Hiding thinning hair with hair extensions? 5 reasons why it may be a bad idea

Some people use hair extensions for style, and some for much-needed volume after hair loss. But before you try them out, know the side effects of hair extensions.
Yes, even hair extensions can have side effects if they are not used correctly. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 15 Sep 2023, 12:00 pm IST
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Almost everyone wants a head full of hair. An online search on hair loss remedies will tell you just how many curious minds want every trick in the universe to get voluminous hair. If your natural hair is thin or brittle, you might be looking for camouflage options. The list can include anything from full or partial wigs to hair extensions and hair transplants. For some, wigs might be a bit too much. Others might find it intimidating to go for hair transplants. Hair extensions might seem like a good idea to enhance length and volume of hair. But use them with caution – there are some side effects of hair extensions.

What are hair extensions?

Hair extensions are artificial or natural hair strands that are added to a person’s existing hair to enhance its length, volume or style, explains Dr Vijay Singhal, Senior Consultant, Dermatology, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, New Delhi. You can choose anything from clip-in to tape-in to sew-in and bonded extensions.

Hair extensions have side effects. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How are hair extensions and hair loss connected?

A 2016 study published by International Journal of Women’s Dermatology found that constant tension of hair extensions on natural hair can result in hair loss. The expert tells Health Shots that hair extensions themselves do not directly cause hair loss. However, improper installation, constant tension or poor maintenance can potentially lead to hair breakage or damage. So, it’s crucial to ensure proper application and care to minimise the risk of damage.

What are the common side effects of hair extensions?

There are some dangers of hair extensions that you be aware of. Some of them are:

1. Hair breakage

When hair extensions are poorly applied or are too heavy, they can strain your natural hair, causing hair breakage.

2. Scalp irritation

Tight installations of hair extensions may lead to discomfort or irritate your scalp, says the expert.

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3. Hair loss

Constant tension of hair extensions can pull on hair follicles, which will ultimately lead to hair loss.

4. Infection

Hygiene is always important for good health. When it comes to hygiene during installation of hair extensions, you should be careful otherwise it will result in scalp infections.

5. Allergic reactions

Some people may react to adhesives or materials used in hair extensions, especially the ones made of synthetic hair rather than the natural ones.

Also read: The good, bad and ugly side of hair extensions

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Hair extensions need love and care. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

Tips to prevent hair damage while using hair extensions

If you still want to give hair extensions a shot, you can follow these tips:

• Choose reputable brands and materials to minimize stress on natural hair.
• Have extensions applied by a certified stylist to ensure proper technique and tension.
• Avoid continuous use of hair extensions to give your mane periods of rest.
• Cleanse and condition hair and scalp regularly to prevent any kind of infections.
• Minimise styling your hair using heat and use heat protection products for the sake of your hair health.
• Do not reach out for a hair brush to untangle your hair extensions. Use your fingers gently instead.
• Use hair care products as advised by your hair stylist, and be gentle while applying shampoo and washing it off.
• Make a low and loose ponytail before going to bed to reduce the chances of knotting and tangling of hair extensions.

It is very important to look after your hair extensions because unlike your own hair, they do not get the required nutrition from your scalp. So, you have to be gentle with hair extensions and treat it with love and care even if it’s not your own hair.

Natalia Ningthoujam

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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