Our beauty expert Pat Sumpter-Davis is back and ready to answer all of your hair and beauty questions. Our latest question comes from Erika. Erika raised a hair issue that is not often discussed, but affects many women.
Q: I’m 16 and I have Alopecia Areata. Luckily my parents and I caught the hair loss in its early stages. I’ve been on steroids since 8thgrade and my hair is half way down my back. However, I have my senior prom and graduation coming up and I want to do a nice, full look for the occasion and wanted advice on getting sewn-in extensions with my condition. My parents aren’t sure if it’s the best idea, so I wanted to take matters into my own hands and find out for myself. Do you think sewn-in extensions would be a good option or do you think they would only make things worse?
Pat Says: Erika, thanks for being brave enough to discuss a serious issue like hair loss.
Alopecia is the medical term for involuntary hair loss. There are various forms and can be brought on by different triggers including: medication, genetics, even tight ponytails or braids. Many experts believe Alopecia Areata to be hereditary. It’s important to consult a dermatologist at the first signs of hair loss so you can stop further damage and to also insure that you are treating it properly.
If you decide to get sewn-in extensions, I don’t recommend wearing them for a long period of time. The extensions should only be done by a trained professional. Prior to making an appointment, be sure to request a thorough consultation. During the consultation, be sure to ask the following questions:
1. How much experience do you have with clients with Alopecia?
2. How tight will the braids be? (Too much tension can cause permanent damage.)
3. Do you double the tracks?(Doubling tracks can add too much weight to the hair, causing serious damage.)
4. Will I have access to my scalp? (The scalp should be thoroughly cleansed regularly to prevent buildup, which can lead to clogged pores.)
If the stylist is unable to answer the above questions and stand behind his or her work, then you need to move on and find a stylist who better meets your needs.
Congratulations on your graduation and have fun at prom!