Women pay a high price for dream hair
Sydney Morning Herald
Wednesday March 17, 2010
JOSEPH MOURAD gives clients their "dream hair" every day. In the past two years the hair stylist has seen demand for hair extensions grow "like crazy" as more women sought instantly thicker and longer tresses by attaching human hair to their head using a variety of methods."It's because of the celebrities. They change their hair so often. One minute it's short, then it's long, and people can get the same look in an instant. Plus, they're much better these days."But many women are paying the price for hair extensions, which can cost up to $4000. A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology last year reported that extensions could lead to permanent baldness and that the problem might be more common than reported.Hair experts have agreed, saying that extensions attached too close to the scalp or to too few strands of hair can put such tension on follicles in the scalp that they can become inflamed, causing hair to fall out - a condition known as traction alopecia."So many hair salons are falling over each other trying to make an extra dollar," said Dr Jennifer Martinick, a hair specialist. "You go to the hair expo and there's every Tom, Dick and Harry doing hair extensions. They think it looks easy and they can get big money."Juliet Beasley had extensions glued on in 2006, but they were too heavy for her natural hair."I got bald patches and an itchy scalp," she said."My hair is really only just getting back on track now, and I've had to spend so much on salon products to rejuvenate it."The director of the International Association of Trichologists, David Salinger, said persistent hair loss could result in irreversible baldness."I think the problem is more widespread than we realise."The problem, Dr Martinick said, was inexperienced and greedy stylists who did not know when to reject a client. Thin-haired and curly haired clients were often unsuitable. "The selection process is below par, and hairdressers are not giving good maintenance advice."She stressed that some experienced operators, such as Mr Mourad, used sound methods that had no adverse impacts on hair. But it was tough to find a good stylist.Mr Mourad said: "The technology is getting better, but there's a lot of bad work out there ... I get a lot of fix-up jobs."British dermatologists have called for bans on hair extensions. Dr Martinick said more stringent standards would help. "[Hairdressers] don't really get sued in the same way doctors do, so they get a way with a lot."
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