I just heard a story from another doctor of a young girl (let’s call her Shirley) who went to a beauty school to get highlights in her hair. The student beautician put strands of her hair in aluminum foil and “painted” them with a bleach. Shirley’s head was then put under a hot hair dryer. After about 15 minutes she developed severe pain in the crown of her head. The student beautician then pulled the hair dryer away and shampooed Shirley’s hair. Later that night, she noticed swelling in back of the head. Over the next few days the pain got better, but after about a week she saw something horrific happen. As Shirley brushed her hair, part of her scalp peeled off (along with the hair in the brush). The area measured approximately 1 1/2 inches round, and when it eventually healed, it was scarred and incapable of growing hair.
Injuries in beauty parlors are not uncommon, especially chemical burns. I have seen quite a number in my own practice. In most cases the operator who did the damage just didn’t really understand what he or she was doing, and applied bleach and heat together. If Shirley is lucky and the depth of the defect does not go to the skull, then transplants may work just fine (usually the case), but she may require a special type of plastic surgery where a balloon will be placed under the scalp and inflated over a period of time to stretch the scalp. This balloon expander stays in for usually 5-8 weeks, depending upon the size of the scalp defect. The defect in the scalp can then be repaired.
The purpose of this post isn’t to necessarily steer people away from going to beauty schools to get your hair done, but really I want to just remind people that when you go to someone that is still learning about using chemicals on your hair/skin, you could run into major issues. Perhaps this could’ve been avoided with better student supervision — I don’t know, as I wasn’t there — but Shirley put far too much trust in a student and it ended up costing her in the end.