Thursday, August 03, 2006

Other Baldness Solutions

Other Baldness Solutions

Wigs made from artificial or, increasingly, real hair, kept in place by adhesives, are becoming more natural-looking.

Sutured hair pieces may be permanently stitched into the scalp, i.e., synthetic hair fibers or the real hair of others is permanently attached, sewn in or "shot" (like tiny barbs) into the bald scalp by non-medical technicians. Although claimed to be safe, it is not, because whenever a foreign object is permanently placed in the body there's almost always a consequent infection or skin allergy.

Hair weaving, also called "hair intensification" or "hair integration," involves adding to thin hair by weaving or braiding human hair or synthetic fibers into existing hair. Apart from the expense (anywhere up to $2,500), this poses two problems: first, it may be difficult to keep your hair and scalp clean. And second, it stresses existing hair and may cause it to fall out.

The American Hair Loss Council advises that only people with plenty of healthy hair should consider hair weaving. And even they should plan to keep the "intensified" hair for only a few weeks.

Hair weaving. The procedure is not surgical but merely cosmetic in that it attaches extensions, either natural or synthetic, to existing hairs. On the downside, the extensions must be repositioned every four to six weeks as the hair grows out. Hairpieces. Toupees seem to be out of favor with Baby Boomers. Hairpieces have gotten a bad name because so many men wear cheap ones that make them look as if a weasel died on top of their head. It's very hard to spot a good toupee, but the dreadful ones get noticed.

If you're thinking about a hairpiece, your best bet is to go to someone who offers a free consultation. Go with a custom piece rather than an off-the-rack toupee. Synthetic pieces are better for active, sports-minded men because they hold up to weather and water better and are easier to keep clean. Natural pieces tend to look slightly better at first, but the harsh processing done to Oriental hair--the largest hair source--makes the hair break down sooner. As for comparative costs, figure about $150 more for a natural vs. synthetic piece in the $1,000 category.

Cosmetic Remedies

To reduce the visual effect of you thinning hair, you can always resort to camouflage. The universal rule in dealing with thinning hair is, less is more. Cut it short, cut it blunt. It will make your hair look fuller and less patchy, and will be easier to maintain. With longer hair, it would bunch together and the bunches would separate, showing wide expanses of scalp.

A skilled barber can also help you when hair is thinning only in certain areas. If you are thinning in the front, the hairline is creeping back at the temple. To minimize this condition ask you barber to trim the forward part short, while letting the hair at your temples grow longer.

If your hair is thinning at the crown of the head, keep the back short; long hair in the back of the head will be heavier, pulling down and away from the crown and exposing the balding area. If you still have reasonably thick hair on the top of your head, grow it long and cover the bald spot.

If your hair is fine, you're going to have a harder time covering the bald spot. You might want to try what's known in the hair-cutter's trade as a "swell" perm, a mild perm that increases hair volume. Such a light perm will be hardly recognizable to others.

If you have dark hair, lighten the color a bit. This trick will reduce the contrast between the remaining hair and the scalp, thereby making the skin less noticeable. One cosmetic trick that may work for women: buy a powdered eye shadow the color of your hair and apply it lightly to your scalp in the thin spots. It's harmless and may make thinning hair less noticeable.

When it comes to grooming products, stay away from gels, which can cause sections of hair to stick together and create gorges of empty space that reveal the scalp. Light sprays serve a better purpose. Many hairstylists recommend the following products which make you hair look fuller.

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