Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Keira Knightley Says Wigs Are Her Savior After Hair Loss

She’s dyed her hair various shades of blond, brown, and auburn over the years for acting roles ranging from Anna Karenina and Atonement to Pride and Prejudice and The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. While Keira Knightley’s career has been thriving, her tresses haven’t fared so well. According to the U.K.’s Mirror, Knightley has experienced hair loss for the past five years due to overdyeing, and she’s taken to sporting wigs to cover up her thinning mane. But she’s not mad about it: The actress called the hairpieces “the greatest thing that’s ever happened to my hair,” according to the Mirror.

“When people use hair dyes and clinical products it reduces the length of the growth phase, meaning hair becomes thinner and easily broken,” said an expert from PHP Aesthetic-Wellness clinic, who spoke with the Mirror. But, fans of hair color, don’t fret just yet. “Hair loss associated with hair coloring is extremely rare,” Chris Flower, director-general of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association, a toxicologist and chartered biologist, tells Yahoo Beauty. “And though it should only be temporary, it is of course very upsetting.” The publication cites hair-loss experts who claim your hair can grow back if you refrain from using dyes and give it a rest — that is, if the follicles are still present.

Experts who spoke to the Mirror also suggest getting blood tests to rule out a thyroid problem or iron deficiency causing the thinning strands. The 31-year-old actress has been on a hair roller coaster over the years, beyond just losing strands to overdyeing. Even her texture has changed. “I have naturally crazy, curly hair — and since I’ve had the baby [in 2015], it’s become 10 times thicker,” she said, according to the Mirror. “So now I’ve been finding quite a lot of dreadlocks.” Actress January Jones has experienced a similar problem, watching her tresses fall out after changing her hair color too many times for roles. “I have been every color and now my hair is falling out in clumps,” she told the fashion publication Grazia. According to hair-loss clinic the Belgravia Centre, hair dyes do not cause hair loss at the root. “[Hair loss] is not, as many people think, due to the dyes affecting the hair follicles in the scalp where the hair is produced,” its website states. “It is actually an unfortunate side-effect of the leeching process, by which dye is removed from the proteins that compose each hair shaft.”

Which explains why hair-loss experts who spoke with the Mirror suggest that hair can grow back in most cases like this — because follicles remain undamaged. Overuse of dye can definitely magnify the chemicals’ damage to your hair over time, causing strands to become weak and break off. According to the website Bustle, dye can can lift and break through protective hair cuticles. And the more you dye, of course, the more havoc you wreak. If you frequently change your hair color with dyes containing ammonia — the most harmful chemical — you might want to consider taking a break (and wearing wigs like Knightley?).

Also, adopt some best practices for keeping your strands intact when using hair dye at home (for a major change, see a hair-color professional). According to Flower, you should:

  • Always read the instructions and make sure you understand them completely, even if you’ve used the product before, and make sure you leave the product on the head for the time stated on the pack. 
  • Always carry out the allergy alert test, exactly as instructed, each time, and allow a full 48 hours for any reaction to develop. 
  • If you react to the allergy alert test, do notgo ahead and color your hair. 
  • If you are unsure of anything, call the company help line using the number on the pack. 
If you do suffer a reaction in spite of these guidelines, Flower says, you should contact your doctor first but also contact the manufacturer of the product or the salon where you had your hair colored; both will help you and your doctor handle your reaction. Companies have your safety in mind and will investigate each incident to help ensure the safety of hair colorants for the millions of people who use them regularly. If you choose the wig route, there are a bunch of things to consider, not the least of which is, should you go for natural or synthetic hair? While human-hair wigs look and feel natural (because they are), tangle less, and last longer, they’re also much more expensive. Synthetic wigs are more affordable and can withstand heat styling better — but, of course, they’re artificial.

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