Newsletter June -2016

What Makes A Medical Wig

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month we wanted to do a special feature on medical wigs. The American Cancer Society has estimated that in the US alone there will be 1,658,370 new cases of cancer, and 234,190 of those estimated cases are to be breast cancer. Sadly, the probability of having a client or customer who develops cancer is high. This month we wanted to bring you an introduction to what you should know and expect to make your clients and customers’ time easier should they find themselves getting bad news. explains, “Hair loss occurs because chemotherapy targets all rapidly dividing cells—healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Hair follicles, the structures in the skin filled with tiny blood vessels that make hair, are some of the fastest-growing cells in the body. If you’re not in cancer treatment, your hair follicles divide every 23 to 72 hours. But as the chemo does its work against cancer cells, it also destroys hair cells. Within a few weeks of starting chemo, you may lose some or all of your hair.” Hair loss continues for the duration, and then for a short period after treatment via chemotherapy. It can also occur due to other treatments such as radiation and some medications and many women, and men, turn to medical wigs.
The decision to wear a wig after losing hair during cancer treatment is incredibly personal. Regardless of whether you or your client chooses to rock a wig or a bare head, here’s what you should know about medical wigs, also known as cranial prosthesis, or hair prosthesis.  
While as of yet there is not an FDA established guideline, the BBIM Research Institute has established a set of guidelines for what makes a wig medical grade. BBIM has been offering wig making and trichology courses for cosmetologists as well as producing textbooks for beauty consultants that we expect will help establish industry standards. For one, the hair must be of a higher quality and can not be plastic based polypropylene, to prevent any allergic reactions. The other issue is that polypropylene does not meet the FDA guidelines established under the Flammable Fiber act, making it a safety hazard. 
Second, there must be a soft lining to protect the sensitive scalp, which must be breathable. For most people who wear fashion wigs, there is hair covering the scalp that acts as a cushion to both prevent irritation and to make wear more comfortable. For people wearing a wig for hair loss reasons, there must be additional protection; in some cases this means velvet or other soft fabric edgings. Because the scalp of those needing medical wigs is often more sensitive, the cap has to be more comfortable and contact points can not cause irritation. Along with being soft, the wig cap should also be breathable. In most cases an entirely monofilament cap is optimal as it is both soft and provides the best breathability.  
This leads into the third point in that there should be a medical grade polyurethane or silicon strip. The silicone or urethane is used as the anchor point for medical grade double sided tape, such as vapon, and creates a secure, suctioned fit. In addition the strip, being more comfortable than alternative attachment methods like elastic or clips, is far more secure.
Fourth, the wig must be altered to a variety of sizes and in a different way than traditional wigs. With most traditional wigs there are clips and hooks with elastic straps for size adjustment. For people with sensitive scalp, these may cause irritation as they stick out from the cap and can poke into the skin. In many medical wigs there is a velcro based soft fabric lined adjustable strap that allows for precise and comfortable adjustment. The elastic is another issue; if it’s too tight it will cause discomfort because of the tension. If it’s too loose there is nothing else for it to grip to and it can slide around. The best way to ensure perfect fit is simply to alter it by hand with cutting and sewing. If you have basic wig alteration skills many of these changes can be made in the salon or store. In fact, most wigs, even when they’re medical grade, are likely to need at least minor adjustment for size and comfort.  
The condition of the scalp and the severity of the hair loss makes a huge difference in what a customer will need. While some forums for cancer patients do note that synthetic wigs are an option for everyday use, others stress the importance of higher quality medically specific hairpieces. What it may come down to is whether or not a customer’s insurance will cover a hairpiece. When given a prescription for a medical wig, or a cranial prosthesis, the options are made much greater and a more specific medical grade wig can be purchased. However, not all insurance companies cover these, and a client may have to do some groundwork to see if they can get reimbursed.
If a wig is out of the question because of price, there are several foundations that will help women acquire wigs. The American Cancer Society collects and cleans wigs to give away through their wig banks across the country. Cancer Care, The Breast Cancer Network for Strength, and The Canadian Cancer Society also offer wigs for those who need them.
One of the many things to consider when looking for a medical wig is that, depending on your needs, you may find great options that are not specifically medical. We spoke with a member of the team at Estetica Designs to ask about their wigs which are often used for medical purposes. “We’re not necessarily a company that’s founded on medical wigs,” Grace Chung, explained, noting that their main focus was on making a product that was both “beautiful and comfortable.” Grace noted that a significant portion of their sales come from women buying wigs for medical purposes. Part of what makes Estetica’s collection a great option is that they make wigs with very comfortable, soft caps that won’t irritate sensitive skin. One of the big reasons women chose their line, as Grace informed us, was that they were able to find styles and colors similar to their own.  
Unfortunately, the odds are that at some point in your career you’re going to have a client that develops cancer. Over a million new cases are diagnosed every year and until we manage to find a solution there will be those who have to deal with it. What we can do is make sure that we all are more aware and more conscientious. As a hairstylist having a basic knowledge of what happens, at least to the hair, can help you help your clients in a more informed and compassionate way.

  1. Before Chemo
Although not everyone loses hair as a result of cancer treatment, it is common; about two weeks after starting chemotherapy hair loss begins to occur. Because of this there are several things you’ll want to consider. First, transitioning to a shorter hair cut. That way when hair loss begins it’s less traumatic. Second, having a wig prepared. Most sources suggest getting a wig early; that way you can have it ready (when you need it). If the wig is purchased while the person still has most of her/his own hair, it can be matched to style and color. As a stylist you may want to pick up some information on where to purchase a wig locally and have an idea of how to care for and style wigs.
 Picking a wig early also means that the style and color can be better matched to the hair the client already has. Although a direct match is often preferred, many note that picking a slightly lighter shade in a shorter cut is a good idea. Chemo often causes the skin to become paler so a lighter color can help combat the difference.  

  1. During Chemo
If your client doesn’t lose their hair you’ll need to know a few things before you go into styling. It’s highly recommended that people undergoing chemo not use any chemical treatments on their hair during chemo sessions. This is because not only is the hair delicate, but the treatment alters the hair and makes chemical processing take differently. Some parts of the hair may take the treatment well, and others may not take it at all. The hair and scalp may also be very sensitive to heat and touch, so make sure to check in if you’re shampooing a client’s hair.
If you’ve helped a client pick a wig and have helped them with the basics of everyday styling and wig maintenance, you may still find yourself helping them keep it looking its best. If your client is unsure or unfamiliar with wig care you may offer to help with upkeep! A bonus here is that if your client is usually a regular, keeping up their routine in this manner may help them maintain a sense of normalcy.   

  1. After Chemo

Hair begins to grow back once treatments are ended. For some it takes a while to grow hair whereas for others, it starts growing quickly. Regardless, there are some things you still need to know. Although the hair has returned you should wait at least six months before doing any chemical treatments. This is because the hair follicles are still very delicate. This first hair growth is often a completely different color and curl pattern from the person’s usual and is often known as ‘Chemo Curls.’
If your client’s wig is still in good condition after the hair returns, suggest that they donate it! Many of the organizations and individual hospitals that help cancer patients are always looking for wigs for their clients.

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Resurfacing of Relaxers?

The Comeback of Natural Ingredient Relaxers and Its Effect on Beauty Retailers and Salons

Decrease or Increase in Relaxer Sales?

The natural hair movement has freed many black women from years of chemical and heat abuse and has changed their consumption pattern in the hair product category. Instead of getting their hair straightened with relaxers, women who embrace their natural hair buy more hair styling products to define curls. Subsequently, relaxers, which used to be the number one seller at beauty supply stores, stepped down to the second largest in hair product sales. According to the Mintel’s 2015 report, the sales of relaxers dropped 18.6% between 2013 and 2015, whereas the sales of hair styling products increased exponentially by 26.8%. Mintel anticipates relaxers will lose second place soon. However, beauty retailers told a different story; they see a slight increase in the relaxer sales. It’s apparent that overall relaxer sales decreased but more customers come to stores to get natural relaxers.

Emily Hyun, Vice President of Ben’s Beauty, a multi-cultural beauty supply distributor, also confirmed the sales increase in relaxers. Hyun said, “The relaxer sales definitely dropped for the past few years, but chemical companies have improved relaxers by adding natural ingredients. They also changed the packaging and reduced harsh chemicals to change the negative image of relaxers. As a result, the sales of relaxers picked up lately.” To satisfy more health conscious consumers, chemical companies have released newly developed relaxers that contain natural ingredients, and those natural relaxers improved the overall relaxer sales. Then why is Mintel’s report different from what beauty retailers reportedly currently experience? Mintel released this report based on the sales data from big grocery chains and drugstores but missed important sales data from beauty supply stores. Mintel admits in its report that the data from beauty supply stores is missing and the final result might not be accurate for this reason. Without data from beauty supply stores, Mintel’s forecast on relaxers cannot be 100% accurate.

Relaxer Effect and Opportunities

Relaxers have been loved for straightening hair and convenience; women with relaxed hair can shampoo freely and need less time to style their hair. The downside of relaxers is that regular use of relaxers damages hair and a long period of resting time in-between relaxers is needed. Hair extensions are a great alternative to relaxers in the resting period. For consumers who are accustomed to relaxed hair, it’s not easy to grow natural hair in their resting period so they choose to use human hair extensions. If customers, who sought big chain stores for chemicals and online for human hair extensions, come back to beauty supply stores for natural relaxers, it will be a good opportunity for stores to recommend quality brand weaving hair. If beauty supply stores wisely use this correlation between relaxers and hair extensions, the sales for both items will be boosted.

The change in the relaxer market brought a new opportunity to salons as well. Vegan and natural ingredients in relaxers help women embrace relaxed, straight hair again, and this change is definitely a plus for salons because many natural, high quality hair-straightening products are available on
ly at certified salons. For example Zerran Reform 2.0, a 100% vegan retexturizing system, requires high heat to straighten hair, and only certified stylists can perform this service. With the rise of natural relaxers and texturizers, some argue that harmful chemicals are still used in them. Though it is true that natural relaxers and texturizers contain chemicals, frequent use of heating tools such as flat irons might damage hair more. Even braids, an option for people who choose to keep their hair natural, can cause traction alopecia by pulling hair strands excessively. With gentler vegetable based relaxers and better consumer education, relaxers may be a healthier choice.

CosmoBiz Salon - June 2016



Newsletter May -2016

Hair Loss Among African American Women with Yvonne Solomon

Hair loss is a common hair problem people face due to many causes such as age, genes, stress, drugs, burns, medical conditions, and etc. But among African American women, tight hairstyles and frequent chemical treatment processing of the hair such as relaxers are some of the main causes of hair loss. We looked to hair and scalp expert Yvonne Solomon to ask questions about hair loss among African American women and brought you her tips on how women can avoid such hair problems.

Yvonne Solomon is a certified Trichologist and owner of YS Hair Solutions in Cartersville, GA. She is a certified Medical Hair Loss Specialist, Laser Retailer/Trainer, Mastectomy Breast Fitter, Certified Herbalist as well as a Workshop Leader and Educator. She has served as Stylist Coordinator for The American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better Program and as an Ambassador for The National Hair Society.

 What are the most common problems African American women experience with their hair and/or scalp?

The main hair loss problem African American women face is the one all American women face, AndroGenetic Alopecia. For African American women, though, there is a longer delay in seeking treatment. And this is for a number of reasons.

Back in 2013 I traveled to Australia to continue my studies. And it was clearly different. Clients came in much earlier in the process. And many of the clients were referred by their doctors. I don’t know what it means, but clearly there is a mutual respect between doctors and Trichologists. At least a third of the clients we saw during the week had been referred by their doctors.

To me, that spoke volumes about the level of respect that people in Australia have for the practice of Trichology. And even though I didn’t see any African American women while there, I saw women and men seeking help for their hair loss in much earlier stages of hair loss.

Sad to say, by the time many African American women seek help for their hair loss, it is almost too late. And I don’t know the reason for that. If I could offer one piece of advice to African American women about their hair loss, It would be: “Get help as soon as you are aware of a problem.” And to their stylist I would say, “If you see a problem don’t ignore it.”

Another common problem I see is diffuse thinning and hair loss due to damage to the hair and scalp.

 How many African American women experience hair loss and what are the common causes?

As far as numbers go, it’s estimated that 40% of women will experience hair loss by age 50. That means that over 10 million African American women are dealing with hair loss.

What can African American women do to prevent hair loss?

Taking good care of their hair is number one. Keep hair clear and conditioned, eat a balanced diet, get good rest, and learn how to select a style that will not cause excessive damage to hair and scalp. Hair growth occurs in a cycle, so it’s normal for loss to happen; it’s part of the process. The problem happens when the loss becomes excessive.

What treatments does your company, YS Hair Solutions, offer for hair loss solutions?

The most important thing we do at YS Hair Solutions is to determine the state and rate of the hair loss. Our consultations are designed to identify the type of hair loss and the underlying cause. It’s impossible to help someone if we don’t know what we are dealing with. It would be like going to a doctor who only prescribed antibiotics. While antibiotics serve a purpose, you wouldn’t prescribe them for a broken arm.

What is Trichology? How does Trichology work?

Trichology is the scientific study of the hair and scalp. It’s important to remember that the head is attached to the body, and all of the body’s systems can affect how the hair grows and responds to chemicals, medications, and nutrition. As trichologists it’s our job to understand how all of these factors affect the hair growth cycle. And when needed, where to refer a client to get care that the Trichologist is not trained to give.

 What should a client expect during a Trichology session at YS Hair Solutions?

Expectations, it’s important to manage them. But at YS Hair Solutions we create an environment that protects each client’s dignity and privacy. We are sensitive to the emotional toll hair loss can cause. In an effort to get a good picture of what’s going on, we take a medical history, lifestyle analysis, nutritional assessment, and microscopic observation of the hair and scalp. Sometimes we may have to do additional research to compare photos to information on file.

Our goal is always to help clients understand why they’ve lost hair and what if anything can be done to slow or stop the loss. And if there is nothing we can do about the loss, we provide non-surgical hair replacement options when possible. Our consultations are 60 to 90 minutes.

As for our treatments, they include: Scalp Exfoliation, Scalp stimulation, Cell regeneration, and Low Level Laser light Therapy, Stem Cell Therapy/with Growth factors, Topical solutions and essential oils for the scalp. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy/ with Hyaluronic acid.

Body System and Lifestyle Balancing using Nutritional Coaching as well as Non-Surgical Hair replacement.

These are some of the services we offer to our clients with hair and scalp problems. But the most valuable service we offer, is an accurate assessment of the hair loss.

Andeogenetic Alopecia – a common form of hair loss in both men and women. In women, this form of hair loss is associated with an increased risk of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is characterized by a hormonal imbalance that can lead to irregular menstruation, acne, excess hair elsewhere on the body (hirsutism), and weight gain.

CosmoBiz Salon - February 2016


Earlier this year, Buzzfeed reported a story about a mother of two who had a stroke after visiting a beauty salon in 2014. An artery in her neck had apparently been damaged after sitting in the shampoo chair at an awkward angle, at least that’s what she and her lawyers claimed in the lawsuit she filed against the San Diego salon in 2015. According to the article, this doesn’t just happen at one salon in San Diego. Apparently, there’s a term for this type of incident in the medical community: beauty parlor stroke.

Of course, it’s not an actual scientific term, but it happens often enough that there’s a colloquial name for it. So is this something that salons should be concerned about? We dug into a little deeper, and it seems that the answer is yes, but don’t throw out all your shampoo bowls just yet.

Elizabeth Smith, the woman who filed a lawsuit against Blowbunny: Blow Dry and Hair Extension Bar, had multiple doctors confirm that her visit to the salon was what caused the symptoms she later experienced: “I had weakness in my left arm and leg,” Smith told BuzzFeed. “I just didn’t feel right. I was standing up to point, and I couldn’t stand.” She also had symptoms about six days later, nausea and projectile vomiting. Other symptoms of a stroke can include loss of a use of a limb, weakness on one side of the body, drooping face, and loss of vision.

The reason this can happen when reclining in the shampoo chair is vertebrae in the neck can become overextended. This can put pressure on or cut an artery. In Smith’s case, a clot began to form due to the way she was arching her neck, and this is what caused her stroke. Essentially, blood flow is cut off to the brain.

“In older people, neck motion beyond a certain degree can be extremely dangerous, particularly hyperextension and rotation,” Dr. Weintraub, chief of neurology at Phelps Memorial Hospital in North Tarrytown, N.Y, told the New York Times in 1993. They published an article revealing the results of a study he’d done on this very scenario. His study looked at five women between the ages of 54 and 84 who developed serious neurological symptoms requiring hospitalization after shampoos at beauty parlors. 
“When one of those cervical arteries is damaged in some sort of way, you can get what’s called a dissection, which is damage of the inside of the blood vessel, leading to abnormal flow and clotting, and then those clots can shoot north into the brain and cause a stroke,” said Steven R. Zeiler, M.D., Ph.D., head of stroke research at Johns Hopkins.

The doctors say that the same condition has been known to be caused by certain chiropractic movements of the neck, as well as sitting in a dentist’s chair, and it’s even been seen in mechanics who hold the wrong position while working underneath a car, so it’s not unique to the salon. It’s just one place where the recipe for a stroke just might be right. It’s important to note, however, that this is actually a very rare occurrence. It can happen, but it’s not likely, and older people are the ones at a much higher risk.

How to avoid strokes in your salon:

In order to avoid this situation, make sure to take special care of older clients. Dr. Weintraub recommends that the “neck not be arched backward or twisted more than 15 degrees, particularly if the person has problems with arthritis in the neck or circulation to the brain.” Consider shampooing elderly clients in a different position or with enough towels stacked under the neck to eliminate any arch. We suggest consulting a local doctor to ask his or her advice about what you can do to prevent this scenario from happening. Also, consider investing in at least one or two ergonomically shaped bowls that will keep client’s necks lifted to a safe level.

CosmoBiz Salon - May 2016.

Senior Wednesdays
Come in on Wednesdays for the Senior Special. Receive a Wash, Blow, and Style for just $35 only!   
  • Ages 60 and over
  • 5% discount for additional services
Please note that our salon is wheel chair accessible.
147 East Foothill Blvd.MonroviaCA91016United States
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