Hair extensions are typically applied to strands of hair with hair glue. Hair glue comes in professional bottles and sticks that are melted as needed. Hair glue may contain varying ingredients but typically will include silicon adhesive, a blend of cyclohexane, polysiloxane, naphtha, toluene and benzene. Several of these ingredients are considered unsafe for use during pregnancy.
Naphtha is a solvent used in many commercial products. According to MSDS (material safety data sheets) information, certain types of caphtha can be carcinogenic. Carcinogens are substances known to cause cancer. Benzene is also a known carcinogen. Typically benzene is used as an additive to gasoline, but due to the high-risk of cancer associated with the solvent, its use in gasoline and other commercial products is now limited. Toluene, a derivative of benzene, is also a solvent with potential carcinogenic effects.
Toluene fumes have been known to cause confusion, fatigue, loss of appetite and death. Pregnant women should stay away from any hair extensions that are applied with hair glue including any or all of the above mentioned ingredients.
An alternative to gluing in hair extensions is the braiding process. Braiding hair extensions into existing hair does not pose safety risks for the pregnant woman or her baby, but may cause undue harm to the scalp. Recent studies have shown that the force placed on the scalp from hair extensions can lead to permanent root damage that may result in hair loss. Hair follicle inflammation and infection may also result from hair extensions.
Pregnancy is a time of changes. Even though hair extensions may seem like a beautiful idea, there are many risks associated with getting them done. Hair glues are not considered safe during pregnancy and should always be avoided and hair braiding can result in damage to the already inflamed hair roots and potential balding and hair loss that cannot be reversed.