Hair weaves and extensions when worn frequently can cause thinning and other hair loss conditions such as traction alopecia. Depending on the method of attachment, the damage caused could be anything from moderate to severe.
Hair weaves based on the cornrow or track method when worn regularly can lead to traction alopecia because of how tight the cornrows are braided. The weight of the hair sewn on makes things worse and adds further strain to the hair roots, making them weaker and causing them to fall out before their natural growth phase is complete.
Hair weaves are also applied using a purpose made adhesive called bonding glue which is usually anti fungal to prevent infections like ring worm on the scalp while the weave is being worn. Bonding glue is not to be confused with the adhesives used to attach lace wigs. Hair bonding glue can be black or white and is of a much thinner consistency than the silicon based adhesives used for lace wigs. The primary ingredients in it are rubber latex and sodium polyacrylate.
When using bonding glue, the hair is parted in the position where the weft is to be attached, then the glue is applied to the hair weft before being pressed against the scalp in the desired position. An oil based remover is usually required to break the bond of the glue in order to remove it safely. The oil based remover should be applied and allowed to sit for at least 20 minutes before attempting to remove the hair weft.
Unfortunately, even when care is taken, the bonding glue sticks to the hair and can rip it out from the roots during removal. Regular use of bonding glues lead to thinning hair throughout the head and not just in the temporal region.
If the damage caused by weaves is ignored, and weaves continue to be worn, any Traction Alopecia or thinning suffered could become permanent. Permanent hair loss can be avoided by taking a break from the weaves and allowing the scalp time to recover.
A diet rich in protein, and supplements such as MSM, Vitamin C and Zinc will help the scalp produce new healthy cells, and biotin can also help in stretching the growth phase of the hair. It is very important to note that if the scalp isn’t allowed time to recover and weaves are still being worn, trying to treat the hair and restore it to its original condition will be futile.
The supplements mentioned earlier will help to ensure that the hair is receiving adequate nutrients internally, however the same needs to be done externally. If you have bald patches or the hair loss experienced is severe, then a topical treatment like minoxidil is recommended. Minoxidil is available in 2% and 5% concentrations, the 2% concentration aimed at women. However a common complaint about the 2% concentration is that it is pretty ineffective, therefore women chose to use the 5% concentration for better results.
Using the 5% version however has its disadvantages, it can lead to unwanted facial hair, which by the way disappears once treatment is discontinued. It is not such a heavy price to pay in order to restore your hair and most times confidence.
For people who would rather avoid minoxidil all together, the Eclipta Alba plant, called Bhringaraj or Bhringraj in Ayurveda has been scientifically proven to be more effective that the 2% version of minoxidil without the side effects.