These days there is a multitude of different types of hair extensions, that can add length, thickness, and weight to your hair. Contrary to popular belief, hair extensions are a popular option for men as well as women; as many men use them to add thickness to their thinning locks.
Are Hair Extensions Bad for Hair?
Whilst hair extensions can be a quick way to improve the look of your hair; different types can pose significant risks and can cause more damage to your hair in the long-run. In this article, we’ll explore some of the different types of hair extensions on the market and the effect they could have on your hair.
However, if your hair extensions are clipped or added into your hair correctly, and are cared for, then they should cause no lasting damage to your hair.
Hair weaves are applied to the hair by braiding the natural hair, and then wefts of hair are sewn onto the braids in rows. These hair extensions can be made of human or synthetic hair, and you can opt for a full head of weave or a few tracks to achieve the desired look. However, this method can pose significant risks if executed poorly.
As the hair wefts are applied to your own hair, weaves which are high in density can put a strain on your natural hair and cause breakage from the roots if the wefts are too heavy. Also, opting for cheaper, synthetic extensions rather than human hair can cause scalp irritation and damage your natural hair.
As with most of these hair extension methods, it’s important to do your research and go to a reputable salon with high-quality products. Although you may have to pay slightly more, this will reduce the risk of incurring significant damage to your hair.
In the past, clip-in extensions were the go-to method of achieving longer and thicker hair quickly. They are secured with small clips that are applied to the root of the hair.
Clip-ins can usually be seen through thin hair, and are not as secure as other hair extension methods so may fall out if applied carelessly. Similarly to weaves, if the clip-ins are too heavy, they can put tension on the hair roots, which may cause hair breakage and damage to the scalp.
To minimise hair extension damage, clip-in extensions should not be worn to sleep and should only be used occasionally.
Micro rings are applied near the root of your hair and are clamped to secure the extensions, and they can be attached to short or long hair. These rings are applied individually and can last up to three or four months if cared for properly.
The advantage of this method is that they allow your hair to grow freely, however, depending on how they are placed, they may be visible, and have a tendency to ‘slip’ down the natural hair and can cause an uneven hair look.
This method involves glue being applied to the wefts, which are then attached to the base of the hair. This is a quick and easy method of applying hair extensions, without having to remove them before going to sleep.
However, this method can cause severe damage to the hair and scalp if done incorrectly. Over time, heavy wefts can lead to tension alopecia, which is hair loss that arises as a result of constant strain on the scalp and hair. Also, if the glue is applied to the scalp rather than the hair, this can clog the hair follicles and result in scalp infections.
Alternative solutions to hair extensions
With proper application and aftercare, hair extensions are a great way to achieve thicker, longer hair. However, these are usually short-term solutions and you could end up with thinner hair than you started with if it all goes wrong.
Our own Dr Shahmalak had this to say, warning those who might be considering hair extensions:
"If hair extensions are not removed properly, they could cause bald patches in your hair. It can also lead to Traction Alopecia in Afro/Carribean patients. This is one of the many reasons to research the different types of extensions that are available before committing to an appointment."
Hair transplants are growing more popular amongst men and women as they offer a more permanent solution for hair thinning and hair loss, and many celebrities are also going down this route. Leading hair loss clinic, Crown Clinic, has seen a 25% increase in bookings over the last 3 years due to the ‘Rooney-Effect’.