By Dr. Linda Amerson
Hair accessories are a billion-dollar industry. Accessories are meant to enhance the hair, conceal fine, limp, sparse, damaged or broken hair strands. When consumers are informed, they understand the importance of proper usage. Daily enhancements may damage your hair and contribute to alopecia and cicatricial alopecia when used improperly.
• Bobby pins and hairpins should have rubber tips on the ends. If you have been reusing your hairpins and the protective nylon coating is no longer visible, it is time to throw them away. Check the closures to make sure they offer the right amount of tension. Exposed ends may scratch delicate scalps, cause hair tangling and snagging, or ripping of hair. Furthermore, some consumers may develop an allergic reaction to the nylon coating on bobby pins and should discontinue usage. Lastly, if you feel any scalp pain after inserting a bobby pin or hairpin, remove or reposition it. This recommendation also applies to your hairstylist, who may use a hairpin or bobby pin for your updo style. Tell them it is too tight.
• Hair clips should be used with caution. Adjust the tension on the hair if it pulls the hair. There are so many options available on the market, such as snap open, clips with closures on the end, various colors and shapes, etc
• Barrettes are used on a daily basis on children’s hair. Parents/Grandparents should always adjust the tension, to ensure it is not too tight. If the hair is wet or dry, you can contribute to hair breakage when using hair barrettes incorrectly. Sometimes, parents unknowingly use barrettes incorrectly on their 0-2 year-old children’s fine, sparse hair textures. Pulling the hair too tight, they attach five-20 hair barrettes to let everyone know she is a girl! Stop it! Another option is a stretchy headband. Give your child’s hair time to grow.
• Hair chains have been popular since 2012. Celebrities began this trend. Unfortunately, the small links in the chains may snag, pull, tear and rip delicate strands. They inadvertently can pull at fragile hair strands, create split ends and potentially cause serious snarls, tangles, and other hair related loss. If hair chains snag, pull, rip and damage her extensions, it’s not as serious a matter as if hair chains cause damage to natural hair. Hair chains may also cause damage to naturally textured tresses such as curls, waves, kinks, and coils. The little links in the chains can become embedded in delicate curls or coils, causing major tangles. If you must wear hair chains, be very careful to inspect the hair accessories before attaching them to your delicate strands.
• Banana clips are still worn by consumers. Always use caution. The metal springs can ruin your hair when used incorrectly; hair breakage and thinning are also commonly visible.
• Rubber bands should not be used on the hair. Uncovered rubber bands can be very damaging to the hair! Hair breakage is a common result when using uncovered rubber bands, tangles, snagging, ripping and pulling. Always, choose covered ponytail holders or cloth ponytail bands to keep hair in place. Parents, this is a must for your child’s/grandchild’s hair care.
• Headbands are popular, however, avoid wearing hair bands on a daily basis. There are several options on the market, stretch, non-flexible, etc. Parents, you really need to pay closer attention to the one-size-fits-all. Your child may have a larger head (no offense) and the chosen headband may be too small for your child’s head size. Most commonly, if you or your child’s hair is dry, damaged, or chemically over-processed, you may be contributing to limited hair restoration.
• Clip-in hair extensions added to fine, fragile hair textures will cause additional hair breakage, and hair thinning.
In conclusion, many consumers love the options available in hair accessories. Parents also love to see their baby girl’s hair enhanced with ribbons, elastic balls, jewels, headbands, flowers, bows, etc., but do not go overboard! Yes, the image is important. In reality, there are also dangers of damaging your hair or your child’s hair if accessories are used frequently and improperly. The bottom line, stop putting so much emphasis on what is on your child’s hair and focus on the importance of what is in their head.