The desire for lengthy and voluminous hair has been on the rise since the early 2000s, but it has surged in recent years with the increasing affordability of hair products. Sure, the allure of cheap hair extensions can be tempting. But what price are we really paying for that instant mane makeover?
We asked four experts to comment on the potential risks associated with the use of subpar hair extensions. One thing is sure — the origin of hair and the consequences of use can be shocking.
Brace yourself because what you’re about to discover will make your hair stand on end. A TikTok video by @hiara.extensions has recently gone viral, shedding light on the murky reality behind some human hair extensions. The video depicts bundles of dark hair being gathered into packages and transformed into smooth hairpieces.
Surprisingly, professionals reveal that certain inexpensive varieties are collected from discarded hair found on floors and even in trash bins. What is more, some items may not undergo thorough cleaning before being sold, raising concerns about potential contamination upon arrival.
As we explore the revelations from top trichologists and dermatologists, get ready for a hair-raising journey into the hidden dangers lurking beneath that seemingly perfect mane.
Dr. Bart Kachniarz, a plastic surgeon from Belcerna Plastic Surgery, often sees the fallout (pun intended) from improper use of cheap extensions. Traction alopecia, where the weight and improper attachment of extensions lead to permanent hair loss, is a common concern, often requiring hair restoration surgery. In his words, “Scalp infections can be painful and require antibiotics, and allergic reactions can be severe and require medical intervention.”
Dr. Yoram Harth, a board-certified dermatologist and medical director of MDhair, attributes the risks of scalp irritation and allergic responses to harsh or synthetic chemicals hair extensions are treated with. “Additionally, low-quality extensions can foster bacterial or fungal growth, leading to scalp infections, mainly if the scalp is already sensitive or damaged,” Dr. Harth points out.
Dr. Michael May, medical director at Wimpole Clinic, urges caution when it comes to choosing hair extensions. “Quality extensions have natural textures and colors that blend seamlessly with your real hair,” he advises. Cheap extensions, in contrast, frequently sport a shiny, synthetic appearance, inconsistent colors, or an unnatural texture. “While not always foolproof, a significant price difference often indicates lower quality,” adds Dr. Kachniarz. Keeping an eye on these cues can empower you to make savvy decisions and steer clear of possible dangers.
However, the appeal of low-cost extensions often leads individuals into a tangled mess. Tiffany Young, founder and CEO of ThinHairThick, reveals the hidden danger of tangling due to stripped cuticles. “With cheap hair extensions, the hair cuticle is stripped because manufacturers use hair from various donors-including hair that is picked from sewers and hair gathered from hair brushes,” she warns.
To salvage it, manufacturers coat the hair in silicone for a glossy finish. But beware: this coating is short-lived and vanishes with each shampoo, leaving the extensions prone to tangling and matting on your scalp.
Using cheap hair extensions can often lead to devastating consequences. Dr. May warns that cheap extensions exacerbate existing hair issues, leading to increased fragility, dryness, and susceptibility to breakage, and strongly advises individuals with these or similar conditions against using hair extensions. “These symptoms almost always improve upon discontinuing the use of low-quality extensions and implementing nourishing treatments to restore hair and scalp health,” he shares from his experience.
In a world where beauty trends come and go, the experts’ message is clear – prioritize your hair health. The quest for instant beauty might seem appealing, but the consequences of cheap hair extensions can be long-lasting and severe. Dr. Kachniarz advises, “Prioritize hair health over immediate gratification. Choose quality extensions and invest in a professional application.” Dr. Harth echoes the sentiment, urging individuals to consider factors like hair type, attachment methods, and reputable brands when selecting extensions.
In the end, as we chase the dream of perfect locks, let’s not forget the importance of making informed choices. The shocking truths behind cheap hair extensions should make us pause and think – is it worth the risk? Choose wisely, ensuring your locks are a symbol of beauty, not a source of hidden dangers.
Featured image via @freepik
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