfortable side effects or from the damage they’ve done to your hair and scalp, you may be at risk of areas going completely bald from traction alopecia. Stopping using the hair extensions is the clear first step to recovery, but if your hair is struggling to grow back, topical applications of high strength minoxidil is a particularly effective means of regrowing hair in thinning areas.

Minoxidil DropperA Helping Hand For Recovery

Minoxidil is the only clinically proven hair loss treatment available to women that has been both licensed by the MHRA and approved by the FDA (the UK and US medical regulatory bodies). Minoxidil is applied directly to the areas of the scalp damaged by hair extensions, and whilst the exact chemical mechanism that enables it to effectively treat hair loss is still unknown, its has shown consistently good results providing the areas of thinning are not completely bald.

Minoxidil is used as part of a comprehensive treatment programme that covers all approaches which can help ensure not only regrowth, but a healthy head of hair that grows as quickly as possible. As well as using it alongside complementary treatment boosters, the minoxidil itself is varied in concentration and ingredients are added based on the exact needs of each individual patient.

The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

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.

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1 Comment

15th March, 2013 at 8:21 pm


If you've ever used real hair -hairextensions you probably know that they're chemically treated to be nice and shiny when you get them, but after one or two washes the shine disappears and they just get very dry and frizzy.

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