NORFOLK - A few years ago, super model Naomi Campbell ruled the runway with her slim muscular figure, flowing locks and trademark bangs. She still has a super figure, but last year the paparazzi caught on camera a problem hidden behind her bangs -- traction alopecia, a condition that's erased several inches of her hairline.
With the popularity of cornrows, hair weaves and hair extensions, doctors are seeing an increase in the number of women and young girls with bald spots.
Virginia Beach dermatologist Dr. Fred Quarles has a number of patients, mostly black women, with traction alopecia. They turn to him for a solution, but often it's too late.
'It's almost as bad as telling someone they have terminal cancer,' said Quarles, in describing having to tell new patients their hair loss is permanent.
Th disorder is caused when hair follicles are damaged by constant pulling or tension over a long period of time.
Theonly fix is a transplant, whichrequires removing healthyhair plugsfrom thehead and transplanting them tothe scarredhairline. That can cost about $4,000, according to Dr.Quarles.
Concerned about the increase in alopecia cases, Consumer Reports issued a warningsaying these beauty shortcuts should be avoided.
Actress JenniferAniston recently complainedshe lost hair after using extensions. They're widely used in show businessto give the stars a full andglamorous look.
Closer to home, Miss Virginia USA contestant Amanda Jones told ABCNews her hair weave caused her pain, bleeding and hair loss.
At the Beauty Parlor in Norfolk, owner Quincy Brown says with proper installation and care, customers can have a weave and their hairline too. Brown says weaves and extensions should be replaced every six weeks.In addition,braids used to anchor extensions should not be tight enough to cause pustular lesions. Brown adds that proper cleansing and conditioning will keep natural hair healthy.