The prevalence of lace front wigs as an everyday hair accessory is relatively new. They used to be only worn by celebrities, who needed to switch up their styles for the demanding public eye. Once they became available to the public, the pros of using the wigs also came with cons: hair neglect, traction alopecia, allergic reactions, etc.
Using glue as a method of securing your wig is popular for good reason. It is often secure and lasts a long time. However, a lot of glues have latex and repeated exposure can cause a variation of allergic reactions, from mild scalp irritation to anaphylaxis.
Traction alopecia is another possible consequence from the improper use of lace front wigs. It is caused by the constant and/or frequent pulling of hair. Some symptoms of traction alopecia include:
- Scalp sensitivity after undoing a hairstyle
- Itchy scalp after wearing braids or a weave
- A headache resulting from too tight a hairstyle
- Pustules (blisters filled with pus) or papules (little pimples) caused by tension to the hair
- Red or painful scalp (sign of inflammation)
How to avoid (or at best minimize) damage from lace front wigs:
- Do not wear them consistently for a long period of time i.e. more than three months. Take a break with other easy and accessible low manipulation styles like head wraps, and simple cornrow styles. Switching it up will allow the main areas of stress and tension to be relieved (main cause of traction alopecia) temporarily.
- Skip the glue and try another method of securing your wig. Some wigs come with combs attached and if they don’t, there are tons of DIY tutorials online that show you how to add them. While these combs sometimes add more tension to certain areas, they are not a chemical and also give the wearer the opportunity to wear the wig as more of a temporary daily style than wanting to keep it on longer because of the glue application.
- Go for human hair rather than synthetic hair, if possible. Synthetic hair can be the cause of allergic reactions or irritation. There are also tutorials on the internet about how to ‘clarify’ synthetic hair and remove the chemicals that cause most of the said irritation. If you do decide to use glue, make sure you pay attention to the glue you use as well.
- Finally, do not forget to care for your scalp below the wig. Whether you choose a glue-on wig or you use a more temporary method of attachment, remember that your own hair stills needs to be nurtured. Oil your scalp with products containing essential oils such as tea tree oil and jojoba oil to keep your hair and scalp in great shape. Products like the Ettenio Scalp Restore and Pure Essence Hair Oil Blend should be included in your daily care regimen while wearing wigs. Each product also comes with ergonomic applicators that make oiling your hair a breeze.