An Australian woman who wanted to give her hair a boost with some salon-fitted extensions has discovered that hair loss may sometimes arise as a result of this kind of styling.
According to the Daily Mail, Jenny Fleming of Sydney had dreams of “luscious flowing locks” and made an appointment at a hair extension specialist in the west of the city.
Hair falling out
Unfortunately, however, Ms Fleming claims that it wasn’t long before the stress that the hair extensions were placing on her scalp caused her real hair to fall out. This is a far from uncommon occurrence when people have extensions or weaves as they are usually tightly fastened to a customer’s own hair near the roots. As well as the extra weight they add, tightly securing extensions so that they do not come loose and look natural, can cause excessive stress on the follicles. This, in turn, can cause hairloss both at the sites where the extensions are secured to the existing hair as well as around the hairline as this area bears the strain, weakening the follicles as a result.
Hair loss caused in this way is known as Traction Alopecia.
One key aspect of the story that the newspaper picked up on was the salon’s seemingly underwhelmed response to Ms Fleming’s increasingly worried texts. “I am really freakin’ out, girls!” she wrote to the salon in one of her messages. “It’s clearly my hair here and I can see my own hair in the strands of the others [extensions] that have already fallen out.”
As the problem escalated, Ms Fleming posted a picture of herself to the salon in which she is sporting a small, round bald patch on the top of her head. This actually looks more like an entirely separate condition named Alopecia Areata. It is not a hair loss condition as such as it is classified as an autoimmune disorder, and the net result in most cases is sudden, circular bald patches of this nature.
Importantly, one of several suspected triggers for Alopecia Areata is sudden extreme stress.
Experts at a reputable hair loss clinic would be able to easily diagnose both conditions and explain the best course of action. Traction Alopecia treatment begins with a client agreeing to change to a less problematic hairstyle – in the case of Ms Fleming this would mean removing the hair extensions entirely and wearing her hair down. Following a bespoke treatment course featuring topical applications of recommended high strength minoxidil formulations, combined with appropriate hair growth boosters, can often help the hair to recover and regrow.
Similarly, Alopecia Areata treatment, can also be effective in cases of bald spots caused by this autoimmune disorder. If – as is entirely possible – both hair loss conditions present simultaneously, then a hair loss specialist will be able to devise a tailored treatment plan to address both issues concurrently.
The Mail article concludes with a Facebook posting from Ms Fleming in which she rages about the salon and how she was “ill advised on the correct extensions for my hair type, therefore resulting in potential permanent hair loss.” She is not being alarmist, as it is entirely possible for follicles to sometimes become so damaged as a result of Traction Alopecia that they no longer function, resulting in permanent hair loss.
Experts tend to agree, however, that almost any hairstyle can safely be worn in moderation – meaning that styles such as braids and high ponytails or buns are mostly fine if they are alternated often – though hair loss specialists rarely recommend hair extensions. If people insist on them, it is advisable to wear them infrequently and for the extensions to be clip ins – not tape-ins or weaves – that can be quickly added and removed again before bed in order to help minimise potential damage.
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.