Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why I'm a Fan of Demi Lovato's New Hair Extensions

Photo by PR Photos

Demi Lovato, the 22-year old singer and actress, is almost as well known for her constantly changing hair styles as she is her amazing vocals. Now, she's going one step further by announcing a new line of hair extensions called Secret Color.

Anyone who's read this blog or my media interviews knows that I'm highly critical of hair extensions. In many cases, extensions aren't applied properly or are used too often and the artificial weight upon the hair can strain the underlying follicles, resulting in a permanent type of hair loss known as 'traction alopecia.' Over the years, a number of celebrities have been spotted with bald spots and hairline recession as a result of extensions - one of the most well-known examples is Naomi Campbell.

However, Secret Color is different from traditional hair extensions - it isn't clipped or glued onto the hair, instead it is attached by a simple headband which doesn't put pressure on the hair strands or the underlying follicles. This unique design, which is patent-pending, makes it possible for women to wear these extensions without the risks of causing long-term damage to their hair.

So, while I'm not a fan of traditional hair extensions, I do support Ms. Lovato's safer, healthier design. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Is James McAvoy Going Bald?

Photo by PR Photos

In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, 35-year old Scottish actor James McAvoy revealed that he will soon be going bald for the latest installment of the "X-Men" series. 

According to the Huffington Post interview:

"I'll be older in this one," McAvoy, who plays Professor Charles Xavier in the "X-Men" franchise, told host Alyona Minkovski. "[And] I think I'm losing my hair finally. And, yeah, that's kind of all I know."

A bald McAvoy? Well, we knew it had to happen eventually to the young Professor X. 

However, in real life, McAvoy's hair line appears to be in fairly good shape, with a bit of temporal recession. Hopefully, the actor won't share the same fate as his character - and as long as he's proactive about his follicle health, he won't.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What is Trichotillomania?

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London's Daily Mail newspaper ran a story earlier this week about one woman's 30-year battle with trichotillomania (TTM), which is worth checking out. It's estimated that two to 10 million Americans could suffer from this psychological disorder in which the person compulsively pulls out their hair, eyelashes or eyebrows.

TTM is a condition that should be taken seriously, as it could be a sign of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other obsessive-compulsive habits. Additionally, those who have TTM and fail to get treatment can suffer permanent hair loss in the affected areas - which could be in the center of the scalp, as is common with many women, or even the eyelashes or eyebrows. I've treated a number of patients over the years who suffered from traction alopecia as a result of untreated TTM. One of them, who required eyelash transplants as a result, appeared with me on ABC's Good Morning America several years ago. Here's the clip.

So why is Olivia Munn's photograph at the top of this article? She admitted that she suffers from TTM a couple of years ago. Other stars that have been reported to suffer from it at one time or another are Charlize Theron, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry and Megan Fox, among others.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Is Shaving 'Down There' Bad for Your Health?

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It's been suggested that Jennifer Aniston is a fanatical devotee of waxing, along with countless other celebrities, and it's certainly no secret that the "Brazilian" and "Hollywood" craze has been mainstream for quite some time now - with some estimates claiming as many as 80% of American women engage in some form of pubic shaping. 

But could this practice endanger your health?

A new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found that 60% of those who shave 'down there' have at least one health complication as a result, including a higher risk for certain STDs, such as warts and herpes. 

As a medical professional, I've long been concerned about the waxing trend, and spoke with my local ABC 10 news channel about it a few years ago. As I explained at that time, too aggressive removal of the pubic hair (via waxing) can cause punctate bleeding, and shaving it can also result in tiny nicks and cuts. All of this leaves you more prone to infection. In fact, in the operating rooms of most modern hospitals today, they don't remove all of the hairs from the surgical area, due to these concerns.

So waxers, be careful. Avoid sex if you experience breaks in the skin down there, be aware of the risks, don't overdo it, and make sure you go to a professional facility that follows sanitary guidelines.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Recession Alert - Haley Joel Osment

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I see dead follicles ...

Sorry, I couldn't resist. Although few may know the name Haley Joel Osment off-hand, I'm sure almost everyone remembers his famous role as the troubled kid who sees dead people in "The Sixth Sense" (1999).

Now 26, he has a new film coming out next week - a deeply disturbing thriller called "Tusk." But as frightening as Tusk appears to be, I'm even more troubled by the broad and deep recession points that stand out in recent photos of the young star. 

Hair loss is not uncommon in a man's twenties, and over 20 percent may experience it. Thankfully, for Haley, his hair loss doesn't appear too problematic yet, but he should definitely start taking it seriously. By being proactive now, he can stop male pattern hair loss in its tracks and maintain a thick, natural-looking hairline well into old age. 

Advice for Haley: see a qualified hair restoration specialist. The sooner you intervene, the better the odds are for keeping a healthy hair line without having to resort to hair transplantation. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Joey Essex's $1.65 Million Hair?

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Believe it or not, many Hollywood celebrities insure their body parts for hundred of thousands of dollars, and in some cases millions. This little known practice actually goes back decades, and today's stars now insure everything from their legs (Heidi Klum for $2 million) to breasts (Holly Madison for $1 million). Here's a list of 20 celebrities who've allegedly done it.  

Now, UK reality star Joey Essex is following in their footsteps, but this time, he's not ensuring his legs, hands or face - he's taking out a $1.65 million policy from Lloyd's of London on his ... hair!

While many people may be surprised to learn that celebrities are able to insure any body part for millions of dollars, it's even less common to do this for your hair. But there is a certain logic to it. After all, Essex just signed a six-figure contract with Tesco last year to promote the D'Reem Hair product line. Should some unforeseen disaster happen to his hair, that contract could be jeopardized. 

He's not the first prominent figure to take out a policy on his hair though. In 2010, Head & Shoulders took out a $1 million policy (also through Lloyd's of London) to protect their investment in the iconic mane of the Pittsburgh Steelers' star safety Troy Polamalu.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Could David Beckham Cause Widespread Traction Alopecia Among Men?

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I can't say enough about how risky hair extensions are to the long-term health of a person's hair follicles. Over the years, a number of female celebrities have been spotted with what appears to be bald spots or deep hair line recession as a result of damaging hair styles and treatments.

Now, according to the UK's Daily Mail newspaper (read it here), the trend, long limited to women, is crossing over to men. 

UK salons have seen a 200% increase in male hair extension treatments, as more guys seek to imitate the thick, full, lengthy locks of David Beckham, Harry Styles and Oliver Cheshire. But imitating these stars can have dangerous consequences for a guy's hair line: as more men add on extensions, they're increasing their risk for a specific type of hair loss known as "traction alopecia." This condition, which is permanent and can only be treated with hair transplant surgery, is caused by the extra weight and pulling action from the extensions on the hair follicles, which physically damages them.

Both men and women should avoid long-term use of hair extensions or use them intermittently only - and this is especially true for anyone with weak hair. Most stylists will underestimate their potential for damage until it's too late.

Male hair extensions appear to be part of a larger man-'do trend, as bro-braids, man-buns and dude-'tails are also picking up.