Hair Loss Advice


Wigs and Toupees

To try and overcome the negative connotations that the words "wig" "hairpiece" and "toupee" conjure up in the minds of most men, the salesmen have a new range of names and terms to help sell their products.

Instead of calling their products wigs, we now have "hair extensions", "weaves" or some kind of fancy "system". Some have names like Polystrand , Microweave and Micro system 2000.

In Britain around one and a half million wigs or hair pieces are sold each year, and the industry is worth 150 million annually.

The fact of the matter is that they are all simply wigs: artificial prostheses which are manufactured from either synthetic fibres (such as nylon or acrylic) or from severed human hair.

Often a man who has been wearing a wig for a number of years would love to dispose of it, unfortunately for him it is too big a step psychologically to suddenly just wake up one morning and throw his wig away.

As much as he would love to probably come to terms with his baldness he is not in a position to do so. To suddenly appear in front of all his friends and family with no hair is just too much.

The majority of people can usually associate a wig or a hair piece with several well know celebrities and people in the public eye. These stars who are often the subject of ridicule for wearing a piece may have lots of money and confidence but obviously wearing a wig makes them feel better physiologically, as often the hair pieces are highly visible.

The majority of movie stars often wear wigs in film and these are often of exceedingly high quality and can be undetectable. These wigs are normally made from real hair and are very delicate, making them only really suitable for short term wearing.

On a movie set there is no expense spared to get the right look so money is no object, unlike everyday life.

Listed below is a list of all the different types of wigs with an explanation of each.


Historically wigs are one of the oldest and most well know methods of disguising hair loss. The main difference between the wigs in the 1700's and the wigs of today are their size, styles and some of the ways in which they are attached to the scalp.

The traditional way to attach a wig to the scalp is with tape or glue. The problem is that the wig can come off relatively easy, causing embarrassment in public or humiliation in an intimate setting.

To try to solve the problem wig manufacturers have developed some new and exotic sounding methods of attachment.

Some wigs are firmly held in place by actual wire loops which are surgically stitched into the scalp. While the wig hardly ever falls off, serious infection (not to mention uncleanliness and odour) easily occurs. That's because the holes in the scalp often don't fully heal and close.

Another method of keeping a wig from falling off is "tunnel grafting". Pieces of skin are surgically cut out from behind the ear lobe and then implanted into the scalp to form living loops of skin, that can accept plastic fasteners which are then secured to the wig.

A well fitted wig can almost pass unnoticed. The more noticeable wigs are probably not custom made and are rarely properly colour matched for that individual. Another problem is that the sun can cause the wig to discolour thus making it stand out from the wearers original hair. Peoples hair changes colour as they age which can also cause a problem for a wig wearer.

So unless you can afford a perfect custom made wig, then a wig rarely looks natural and is often obvious to all.

The cost of regular replacement is high and cleanliness can also be a severe problem.

hair loss wigs hairloss
Before and after with a toupee


Toupees are very similar to wigs but generally cover a very much smaller area. The main problems that arise with them are fitting and cleanliness.

Toupees like wigs are usually advertised as very rugged and easy wearing. You will normally see men out swimming and enjoying other sports in the glossy advertisements. The fact is you can actually swim and shower with a wig on, but these activities will quickly cause permanent damage to the toupee. Water will affect the colour and styling. Soap, water salt and chlorine will all shorten the life span of a wig or a toupee.

Wigs are highly visible and extremely delicate. To keep them looking presentable, they must be of high quality, and be maintained with scrupulous care. New wigs can be expensive and it must be remembered that they will have to be replaced on a regular basis. Ideally a person would have three wigs, one for wearing while one is being cleaned and a spare for any catastrophe that may occur.

Hair Weaving

Hair weaving is a technique whereby hair is knotted to an artificial base that is then woven into whatever hair that one may have left on the scalp.

The problem is that the client often experiences additional permanent hair loss from the frequent retying or tightening of the wig. It also means that as your own hair grows the weave will always need re-tightening. This usually needs to be done at least once a month. After about six months a person can begin to lose hair permanently along the stress point where the wig is tied. This is known as traction alopecia.

The initial cost of the weave may seem very reasonable, which is a major selling point, but the real expense comes in the monthly visits to have the weave re-tightened, this will add to the cost considerably if you wear the hair piece for a number of years, it is here that the sales people make their actual money, so give careful consideration to this extra cost involved before carrying on with a fitment.

Artificial Hair Implants

Supposedly this treatment is one of the latest state of the art hair replacement method. When treatment is first carried out the result can look extremely good and quite presentable, unfortunately this does not usually last.

Hair implants are synthetic strands of filament (usually made from acrylic) with a barb at the end, similar to a fishing hook. The strands are inserted into the living tissue of the scalp with the barb hooked into ones head. The scalp is anaesthetised and the fibres are implanted one by one with a needle, which can be done at the rate of 500 implants an hour. This procedure repeated for every strand, can not only be extremely painful, it has been shown to cause serious infections and can cause permanent scarring to the scalp.

The rejection rate with fibre implants is usually quite high, around 25 %, so that they have to be replaced. This often leaves thinning patches on the scalp. After about nine months the implants have a tendency to snap near the base thus leaving tuft of strands on the scalp which look terrible. These broken strands can only be removed surgically and thus leave the scalp scarred for life. This is not a pretty sight and very seldom can anything be done to disguise it.

The cost of such treatment can range from £1000 up to £5000 depending on how much treatment you are having done and what the consultant thinks he can charge.

Artificial hair implants have been banned in America where surgeons can no longer offer this type of treatment. In this country it is still carried out and the initial appearance can look stunning. Beware this does not normally last !

Hair Bonding-Fusion

Similar to hair weaving but slightly more advanced. The difference being new hair, artificial or real, is bonded with a surgical glue to your existing hair and scalp rather than woven. It still has to re-tightened on a regular basis as your own hair grows. Again the initial cost may be comparatively low but you have to continually go back to the clinic to have the hair piece re-glued, its not a procedure you can carry out yourself, so be aware of the extra cost involved in continuous treatment.

Hair Extensions

Hair extensions are woven into you own hair and are a very favoured method of treatment for females but not really suitable for males.

Extensions can give an excellent result but still have to be retightened on a regular basis.

These type hair extensions are extremely effective but are only really suitable for people with a lot of existing hair to start with. This method is very popular with females wanting long flowing tresses of hair that they had only dreamed off.

Artificial Hair Thickeners

This product is for fine or thinning hair. It is usually a lacquer mixed with a fine powder which clings to the hair and makes it look thicker thus hiding the thinning areas. The more it is sprayed the thicker the hair becomes. After it is applied the hair can be combed or styled in the normal way. An application will last until the next time you shampoo your hair.

Artificial hair thickener is suitable for thinning or fine hair, alopecia areata sufferers can find great help with their problem using such sprays and it is particularly good for someone who has had a hair transplant which may need a slight cover up during the initial stages of treatment.

If this type of product is applied with a bit of care then the results can be quite dramatic and can cover up most small bald spots on the crown. The range of colour available means there is one available for most people to try this product.

Hair thickener are not suitable for large areas of baldness and certainly should not be applied directly to the scalp, it needs to be sprayed onto existing hairs to be effective. This type of hair thickening product is very popular with television and theatrical companies as it gives a very good result in a very short time with minimal effort.

The results can look impressive but this type of product should be looked on as a temporary solution only.


As you can see there are a variety of ways that the scalp can be covered up without any surgical treatment taking place.

These solutions may not be suitable for everyone. No two people are the same and what works for one person is not necessary suitable for the next person.

Try all the options first. Make sure you see samples of wigs on actual people, not photographs.