Hair extensions are a beauty technique that consists of adding sections of natural or synthetic hair, to lengthen or make the hair more voluminous. Although it is one of the most widely used cosmetic resources in the world, it involves several risks.
Models of the stature of Naomi Campbell have said that hair extensions have brought them various hair problems. Even so, these attachments continue to be used without further precautions. But why can they cause problems? What should be known about it? We will detail it below.
Types of hair extensions
There are different types of hair extensions. They differ in the way they adhere to the hair or scalp. Similarly, the techniques used to fix it determine variations in the degree of risk. We will tell you.
In this case, a special glue is used to adhere the extensions to the scalp. They must be applied and removed by a hairdresser, and the adhesives used must be hypoallergenic. However, they are not always.
It is a widely used technique and also one of the most harmful to hair. It consists of making horizontal crowns with very fine braids. These are hidden in the middle of the hair and the extensions are sewn to those braids. The positive is that no chemicals or heat are used; the negative, they produce strong traction and weight.
Of rings or staples
These are semi-permanent extensions, which last attached to the hair for a period of between two and six months. In this technique strands of hair are taken and attached to an extension, using a ring or staple. The procedure should be performed by an expert hairdresser. They produce strong traction on the hair.
Silicone and keratin
It is a technique similar to that of adhesives; It consists of melting the silicone or keratin on the scalp to fix the extensions there. It requires maintenance every three to four months. Heat, compressed air or ultrasound should be used for fixing. However, they also cause traction on the hair.
Fixation with clips
They are the least harmful modality. The hair strands that are added have one or more clips that can be attached to the hair. Afterwards, they are removed as you would a buckle or hair clip. They are usually used on specific occasions and only for a few hours.
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What risks are there?
None of the types of hair extensions is harmless, but, in any case, the most harmful techniques are those that involve the longest residence time. In the following space we detail the risks to which you expose yourself when using these accessories.
It is one of the risks that is present in almost all types of extensions. Since these are attached to the hair, they prevent it from shedding naturally. This can lead to when they are removed there is a sudden and voluminous fall of the hair strands.
Chronic mechanical irritation
The extensions exert traction or tension on the hair follicles. In the long term this can atrophy them and consequently make the hair thinner. In the most severe cases, alopecic plaques or "bald spots" appear on various parts of the head. If the extensions are no longer used, the process is reversible; otherwise not.
Extensions can damage the hair cuticle. First of all, this causes a decrease in the shine and vitality of the hair. Then, it can cause frizz or brittleness, with the consequent breakage of it.
There are cases in which hair extensions cause lesions on the scalp. In particular, they may lead to folliculitis, which is the inflammation of the hair follicles. If this happens, red papules appear that sometimes fill with pus, causing itching and pain.
Although it is not very frequent, there are people who have an allergic reaction to the glues used or to the same extensions. If so, it is necessary to remove them immediately and consult a doctor.
Is the use of extensions recommended?
Beauty should not conflict with health. Therefore, in general terms, the use of extensions is not recommended, since all of them imply some risk. If doing it is very important to a person, it is appropriate to use them in moderation and only occasionally.
Sometimes they are also placed to hide some types of alopecia. However, these are cases that also require caution, since some techniques worsen the condition and can cause inflammation and irritation of the scalp.
It is best not to double the length of natural hair so that they do not exert excessive traction. In the same way, the correct thing is to go to a good hairdressing professional to advise what is the most appropriate extension modality, according to the type of hair and the quality of hair health.
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Recommendations for the use of extensions
In case of opting for the use of extensions, the ideal thing is to choose the one with natural hair and not synthetic, since they are easier to wash and maintain. In turn, a good care routine should be implemented to minimize potential adverse effects.
It is not convenient to dye the hair to homogenize the color, as this could lead to more dryness. You should also use the hairdryer sparingly and comb your hair gently. Keep that in mind!
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