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Hairline chronicles: The dangerous side effects of consistent weaving


Melanie Awinja wrote to me recently: “I am a model and perpetually weave my hair. I have never suffered any side effects but recently, after three weeks with a weave, my scalp turned red and some parts started bleeding. I have also lost a lot of hair on the hairline. This is the most painful experience of my life. What do you think is the problem?”

 Some women do drastic things for the sake of appearance

Some women do drastic things for the sake of appearance, including perpetual weaving. It costs thousands of shillings to wear a good weave so it is important to ensure the hairdresser attaches it professionally. If it is attached too tightly, or weighs too much, it can affect your hairline and scalp.

Weight and tension strains the hair follicles, which are stretched to a point where the hair can simply fall out. Known as traction alopecia, it can cause permanent damage to hair follicles and prevent hair regrowth when your hairline is constantly under the pressure of sewing, braiding, glues and tight comb attachments. Visit the salon regularly to have the extensions removed and replaced, and regularly take a break from weaves.

With weaves, your hair can stay natural and you enjoy the convenience of straight, full hair. No shrinkage to worry about, less detangling, and protection from the weather and versatility. However, no one should feel that they have to wear a weave to have presentable hair. Our natural hair is far superior to weaves. Covering it with hair of a completely different texture comes with its challenges.

Many women are experiencing the dangerous side effects of consistent weaving. From blinding headaches, to hair loss and sometimes permanent damage, some doctors have warned about the dangers of hair extensions.

Why you should let your hair out more often:

• The more you leave your hair out, the more you learn how to manage it. You will learn how to form a hair regimen that suits your lifestyle and have the opportunity to eliminate products and techniques that don’t work well on your hair.

• You can assess the health of your hair. When it is weaved, you will not know its state. By the time you take out the weave, more damage may have occurred that could have been avoided. You can then decide what action to take including trimming, washing, treatment or a moisturising boost.

• If your hair is out more often, you will know immediately when it is dry and needs to be moisturised. With a weave, it’s easy to forget about it.

• Some people are concerned about how they look in their natural hair, and how friends, colleagues and family would react. However, the sooner they see it, the sooner they will get used to it. There is also the fear you get when you take your weave out and don’t reinstall straight away. They feel naked.

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