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What is a Cranial Hair Prosthesis (Wig)

A cranial hair prosthesis is a hair system designed specifically for those suffering from hair loss due to medical conditions. A prosthesis contains a combination of fabrics and compounds that are used to re-create natural hair growth patterns and the look of the scalp. All materials in the prostheses are treated to resist dirt, oils and body acids while providing maximum comfort.

Cranial hair prostheses are different than department store wigs in quality, performance and service. Prostheses are made with specialized material – sensitive to the needs of the individual. They come in a variety of styles and colors. The fit is adjustable to each person’s size, and is also custom cut and styled. A department store wig has set a style – what you see is what you get. Often, they don’t fit correctly and have a heavy, fuller appearance.

Service plays an important role when selecting a hair prosthesis. Wigs ordered through the mail can sometimes be a guessing game in dealing with color. Styling it yourself may also be difficult. A studio that specializes in hair loss and offers hair replacements, has professional technicians who have been trained and educated in working with prosthesis. They can design the perfect cranial hair prosthesis for an individual and have the knowledge and skills for cutting and styling a hair system as well.

When looking for hair loss options, you need to decide what will best lit your needs. Whether you decide on wearing hats or turbans, integrations or a hair prosthesis, consulting with a professional will give you the most answers to your questions.

Available options for hair loss

There are variations on the types of styles, but basically three categories of hair prostheses are available:
1. Machine-Made
2. Hand-tied Pre-Designed
3. Full Custom

1. A Machine-Made prosthesis is a cap constructed of smooth elastic wefting or woven material, on which the hair is sewn into. This type of prosthesis can accommodate those with existing hair whether thin, Machine-Made fine, or patchy, because of its overall coverage and the ability of the cap to stretch to fit one’s head. But with this cost effective prosthesis, there are limitations in quality. (Many department stores and mail-order wigs are machine made.)

2. Hand-tied Pre-Designed systems have a durable, comfortable base with 3-5 strands of hair per knot, hand-tied very close together. With hand-tied prostheses, the style of the hair is more controlled Hand-Tied Pre-Designed and less bulky. This creates the natural look of the hair and provides for a better and more comfortable fit. Its construction also allows for a variety of styles, and the choice of colors offers a more blended appearance.

3. A prosthesis that is Full Custom is made from specific measurements taken by a hair professional. A custom mold can be made of the head to duplicate one’s shape and contour for a precise fit. These systems allow for many options including: size, colon and materials which can all be altered to fit a specific need. Because of its overall versatility, there are many styling alternatives.

After a decision is made on the type of system, it must then be properly secured. Most wigs and prosthesis come with an adjustable elastic band, and for more security there is liquid medical adhesive and specialized tapes (clips are also available). When working one-on-one with a professional you can decide on which to use, a combination of, or none at all – it just depends on one’s preference, hair loss and security needs.

How long a prosthesis will last depends on a number of variables: a person’s lifestyle, occupation, their activities and if it is properly cared for. A hair professional will provide instructions on how to get the most wear and the very best look possible along with the proper products to use. Hand-tied prostheses are usually more durable than machine-made wefts.

There is also the question of cost, which is determined by the specifications of the system: size, attachment methods, materials used in the design, service, etc. The price range depends on how personalized the prosthesis…the more customized, the more the style will take on your appearance, and the more it will cost. Once an individual’s needs are discussed, the correct system can be suggested and other additions to the prosthesis can be added.

Headbands
If you want a quick change to your look, headbands with hair attached can be worn. Constructed like the machine-made weft, they offer the comfort of a pre-designed system. This alternative has an attached band that replaces the hairline area for a snug fit It offers you comfort, convenience and a fashionable look at the lower end of the price range.

Headwear
It’s not just a cover-up any longer, now there are many different ways to show one’s style. Turbans, hats, scarves and headbands with or without (bangs) offer many Turban looks. Most are made with comfortable material for sensitive scalps and come in a variety of colors and designs. Another option to utilize with headwear is bangs. Some are designed as frontal bangs while others can be adjusted and worn around the nape area of the neck. The use of bangs helps to soften facial features. Also available is a hair fringe which extends around the perimeter of the head. It offers more hair to be seen when wearing a turban or hat.

Partials
Parlials are for those that have extreme hair loss in a specific area – such as from cranial surgery or burns. They are designed in various sizes and are offered in many base materials and colors just as lop-of-head hair systems. High quality partials are available through hair replacement salons, while lower quality wiglets are found in department stores and mail-order catalogs.

Hair Integrations
A hair integration blends an individual’s own hair with a system to create fullness, volume or length. It is for individuals with thinning hair or hair loss who want to make the most of their natural hair. An integration is constructed with a cabling system that provides durability and security, while providing a comfortable fit. The system is placed on the head, and your own hair is brushed through the openings in the base – combining the hair integration with your natural growing hair, securing it on the head. If added security is desired, clips or tape adhesives can be used.