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Consumer Reports: Hair extension dangers

February 6, 2013 1:57:10 PM PST
Hair extensions make you look like you have long, luscious locks. But Consumer Reports cautions that this beauty trend, fueled by celebrities who use hair extensions, can turn ugly.

Lady Gaga has received a lot of media attention for the outrageous hairstyles she creates with her hair extensions. Other celebrities from Jessica Simpson to Raquel Welch have hawked lines of hair extensions. And many women longing for a full head of hair are following their lead.

But this beauty trend has a dark side. Jennifer Aniston reportedly said she cut her hair because it "was getting thinned out again from all the extensions."

Latesha Parks, influenced by both celebrity fashion and her friends, got hair extensions.

"I've been wearing them about nine years," she said.

But now her hair has broken off, and she has a spot where her hair won't grow anymore.

Randee Bank also had problems after using hair extensions.

"I still have bald spots. The hair has not grown back," she said.

Consumer Reports' Dr. Orly Avitzur became concerned when one of her patients with hair extensions complained of excruciating headaches.

"There are people who use hair extensions without complaint. But extensions add excess weight, pulling on the hair, which can lead to damage of the hair follicles," he adds.

Hair salons use a wide variety of ways to attach the extensions to natural hair, including glue and tape, as well as clips like these.

"If you wear extensions and start to see signs of hair loss, stop right away before the problem becomes permanent," said Dr. Avitzur.

Salon owner Dawn DiDomenico knows the dangers. She refuses to use hair extensions.

"It looks like really beautiful hair, but what it does underneath is quite scary," says Dawn.

If you'd like to have fuller-looking hair without extensions, hair salons recommend trying gels and sprays that promise to add volume.

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