Hair extensions may be killing your hair

Today’s question comes from Heather whose experiment with professional hair extensions turned into a nightmare:

Heather writes:

I got hair extensions out almost two years ago. I paid four thousand dollars for the kind that are put on individually with clips, which need to be put in and taken out with a tool that only salons have; they have to be adjusted every month.

After about nine months, as the stylist was adjusting the clips, I noticed that my hair was coming out along with the extensions! There just was no more hair below the clip of hair extension hair. My hair was just GONE. It all broke off at hundreds of different places where the clips were attached. It looked like a horror film!

I cried for months. Now my hair is still growing from my roots, but it’s not getting longer. Is there anything I can do to help strengthen my hair and stop it from breaking? If I were a multi-millionaire, would there be some way? Do movie stars have some way they repair their hair we don’t know about?

The Brains Respond:

Heather, your story is really touching and we`re so sorry for what you`ve gone through. Based on your description, you have a condition known as Traction Alopecia a type of hair loss that is caused by pulling on hair. In some cases this can be caused by wearing your hair in a pony tail, in your case it`s caused by the weight of the extensions. Over a long period of time, this pulling stress can cause the follicle to atrophy and stop producing normal hairs. Depending on the intensity and duration of the stress the follicle may or may not recover. (You should consult a dermatologist to confirm this is really your problem.) For more details please read this summary on Traction Alopecia from emedicine, you may find it helpful.

Hopefully you had the extensions removed in time and your follicles will recover and begin producing thick, strong hairs again. But if your follicles were permanently damaged, there`s not much you can do. Sadly, there is no secret millionaire`s product that can solve your problem; there is no known medical treatment for late-stage Traction Alopecia.

One thing MIGHT help increase hair strength, though is treatment with pure coconut oil. As the Brains have said before, that`s one of the few natural oils that has been shown to penetrate the cortex and provide some strengthening effect to hair. It won`t make your hair grow any thicker, but it might help protect your thinner weaker strands.

We wish you the best of luck! Write back and let us know how your hair turns out.