Question: Can tape-in hair extensions cause hair loss? Will they damage my hair? They’re only temporary – I want to wear them at the weekend to make my hair look thicker but don’t want to risk damaging my hair as it’s already quite thin. What do you think?
Answer: Hi Faye. The short answer is yes – it is likely that tape-in extensions will damage your hair when you remove them, and this could lead to hair loss. However, if you are only looking for a weekend volume boost, tape-in hair extensions are unlikely to be the best choice anyway.
Tape-ins, also known as pre-bonded or fusion extensions, use a type of medical adhesive tape to stick them to your own hair. Stylists generally recommend you let these types of extensions grow out and remove them after around six-to-seven weeks. By this time the adhesive will have weakened somewhat so, whilst still harsh, it is likely to be less traumatic than removing them after a couple of days when the bond should still be strong.
Removing the extensions involves prizing the glued strip away from your hair and using a remover spray to help ease them out. This is a pretty unkind way to treat your hair, especially if it is thinning as it may be more brittle. This process is likely to lead to hair breakage which can make the hair look thinner and give a frizzy appearance from where the hairs have snapped along the shaft.
As tape-in extensions are a cheaper alternative to some of the other versions, such as soft ring systems, people may be tempted to go for a full head’s worth, rather than just a few strategically placed pieces. The extra weight caused by extensions can strain the hair follicles, especially if they are left in for a long time or worn frequently, leading to a condition called Traction Alopecia. This type of hair loss causes thinning, particularly around the hairline and temples as these areas bear the brunt of the stress, but can also cause patches of hair loss around the areas where the extensions are placed.
Whilst there is treatment for traction alopecia available, it is best to avoid subjecting yourself to it in the first place.
As you only want a temporary volume boost, there are a number of safer options you could try. Ask your hairdresser for a special blow dry, just explain how much volume you want – it is always helpful to bring a photo of what you’d like your hair to look like with you – and they should be able to give you a great ‘big hair’ look. Alternatively, hair styling accessories such as bump-its, and techniques such as backcombing can provide instant root boosts that will see you through the weekend.
If you are certain you want to go with hair extensions though, perhaps if you want to add more length as well as volume to your style, then we would recommend you use a few well-placed clip-in extensions – as few as you feel comfortable with. As long as you affix them properly and don’t wear them for very long, or too frequently, these should be less damaging than tape-in versions, but do be sure to use a strengthening conditioning treatment afterwards then wear your hair down in order to let it rest.
If your thinning hair is a concern, and you want to try to restore some natural volume, visit a hair loss specialist. They can diagnose your condition and recommend an effective, personalised hair loss treatment course, combined with hair growth boosters to help strengthen and regrow your hair, hopefully meaning you’ll have no need for any kind of extensions in the future!
The 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.