Glue or double-sided tape is often used to secure wigs, hair extensions and hair systems. But can glue on hair damage the scalp?
Although some wearers experience little to no reaction to the glue itself, for many people it can cause an allergic reaction that results in a lot of discomforts.
If you are considering using hair glue, then it’s important that you know what to be aware of. In this article, we are going to discuss whether glue on hair can damage the scalp.
Hair glue may be a convenient way at securing wigs or hair extensions, but it does pose some questions.
Glue on hair can potentially block the pores in your scalp, damage the hair follicles, and even cause an allergic reaction in some. This is largely due to the fact that glue contains soluble latex, which is a known skin irritant.
If the glue is used continuously on an irritated and sore scalp, it can cause long-lasting damage.
Ways Glue On Hair Can Damage The Scalp
Wearing Wig, Extensions or Hair System for Too Long
Although you might feel tempted to wear your wig or extensions every day, your scalp needs a break in between. It needs to breathe.
You can certainly wear them long-term, but it’s recommended that you avoid leaving them on for longer than a week at a time. Doing so can lead to scalp irritation.
If You Have Sensitive Skin or Allergies
Unfortunately, hair glue contains soluble latex, which can cause a reaction if you’re allergic.
Many people are sensitive to latex, so it’s not surprising that some people who use glue on their scalp will experience a negative reaction.
If you already have irritated or sensitive skin then it’s best to avoid using glue or at least consult a doctor beforehand.
Sometimes, the application of glue can create a moist environment. This can lead to bacteria getting trapped and irritating the scalp.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that you don’t wear wigs or hair extensions continuously without giving your scalp a break.
It’s also important to fit your hair extensions correctly because incorrectly fitted extensions can lead to tension spots.
The more you scratch your scalp, the more you are prone to bacterial infections.
So as soon as you notice any itching, be sure to remove the extensions to prevent any further damage.
Using Solvent-Based Glue Instead of Water Based
When it comes to hair systems, you might find it difficult to decide what the best adhesive is.
It’s all about preference, but there are some distinctions between the two that might help you to make your decision.
Solvent-based adhesives are usually clear in color and provide a longer wear time.
Water-based adhesives are white in color and tend to be gentler on skin with long-term use.
When choosing between the two, you should take into account whether you’re looking for long-term or short-term use.
As glue on hair can damage the scalp, it’s also important that you carry out your research before selecting one.
Forceful Removal of Wig, Extensions, or Hair System After Use
The removal can be quite difficult for some people, especially if you had incorrectly placed hair extensions in the first place.
Often, a solution is needed to dissolve the glue and make it easier to remove the hair.
However, the removal process can lead to hair being trapped or pulled out harshly.
This can lead to bald spots. It’s best to get them removed professionally rather than attempt to do it by yourself at home.
Symptoms to Look Out For
Can glue on hair damage the scalp and lead to permanent problems? Yes, it definitely can. That’s why you need to look out for these key signs.
An itchy scalp should never be ignored as it’s often a sign of a continuous problem that needs to be corrected.
It’s not uncommon to experience itching that’s caused by a build-up of bacteria, irritation or sensitivity to the glue itself, or the fabric of the wig.
There are remedies to relieve an itchy scalp, but first, you need to get to the root cause. This involves closer inspection of the scalp.
Itching and soreness often go hand in hand, especially if the itching is so severe that it’s causing you to scratch it roughly with your fingernails.
You might notice red splotches and your scalp will most likely be tender and inflamed.
If that’s the case, it’s likely that you’re having a reaction the hair glue itself. It’s therefore recommended that you seek help and advice immediately.
Sometimes, hair extensions can be too heavy and placed too close to the roots. This can result in pressure on the scalp.
This can also be a sign of an allergic reaction, so be sure to take this seriously and seek advice from your doctor.
If you wear heavy and long extensions, it can pull on the scalp and result in thinning and bald spots.
Unfortunately, many types of hair glue can damage hair follicles. This creates significant irritation and pressure to the scalp.
Any bald areas or hair loss should be taken seriously to avoid any long-lasting damage.
Bumps or Swelling
Any bumps or swelling would be enough to indicate that you are experiencing a severe allergic reaction to the glue.
You should therefore remove the source immediately.
None of the above symptoms are considered to be normal and never assume that this is your scalp adjusting.
Hair glue reactions are very common and they can result in permanent damage.
It’s therefore always best to do your research beforehand to ensure you are choosing a product that is less likely to cause you any harm.
How To Prevent Glue From Damaging The Scalp
Even though glue on hair can damage the scalp, there are ways that you can minimize your exposure to it and avoid any permanent damage.
1. Patch Test For Allergies
One of the best ways you can protect yourself is to carry out a patch test, just like you would do with hair dye.
This involves placing a small amount of the adhesive on an area of your skin that is most likely to be sensitive and cover it up with a band-aid.
The following day it’s advised that you remove the band-aid and check for any signs of a reaction such as redness, bumps, or swelling.
2. Be Responsible
– Don’t wear it for too long
There are certain things to avoid when wearing wigs, but it’s especially important that you do not leave synthetic hair on for longer than a week at a time.
This is to allow the scalp to breathe. It’s harder to clean the scalp and this can cause a build-up of bacteria and hair products.
That’s why it’s always best to take breaks in between wearing them.
– Avoid glue on large parts of the scalp/hair
It’s important to not apply glue all over the hair and scalp, as this can lead to irritation and damage.
Try to apply the glue directly below the hairline or use a scalp protector.
This creates a barrier between your skin and the adhesive. This also minimises any irritation caused to the scalp.
– Don’t pull or rip off glue
It might seem like an obvious suggestion, but it’s important to remove the glue with an adhesive remover rather than trying to pull or rip it off.
This ensures that the glue is completely dissolved, making it easier and safer for you to remove the wig without causing trauma to the scalp.
3. Consider Short Term Vs Long Term Adhesive/Glue
Short-term glues are easier to apply, can be washed off with water, and can be removed and applied daily.
However, if you prefer long-term wear, then you may want to consider a long-term adhesive that allows for a secure hold that lasts for over a week and doesn’t require a reapplication every day.
4. Proper Application of Glue
Many people experience issues when attempting to reattach their hair system as it needs to be aligned correctly.
Incorrect alignment and poorly fitted extensions can cause sensitivity to the scalp.
It’s therefore important that you seek the help of a professional if you are unsure.
With the correct application, you won’t need to worry about any lasting damage to the scalp.
5. Use Soothing Products
- Anti-bacterial Shampoo
- Use adhesive remover
- Oil serum
- Conditioning mask
- Heat protecting spray
6. Use A Scalp Protector
A scalp protector is highly recommended when applying an adhesive as it creates a barrier that protects the skin from damage and irritation.
This will help you achieve a strong and secure bond and provide you with the comfort that you desperately need with long-term wear.
7. Use Bonding Tape Instead of Glue
Glue is less detectable than tape and can be easier to apply, but that doesn’t always make it the best option.
In the case that your scalp has become sore or sensitive due to the hair system, it might be preferable to tape the hair down rather than reapplying the adhesive to your scalp.
This is a better option for those who have an irritated scalp that is sensitive to many adhesives on the market.
If this isn’t possible, then you should at least let your scalp heal completely before re-attaching the hair system in order to prevent any long-term damage.
8. Clean Your Wig/Extensions/Hair System Regularly
Always make sure to brush and detangle the hair first to prevent damage.
Once they are tangle-free, make sure you are using a gentle shampoo that doesn’t contain sulfates or other strong chemicals.
Follow this up with a mild conditioner that should be left on for at least 10 minutes, before being washed out completely.
It’s best to allow your wig, extensions, or hair system to air dry to avoid any damage.
But if you must blow-dry, then ensure you are using a heat-protecting spray beforehand.
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Coralle is an experienced beauty writer with a passion for wellness, women’s health, and sustainability.