THIS week Chloe Ferry showed off extremely brittle, damaged hair that appears to be the result of years of using cheap hair extensions.
Around a third of women in the UK use hair extensions to enhance their locks, but experts have warned the dangers can include baldness, hair-shedding and even traction alopecia.
13 Chloe Ferry showed off her dry, damaged hair while filming scenes for Geordie Shore this weekCredit: BackGrid
Shocking photos show the likes of fellow Geordie Shore cast members Sophie Kasaei and Vicky Pattison, all experiencing hair-loss and patchy scalps.
Dr Nestor Demosthenous, who runs the Edinburgh Hair Clinic, told Fabulous Online that a large number of women could find themselves affected.
He said: “With a large demand and desire for longer hair and a more impressive main, the market has been flooded with hair extensions of varying quality.
“The fixation methods (bonds, loops, glue etc) plays a significant role in a leading cause of traction alopecia.
13 The star has abused her hair with bleach and extensions and revealed the damage in Newcastle on WednesdayCredit: BackGrid
“This is is a form of hair loss caused by a constant pulling force on hair, therefore causing disruption and injury ultimately to the root (hair follicle).
“Clinically we see bald patches in the areas most affected.
“In an attempt to hide the resulting bald patch(es) there is a vicious circle of women seeking further hair extension fixations as cover up.”
13 Geordie Shore star Sophie Kasaei has opened up about how she’s suffered from alopecia thanks to extensionsCredit: MTV
It’s not just reality stars who seem to have suffered.
Super model Naomi Campbell has also been vocal about her baldness due to extensions saying: “I do take more care of my hair now, because I lost all of it with extensions,” while numerous stars like Britney Spears have also been pictured with damage.
Around £43 million worth of human hair is bought by British women each year, with a large number wearing them everyday.
13 Katy Perry was pictured leaving a London restaurant in 2013 with a patchy scalpCredit: Xposure
Even royalty is rumoured to have been behind the trend.
In Netflix’s 2013 documentary “The Royals”, Editor and founder of LibertyLondonGirl.com Sasha Wilkins explained: “I think Kate’s hair has become her badge, it’s the thing she’s most recognisable for – this perfect, glossy incredibly bouncy hair.
“There are rumours that she might have hair extensions but I’ve never found anyone to confirm that.”
13 It has been speculated that Kate Middleton has worn hair extensions in the past, although this hasn’t been provedCredit: Getty – Contributor
Dr Nestor Demosthenous advised how you can help to prevent hairloss occuring.
He said: “In the first instance the extensions should be removed and the scalp given a chance to recover.
“In the most severe cases the hair loss is permanent and the individual may require a hair transplant procedure to restore the lost hair in the area.”
13 Even Kim Kardashian reveals the damage caused by added hair pulling on her headCredit: Goff Photos
Sophie Kasaei experienced traction alopecia from the extensions causing a sustainted tension on the scalp of her hair.
Speaking in the candid MTV clip, Sophie explains: “Because of all the extensions I’ve been getting, I’ve suffered from contraction alopecia, which means that I’ve lost hair on the sides and that it may never come back.
“And that’s not because of the extensions I’m getting in, it’s because of all the years I’ve been tormenting my hair.
“So going forward I want to start looking after my hair and I want to make people aware that if you are getting extensions give your hair a break in between because you don’t want to end you with bald patches like this.”
13 Credit: Xposure
Towie’s Jess Wright also displayed thinning areas on her head
13 Vicky Pattison has had blood injected into her scalp in a bid to make her hair growCredit: Instagram 13 Vicky revealed she has abused hair extensions and has experienced hair lossCredit: Instagram
And she’s not the only one to speak out about suffering from similar baldness.
Vicky Pattison recently had her own blood injected into her scalp in an attempt to restore hair growth.
Explaining her reasons for undertaking the treatment, she said: “I’ve abused hair extensions, it’s constantly being styled, it’s constantly being pulled in all different directions and subsequently I am experiencing a little bit of… what I’ve described as probably traction alopecia.”
- What is traction alopecia?
- STYLIST JAY BIRMINGHAM’S TOP TIPS FOR AVOIDING DAMAGE WHEN WEARING HAIR EXTENSIONS
- Thinning locks and bald patches… the hidden horrors of female hair loss and how to fix it
- Crown Hair Extensions (Topette) Solution For Female Hair Loss
- Hair Toppers for Thinning Hair and Androgenetic Alopecia
- FAQ’s – Crown Extensions Topettes
- Crown Extension Topette Demonstration
- Hair Integration System
- I Have Alopecia
- Proven Cosmetic Solutions for Alopecia Areata
- The facts about Alopecia Areata
- Instant results for women with Alopecia Areata
- NHS offers balding women hair extensions
What is traction alopecia?
Traction alopecia is associated with sustained tension on the scalp hair.
Traction causes hair to loosen from its follicular roots.
Hair loss can occurs secondary to follicular inflammation and atrophy.
13 Lindsay Lohan has also shown how extensions have taken a toll over the yearsCredit: Splash News 13 Ferne McCann reveals her patchy skin with tape extensions visibleCredit: Rex Features
And celebrity stylist Noushin Arshad from Arabella Rose said tape-in extensions could be detrimental in the long-run.
“Methods of applying hair extensions, such as a tapes, wefts and clip-ins can be especially heavy for hair that is already fine,” she explains.
“The most important factor when considering hair extensions is that they should always be of equal weight in comparison to the weight of the section they are attached to.
“Uneven weight ratios will cause the extensions to pull, hurt and be uncomfortable to wear and manage.
“The constant weight is only supported by a fine section of the hair and can cause breakage more easily, and for the hair to come out from the shaft due to the constant pull on the roots.”
13 Britney Spears reveals how adding hair to her natural locks can be destructiveCredit: Everett/Photoshot. All rights reserved. 13 Model Noami Campbell has revealed that decades of wearing hair extensions have left their mark on her hair, leaving bald patchesCredit: � Si, PacificCoastNews.com
STYLIST JAY BIRMINGHAM’S TOP TIPS FOR AVOIDING DAMAGE WHEN WEARING HAIR EXTENSIONS
- My top tip for extensions is to maintain them properly!
- It is so important that you both take care of them at home and have them regularly maintained at the salon to ensure your own hair remains healthy.
- Beautyworks Tape Extensions are my favourite method and the colour range is brilliant but I also love the classic Beautyworks Micro Ring Extensions too.
- They are attached to individual strands of your hair with a small micro ring bead which means there is no heat or glue and therefore no damage at all.
- With this method you are required to have them ‘pushed up’ every two months or so to keep them looking their best and maintain your natural hairs health.
- Make sure to brush them with a suitable soft bristle brush twice per day and tie into a loose plait at night to avoid any tugging or tangling throughout the night which could casue a potential threat to your hair with pulling etc.
Everything you need to know about perfecting a DIY bikini wax at home.
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Pregnant Stephanie Davis gets luxurious hair extensions as her birthing nears
Nadia Sawalha’s frank admission last week that she is losing her hair is heartbreakingly familiar for thousands of women across the country.
The 52-year-old Loose Women presenter wept as she revealed she’s losing her “crowning glory”, showing her bald patches in a candid Facebook video.
The TV star carries a hair-loss gene and explained how her famous curls started to change during pregnancy – and then again when she entered perimenopause, which comes before the menopause .
Nadia said: “My hair really started to change after I had my kids. I lost a lot, like loads of mums do.
The Loose Women presenter told in an emotional Facebook video that she carries a hair-loss gene (Image: Supplied by WENN)
“Also, the texture started to change, so my naturally curly hair had started to go a bit frizzy. It wasn’t really bad.
“Then, when I started to go into perimenopause I seemed to lose maybe a third of my hair.
“People do say, ‘Your hair is so thick and amazing’, but it’s not.
“It’s balding. I’m losing it all over.”
But Nadia is certainly not suffering alone. Research carried out by top hair loss expert Philip Kingsley shows around eight million women in the UK endure hair loss, including one in eight under-35s.
Philip believes the figure may be even higher, because many women suffer in silence.
“Sadly, a third of those suffering hair thinning said that they haven’t done anything to address the problem, perhaps as they feel too embarrassed to seek help,” he says.
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Philip also says there are other factors – such as stress and crash dieting – that cause the problem.
“ Stress can, through a convoluted route, increase the levels of male androgen hormones circulating in the blood,” he says. “Ferritin is a stored iron that produces hair cell protein. Below certain levels, this can cause excessive hair loss, whereas its level needs to be much lower to have any detrimental effect on essential organs.
“If you are of menstruating age and your hair is falling out, ask your GP for a ferritin test. Ferritin deficiency is the most common cause of hair loss in young women.
“Periods of fasting therefore often cause many more hairs than usual to move from the growing to the resting phase of the hair growth cycle – with hairs being shed en masse six-12 weeks later.”
According to hair loss experts – known as trichologists – other factors can contribute, such as weight, anaemia, thyroid problems or cancer treatments.
Here, we speak to three woman who endured the agony of hair loss – and how they tackled it…
‘I found a natural solution’
Paula Turner too began losing her hair
Marketing manager Paula Turner, 41, from Stoke-on-Trent, who is married to Dave, 49, noticed a bald patch at the back of her head – but doesn’t know what caused it.
“It was when I was approaching my 40th birthday that it seemed like my world fell in.
As I was preening myself at home and fluffing my hair, I felt a strange sticky patch
on the crown of my head. I asked Dave to take a look and he told me I had a clear bald patch about the size of a 10p piece.
Instantly I remembered I’d seen increasing amounts of hair on my brush and in the shower plug and panicked.
By chance, Dave knew a guy who worked for the company which makes a nutritional supplement called Nourkrin, which is supposed to provide nutrients to your hair follicles and restore the hair growth cycle.
I met the man from the company, Chris, by chance at my niece’s birthday party a few weeks later, and he told me how many incredible, positive stories there were of men and women seeing increased hair growth – but told me I had to see my GP first to check for any underlying causes.
But nine months after taking supplements, her hair has returned to its crowning glory
I hadn’t felt overly stressed recently, I didn’t notice any major changes to my cycle, and checked with my mum who said there was no hair loss in the family – so I had no idea what the cause could be.
My GP took some blood for testing, which came back showing nothing irregular.
I hate putting chemicals and drugs into my body, so I called Chris and said I’d try out the Nourkrin supplements, which are made from fish extract.
My hair got thicker and within nine months of taking it I felt confident enough not to hide my hair in public. I tapered off for a few months, taking one pill a day, and haven’t taken them since.
It’s incredible that nobody could tell me what caused my hair loss, but it was extremely frightening. I’m just glad I found a natural solution that worked.”
‘My fine hair is now gorgeous and thick’
Bev spent hundreds of pounds trying to stop her female pattern baldness to no avail
Mum-of-two Bev Waring, 64, from Solihull, is a receptionist who suffered female pattern baldness from her mid-50s after going through the menopause.
“My hair was always quite fine, but liveable until I was around 56 and had been through the change. It just suddenly became so thin and sparse that if it was at all windy or damp outside it would completely flatten.
I spent hundreds of pounds on all kinds of supplements and potions, but not only did they not work, they made me more self-conscious about my hair. I’m sure anxiety never helps your hair shine.
But after they failed to work, she plumped for £350 hair extensions
I’d read a newspaper article about Lucinda Ellery an expert in hair loss management, and read in the local paper that she’d opened a salon near me in Solihull. I said I might need something quite extreme, but she told me my hair really wasn’t that bad and recommended hair extensions.
I went back a week later for a four-hour session to get them fitted. I’ve always highlighted my hair and thought there was no way they could look natural, but they did. My hair now is so thick and lovely, and people just say how good I’m looking without even clocking that it’s my hair.
It cost me £350, including a trim six weeks later, which I think is incredible considering the effect it’s had on my life.”
‘It was expensive but I have never looked back’
Jacqui says her hair started to thin as she entered the first stages of the menopause
Customer service agent Jacqui Pulling, 59, from Crawley, West Sussex, has two stepsons and a daughter. She noticed her hair starting to thin as she entered the menopause – and reveals the condition affected her relationships.
“It’s difficult to find the words to describe how unfeminine and ugly my hair loss
made me feel.
I’m sure my lack of confidence contributed to the breakdown of my first marriage and, in 1997, I got divorced.
A year later I met my current husband Neil, 61, but still I wouldn’t tell him how horrible I felt inside about my balding.
In 2007, I felt at my wits’ end. Then I watched an episode of 10 Years Younger where a lady had virtually no hair at the front and I was amazed by her transformation thanks to Lucinda Ellery, one of the country’s leading figures in hair loss management.
But after struggling to find a cheaper solution, she had a special mesh-based system fitted, costing £2,300
Neil suggested that I looked into it too. So I booked an appointment and together we went to see Lucinda.
She sat us down and explained all about the mesh-based Intralace system, where a fine mesh is put on your scalp.
Your existing hair is pulled through it and then more hair is attached to the mesh – with incredible results.
It wasn’t cheap and I wanted to try other, less invasive options first, so I tried Fullmore Coloured Hair Thickener.
It’s a bit like spray-on make-up for your scalp to give the appearance of more hair and it worked well for a couple of years, but I couldn’t touch my hair and if the weather was hot the product would drip down my face and neck.
So in 2014, in the run-up to my daughter Katie’s wedding, I went back to Lucinda and said I wanted to try the Intralace system.
The next week I spent the entire day getting it fitted – it was incredible how you couldn’t see the mesh at all and how I was instantly transformed. It cost me £2,300 and every six weeks I go back to have the mesh tightened and my hair cut, which costs £90 a time. But I have never looked back.
I regularly get compliments on my hair from strangers, which you can’t put a price on.”
Female hair loss: The facts
– Often considered a male issue, 40% of hair loss sufferers are actually women.
– Female pattern baldness can be inherited and tends to affect post-menopausal women. It often starts with a thinning of the hair on the top of the head.
– Telogen effluvium is general shedding from all over the head and sometimes it gets worse with stress, illness, medication or hormones.
– Androgenetic alopecia causes the hair follicles to produce thinner hair until they stop altogether.
– Alopecia areata – which Gail Porter suffers from – is an autoimmune disease that affects around 2% of the population. It causes round patches of hair loss and can lead to total baldness.
- For more information, visit lucindaellery-hairloss.com
Crown Hair Extensions (Topette) Solution For Female Hair Loss
Topette crown extensions are the most popular cosmetic hair loss solution for women experiencing hair thinning, conditions like Androgenetic Alopecia or who simply desire more volume. Their simple, seamless application makes it easy to create a natural, beautiful look – sophisticated and chic haute couture, or free and easy.
At Transitions Hair we use and create the best Crown Hair Extensions (or Topette) available in Australia. They are unlike traditional hair extensions because they are able to give you hair where you need it most – on top. They are perfect for women experiencing moderate Androgenetic Alopecia and varying stages of female hair loss or hair thinning. Allow us to explain why by calling us today on Ph: 1300 427 77 for a free hair consultation (valued at $250.00).
“The Crown extension makes me feel more like myself, rather than less like myself”
Hair Toppers for Thinning Hair and Androgenetic Alopecia
Crown Extensions (Topette) are designed to help women with Androgenetic Alopecia and hair thinning on the top, front and crown of their head. The Crown Extensions recreate the natural appearance of hair growing from your scalp, giving you more confidence. This is achieved through the use of a special silk matrix that replicates your scalp. Individual natural hairs are implanted one strand at a time into this matrix, recreating the appearance and density of natural hair. The cosmetic result is hair growing from your scalp, natural and undetectable.
Contoured to the shape and size of the scalp where hair thinning is occurring, we always aim to strike the right balance- to use as much of your own growing hair as possible, whilst only adding additional hair where required. We ensure there is not too little, or too much hair, replicating the way your hair used to look.
“It’s so light that I forget that I even have it on” – Rebecca, Age 30.
Light, breathable and comfortable, in fact, our clients tell us that it almost becomes a part of you. Easy to wear, our Topette Crown hair extensions can be tailored to each woman, with a great range of colours, lengths and styles available.
We can easily style the new hair to create a look that makes you feel like the best version of you.
Gorgeous European Hair to create a glamorous, undetectable look
To create a gorgeous look, we always use gorgeous hair. Our preference is for the finest grade of Eastern European hair, which is unmatched in its quality, range of choice and its natural appearance and style. Due to its finer texture, it is easier to blend and integrate with your own, which often becomes finer at the onset of Androgentic Alopecia and hair thinning. This ensures we can create a beautiful head of hair you want.
Quality European hair has a natural shine and softness, making it much easier to style than other hair types. It is lighter in texture and has a natural ‘flow’ making it behave naturally when you ‘swish’ your hair or it blows in the wind. It falls back into place and is easily restyled with a simple brush of your hand.
Many of our clients from Australia and New Zealand say it is the hair they always dreamed of. Come to one of our studios for a free hair consultation and experience it for yourself. Ph: 1300 427 778.
How is the Crown Extension Topette Attached?
Crown Extensions give you the freedom to keep living the life you enjoy. They effectively attach the new hair to your own in two ways:
- Self Installation – The first option is to install them yourself with a patented security clip. In less than a minute you will have your beautiful new hair securely in place. This method allows the easy installation and removal of the crown hair extension even if you have significant hair thinning. See this application explained by Andrew Wilson (Owner/Director of Transitons Hair Sydney) and its security demonstrated in the video below (Topette Crown Extension demonstration video).
- Bonding process – This process is designed for women with hair thinning and Androgenetic Alopecia. The process is similar to the bonding of regular hair extensions to your own hair, only better! It is far more comfortable, seamless, undetectable and secure. There are no lumps or bumps like regular hair extensions and allows you to enjoy your hair 24/7. Maximise your time enjoying and doing the things you love like sport and swimming. There are a few different fusion procedures, which can be discussed in detail at your free hair consultation.
If you have more questions about attachment methods, or anything else, please call us today Ph: 1300 427 778.
Meet Nikki – she has her Crown Extension Topette clipped in (self-installed) to her own hair. She loves the confidence and new lease on life it gives her. We find that Nikki is like many of our clients, we are sure you will be able to empathise with her.
Call now for a free, private, and confidential consultation: 1300 427 778
FAQ’s – Crown Extensions Topettes
FAQ: What’s in a name – Hair Toppers for thinning hair, Top piece, Top Hair, Volumiser, Hairpiece for women, etc?
You may have heard of Hair Toppers for thinning hair, TopHair, top piece, volumiser, postiche hairpiece for women, etc. We’ve heard all of these names and more!
To cut through the confusion, at Transitions Hair for Women, we call them Crown Extension Topettes and through research and innovation we have made them better.
Today they are a world class hair extension for the top of your head. Aptly named the Crown Extension Topette, they really can be your crowning glory. Crown Extensions are the most easily applied of any hair addition or hair extension and look totally natural when properly styled. That’s why they have become the most popular hair loss treatment for women with hair thinning, Androgenetic Alopecia (thinning hair on top), or those who simply require additional volume.
There are many of them, so we made a video about the most commonly asked questions. We thought we’d ask Rebecca for you so you can hear her perspective.
Of course, if you have more questions please call us on Ph: 1300 427 778.
Crown Extension Topette Demonstration
Have a look at how fast and easy it is to use our Topettes. They are such a simple and effective way to regain your confidence with thick, beautiful hair.
Hair Integration System
Recommended for women with thinning or fine hair unsuitable for other techniques.
Our Hair Integration system is an innovative process that integrates your growing hair with additional hair to give you the extra volume and length that you desire. The Hair Integration System is not a wig, and it’s not hair extensions – it is a unique process that uses your own hair without placing pressure upon it. It is perfect for people with very fine or thinning hair.
The Hair Integration system enhances your hair by evenly integrating additional hair. This is achieved through the creation of a “hair web.” Individual hairs are implanted onto this “web” and are assimilated with your own. The “hair web” evenly distributes hair throughout the scalp where necessary, creating beautiful, thick and bouncy hair! Just the way you like it! It is undetectable, and when integrated, is totally invisible to the naked eye, giving you the confidence to live life to the fullest.
The beauty of a Hair integration system is its ability to evenly distribute hair across the entire scalp, unlike hair extensions. Hair extensions are unable to be placed on the top of the head. Further, hair extensions can look grouped together if they are improperly installed, instead of the “evenness” of natural hair. Importantly, the Hair Integration system places virtually no pressure on the hair and therefore no chance of further hair loss (through Traction Alopecia) or breakage, which hair extensions can inadvertently cause if used on the wrong individual or for a prolonged period of time.
The hair integration system is the perfect answer for anyone who doesn’t want to feel confined by a full wig or is unsuitable for hair extensions. This hair integration system allows you to use all of your existing hair to its fullest potential. You can participate in any activity and no one will know. They are versatile, easy to put on and are secure.
Best of all, they are completely undetectable and give you full confidence for your busy and active lifestyle.
Call now for a free, private, and confidential consultation: 1300 427 778. We welcome all inquiries throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Recommended for women with thinning or fine hair unsuitable for other techniques.
I Have Alopecia
Proven Cosmetic Solutions for Alopecia Areata
Alopecia is the technical name for hair loss. But there is nothing technical about how conditions like Alopecia Areata and Androgenetic Alopecia can make you feel. Most women feel great distress and upset. The loss of hair begins a grieving process, many feel like they are losing a part of themselves and the life they once enjoyed. Many women feel too self-conscious to go out and cling to a fragile hope that their hair and their life will ever return to normal.
Transitions Hair has walked alongside many women who are suffering with conditions such as Androgenetic Alopecia and Alopecia Areata. We give them a real hope with our genuine, cutting edge solutions.
Call us today phone: 1300 427 778 to discuss your situation and the best hair loss treatment options for you, with our qualified hair consultants.
The facts about Alopecia Areata
Alopecia can range in severity, from mild thinning of the hair, the loss of small patches of hair to total, permanent hair loss.
There are many kinds of alopecia, including androgenetic alopecia, traction alopecia, however when people speak of Alopecia, they are most commonly referring to Alopecia Areata. This form of Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the hair follicles causing baldness. This baldness may be temporary, but it may also be permanent. Most women first notice symptoms of Alopecia Areata through small patches of baldness the size of a coin on their scalp. These patches can become larger and join together, potentially causing complete hair loss over your head (Alopecia Totalis) and even your whole body (Alopecia Universalis).
There are some theories about the cause of Alopecia Areata, yet none of them are absolutely conclusive. What we do know is there is a genetic predisposition to Alopecia Areata, with children of parents who have experienced Alopecia more likely to experience the disorder than those with no hereditary history. Even if there is no family history of Alopecia Areata this doesn’t mean that you can’t be affected by the condition. Many women are simply more prone to it than others for no apparent reason. The immune response could be triggered by anything from a viral or bacterial infection, stress, relationship breakdown, a vaccination, exposure to a foreign substance or trauma to the skin. However, in many cases there does not seem to be any one factor to have caused it. The most current theory today is that it is not usually one factor that causes the Alopecia, but several that occur at the same time.
The good news is that Transitions Hair has years of experience in helping women to successfully overcome Alopecia Areata. Call us today for a free hair consultation to find out what your options are. Ph: 1300 427 778
Instant results for women with Alopecia Areata
Alopecia Areata does not have to stop you living your life. Transitions Hair has helped to instantly transform the look of many women. The two most popular options for people with Alopecia are our beautiful range of wigs and Sensigraft for women.
- Wigs – recommended for women with sustained or rapidly advancing Alopecia Areata. There are many different types of wigs for Alopecia (such as our Gripper™ Wigs), and we have the most beautiful range of wigs in Australia. The type you choose will depend on the state of your hair and the look you want. This will all be discussed during your free hair consultation to make sure you make the best decision for you
- Sensigraft for Women – recommended for moderate sized patches of baldness on the top, front or sides of the head. Sensigraft is a proven cosmetic solution for women, the beauty of Sensigraft is that it is site specific, perfect for small or large areas of hair loss. Sensigraft is able to recreate your natural hair with ease.
We use our depth of experience and knowledge of Alopecia to help you find the right treatment for you. We offer a safe, private environment for you to discuss your condition, your preferred treatment and the desired look.
Our range of proven hair restoration procedures will not only restore your hair but will restore your self-confidence and give you back the life you once had, regardless of Androgenetic Alopecia or Alopecia Areata.
Your next steps:
We are here to help. Call us today and have a chat with one of our qualified consultants. They will be able to answer many of your questions over the phone. Even better, come in for a free hair consultation in our Sydney studio (located conveniently next to Central Station in trendy Surry Hills) where we can meet with you face–to-face and answer all of your questions. Call today Ph: 1300 427 778
NHS offers balding women hair extensions
Princess Caroline of Monaco famously shaved her head in 1995 after suffering hair loss, possibly from the stress of losing her husband in a speedboat accident.
Now the NHS has registered its first hair extensions therapist to tackle the problem. Unlike wigs, the hair extensions can be woven into a gauze mesh fixed to the scalp and can be brushed and styled as if they were the patient’s real hair. The extensions need to be replaced every three months.
Lucinda Ellery, a hair loss treatment studio in Hammersmith, west London, receives funding and support from a number of primary care trusts throughout the UK, enabling GPs to refer patients who might be experiencing emotional trauma from their hair loss for free hair extensions.
Miss Ellery, 50, who lost two thirds of her hair after her father died when she was 10, said that she treats approximately one NHS patient a week with extensions that can cost anything from £320 to £500.
“It means that women who might not have the money can at last be treated properly,” she said. “Many women who come to me have had doctors ignore them or have spent years trying to hide their alopecia. There is a great deal of ignorance and trivialisation. A woman’s hair is her crowning glory, a symbol of fertility and health. Without it, you can feel quite pathetic.”
Lucinda Ellery is also able to treat cancer patients who have lost their hair through chemotherapy and women who suffer from impulsive hair pulling, or trichotillomania.
Earlier this year, the pop singer Victoria Beckham was believed to be suffering from trichotillomania and had hair extensions put in.
Catherine Wallace, a 40-year-old therapist from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, was referred to Lucinda Ellery by her doctor after losing much of her hair over 20 years.
“It started when I was 18 after my uncle Michael died,” she said. “It was a gradual thinning made worse by several dietary allergies. A friend noticed that my hair was getting thinner and advised I see a doctor who told me that I had alopecia. I remember walking out of the surgery and feeling like a freak.
“I was always very conscious of it and used to backcomb my hair to try and disguise it. I went to see Lucinda three years ago and it transformed me. I now live a normal life and every six weeks I go down to have the adjustments done. It’s essential that this treatment exists on the NHS because there are so many girls out there living half a life. Your hair is part of your sexuality and your glamour and without it you can feel like your whole word has come apart. It is a very isolating experience.”
However, one doctor, who refused to be named, said that getting hair extensions on the NHS was “the thin end of the wedge”.
“I don’t object to women getting treated for a genuine illness, but I do worry that this will end up with women who simply want to have nicer hair claiming they’re experiencing emotional trauma. After all, we already have people getting boob jobs on the health service.”
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