Hair Loss and Extensions

Thinning hair
Photo: Sakoodter Stocker/Shutterstock
Q: I am a Puerto Rican female with thinning hair on top. I keep losing a lot of hair everyday I notice it on my brush and rollers. I'd like some advice on hair extensions or weaves.
A: I'm afraid that given the problem you describe - the thinning hair and hair loss. You may not be a suitable candidate for hair extensions or weaves. Both of these procedures use your natural hair as a base for the extension, although in different ways.
With weaves, usually, the natural hair is braided to form a long and narrow "track" to which a weft of hair is then sewn using a neutral-colored thread. There is also a method of applying weaves where the weft of hair is glued to the existing hair using a special bonding agent.
With extensions, the main difference is in the number of hairs being attached at a given time. There are braided extensions, in which the natural hair is braided and extension hair is woven into the braid to appear as though the hair is longer. And the newest extension technique is called bonding, where extra strands are attached to natural strands in small clusters (sometimes as little as one to three extending hairs attached to a single strand of natural hair) using a specialized bonding agent and specific tool to seal the bond.
All of these techniques put added stress on the natural hair - in varying degrees. And if your natural hair is thinning at a significant rate, you can understand why these techniques will not really be suited to you. You could go through the expense of having weaves or extensions added, only to have them begin to come loose or fall out completely as the natural hair falls out of the scalp.
The bonding method of extensions is especially costly, and it would be unwise to pursue this as a course of action unless you determine the cause of your hair loss and stop it.
It is actually the hair loss that concerns me most. Nearly 40% of women notice some thinning of the hair by the age of 35, but if your hair loss is significant and continuous, please consult your physician. Hair loss can be sign of illness or hormonal imbalance causing an interruption in the hair's normal growth cycle. Many of these conditions are treatable, and you may begin to see your hair begin to re-grow in some cases, depending on the cause.
In the meantime, a better solution for dealing with your thinning hair is to consider wigs or hairpieces. You can get wigs and hairpieces designed to blend with your natural hair and give you thicker looking hair without damaging the existing hair. The cost of wigs varies depending on the quality and fibers from which the wigs are made.
In addition, the newest innovations in synthetic chemistry have produced some very natural-looking synthetic wigs that are inexpensive and look just like real, human hair. The cost of a good wig is comparable to the cost of the less-expensive hair weaves and extension processes.
Regardless of the way you choose to deal with your hair loss, the most important thing for you to do is see a doctor about determining the cause and getting treatment. I wish you all the best.
See also:
Hair extensions
Wigs and hairpieces
Hair loss problems
Thinning hair and fine hair Q&A