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Understanding Hair Extension Allergies and Sensitivities

Hair extensions are a popular way to add length, volume, and style to your hair. However, some people may experience allergies or sensitivities to hair extensions.

itchy scalp due to allergy

Hair extension allergies and sensitivities are not common, but they can happen. It is estimated that about 1% of people who get hair extensions will experience an allergic reaction.

Spotting the Symptoms of a Hair Extension Allergy

The symptoms of a hair extension allergy or sensitivity can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:

  • Itching

  • Redness

  • Swelling

  • Pain

  • Burning

  • Rash

  • Hives

  • Tightness

  • Blisters

These symptoms usually affect the scalp since it is the skin that comes in contact with the extension and the materials used for the application. Some people disregard these symptoms, brushing them off as an effect of the hair extension application process. But if left untreated, these allergies can cause serious problems, such as hair loss and scarring alopecia. So, if you experience any of these symptoms after getting hair extensions, it is important to contact your hair extension specialist to remove the extensions immediately.

Types of Allergies Caused by Hair Extensions

Allergic reactions caused by hair extensions can manifest in various ways, often affecting the skin and scalp. These reactions occur when the immune system responds to a specific allergen or irritant present in the materials, adhesives, or chemicals used in the hair extension process. Here are some common types of allergic reactions that individuals might experience due to hair extensions:

Contact Dermatitis: This is the most common type of allergic reaction caused by hair extensions. Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes into direct contact with an allergen or irritant, leading to redness, itching, inflammation, and even a rash. It can develop anywhere the extensions come into contact with the skin, such as the scalp, neck, or forehead.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis: This is a specific type of contact dermatitis that involves an immune response triggered by exposure to an allergen. Nickel is a common allergen found in the metal used in some hair extensions, such as metal rings or clips. Those who are allergic to nickel may experience itching, redness, and irritation where the metal components touch the skin.

Chemical Sensitivities: Hair extensions often undergo chemical treatments such as bleaching, dyeing, and coating to match the desired color and texture. Some individuals may be sensitive to the chemicals used in these processes. This sensitivity can lead to scalp irritation, itching, and redness, especially when the extensions are first applied.

Adhesive Reactions: Depending on the method of application, hair extension adhesives can contain compounds that cause sensitivities in some individuals. The adhesive used to attach the extensions to the scalp may lead to localized itching, redness, and discomfort. Here are some of the common adhesive you might encounter and what your options are:

  • Keratin Adhesive: Keratin-based adhesives are often used for fusion or bonded hair extensions. The adhesive is heated until it becomes pliable, and then the extension hair is attached to the natural hair by rolling the melted keratin into a bond. Keratin adhesives provide a strong and durable attachment, but some people develop sensitivity to this material for some reason.

  • Microbeads: Microbeads, also known as micro rings or micro-links, are small metal rings used in hair extensions to securely attach extension strands to the natural hair. They serve as a mechanical method of attachment without the use of adhesives or chemicals. However, people who are allergic to metals, such as nickel, aluminum, or copper, can develop adverse reactions. This is especially true when the rings are placed too close to the scalp or they brush against the scalp.

  • Double-Sided Tape: Double-sided tape adhesives involve using thin adhesive strips applied to the extension wefts. The wefts are then pressed against the natural hair. Allergic reactions with double-sided tape are relatively rare, but they can occur due to sensitivity to the adhesive material or any chemicals used in the tape.

Inflammatory Reactions: Inflammation can occur in response to the presence of foreign materials, especially when hair extensions are improperly installed or too tight. This can lead to discomfort, pain, and even hair loss in severe cases.

Sensitivity to the mustache: The "mustache" in hair extensions is the part of the weft that is folded over and sewn to create the extension. It is called a mustache because it resembles the hair that grows above a person's upper lip. The mustache can sometimes cause irritation to the scalp, especially if it is not sewn properly. It can also be unsightly, especially if it is visible when the hair is styled.

Tight extensions. Tight hair extensions can contribute to allergies or sensitivity through a combination of mechanical irritation, compromised blood circulation, and increased friction on the scalp. While tight extensions themselves may not directly cause allergies, they can exacerbate skin reactions and discomfort, making individuals more susceptible to allergic responses.

It's important to note that allergic reactions can vary in severity. Mild reactions might only involve slight itching or redness, while more severe cases can lead to intense discomfort, swelling, and even blistering.

Learn more about these hair extension allergies in this video

How to Prevent Hair Extension Allergies

There are a number of things you can do to prevent hair extension allergies and sensitivities. These include:

  1. Do a patch test before getting hair extensions. This will help to determine if you are allergic to any of the materials that will be used.

  2. Choose high-quality hair extensions made from natural materials. Synthetic hair and animal hair are more likely to cause allergic reactions than human hair.

  3. If you want to get hair extensions, go to a professional hair extension specialist. This is crucial in ensuring not only the desired look but also the health and safety of your scalp and hair. Hair extension specialists have the knowledge, skills and experience to handle all your hair extensions issues. Don’t go to general salons that do not have specializations because you’re going to get subpar results.

  4. Do not ignore proper hair extension maintenance. Wash your hair extensions regularly with a gentle shampoo and conditioner. This will help to remove any build-up of chemicals or dirt that could irritate your skin.

What to Do if You Have a Hair Extension Allergy or Sensitivity

If you experience an allergic reaction to hair extensions, it is important to remove the extensions immediately. Contact your stylist so they can carefully take off the extensions. Most of the time, the allergic reaction subsides once the hair extension has been removed.

In some cases, you may be able to try a different type of hair extension that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction. There are other types of hair extensions that won’t give you allergies. However, if you have a severe allergy, you may need to avoid hair extensions altogether.


Hair extension allergies and sensitivities are not common, but they can happen. It is important to be aware of the risk of an allergic reaction before getting hair extensions. By taking steps to prevent allergies and sensitivities, you can enjoy your hair extensions without any problems.

For professional and expert hair extension and hair loss specialists in Dallas, trust only Zoya Salon. We offer 7 hair extension methods designed to give you stunning results without the allergies. Schedule your appointment now so we can discuss your hair needs.


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