traction alopecia caused by hair extensionsWhat the Kardashians do today, the rest of us do tomorrow. Love them or hate them, you can’t help but admire the influential power of this family, especially in the world of beauty and fashion. The latest stance that Kylie Jenner is making is to lose her famous hair extensions in 2016, in favour of a more natural look… with a sensible rationale behind her decision.

Many women are realising that longer term use of hair extensions can be problematic for hair follicles, and that giving hair a break from them is very sensible for ensuring the longevity of natural, healthy, luscious locks. The most damaging side effect of extensions is a condition known as traction alopecia, which can result in patchy baldness around the site of the extension. The reason that this occurs is that in the process of attaching the extension (which involves ‘welding’ artificial strands of hair to naturally growing hair shafts) puts a lot of pressure on the follicles containing the natural strands.

This revelation has received support from other young, famous women, who have formerly been fans of this seemingly harmless hair styling commodity. Amy Childs, Lydia Bright and Lauren Pope (all stars of The Only Way is Essex) join Kylie Jenner inn planning on taking a more natural approach to hair styling this year, in favour of keeping their natural hair strong and healthy.

Serious side effects to hair styling

Traction alopecia can be caused by excessively tight over styling of the hair, including tight ballerina buns, corn-weaves, braids, and of course, hair extensions. What all these styles and techniques have in common is that they put excessive pressure on hair follicles, damaging them and causing the hairs to fall out. If you have started to suffer from traction alopecia, the reassuring news is that it can be reversed if caught early enough, but it is better to nip it in the bud and prevent it happening in the first place.

In the media hungry world of the rich and famous, it is better to avoid the angst of patchy baldness by being kinder to hair in the first place and not putting it under unnecessary amounts of stress. We are all guilty of styling, colouring and treating our hair more than we probably should, so give your hair some respite and cut out at least one of the things that’s putting it under pressure.

A more relaxed approach

The news that some of the most glamorous celebrities are swapping lengthy beatifying regimes for a more natural look is good news for the rest of us. Maybe 2016 will be a year of more relaxed, natural styles, as the fashion icons of last year step away from high maintenance hair, skin and nail regimes in favour of something a bit less time consuming … and a bit more achievable for the rest of us.

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By Ian Watson

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