This blog is a guest piece by Tiara Willis. Known online as MakeupForWOC,Tiara is a talented make-up artist and licensed Esthetician based in New York and like her username suggests, offers daily beauty content tailored to women of colour. Her beauty tips and knowledge have helped her build a community of over 390k beauty lovers across Twitter and Instagram. Through this post she's sharing some thoughts on the dark side of wig glue–primarily skincare issues that can be caused by wig glue and how to resolve them.
Image | Tiara Willis - MakeupForWOC
Wigs act as a great protective style and allow for freedom to try different looks without damaging your natural hair. One of the most common ways to install wigs, lace frontals and closures is using wig glue. On social media, you’ll see wig glue advertised as the best and only way to have a secure install. In order to prep the skin for the glue, it’s often advised to use alcohol on the perimeter of your skin in order to have the best results. What you don't see promoted is the many people who have faced adverse reactions when using wig glue and alcohol excessively. This is one dark side of wig glue.
Influencers like Mariam Musa are popular for serving us amazing looks with her wigs. Behind the scenes however, she was experiencing hyperpigmentation on the perimeter of her face from continually installing her wigs with glue and regularly using alcohol around her hairline and forehead.
1. ACNE BREAKOUTS
The ingredients in hair glue may clog pores or irritate your skin leading to breakouts. If you haven't cleaned the perimeter of your face for a long time in an effort to extend your hair install, you may experience breakouts due to product, sebum (natural skin oils) and dirt build up.
Many wig glues contain latex which some may be allergic to. It’s always best to patch test new products on for 24-48 hours either near your ear or on your forearm.
Many glues also contain fragrance to either enhance user experience or to mask the smell of other ingredients. Fragrance is the number one cause of contact dermatitis, so if you’re someone who consistently deals with inflammatory skin
conditions (acne, eczema, dermatitis, etc.), it may be best to avoid. Patch testing as above and using smaller quantities can also help prevent adverse reactions.
4. MIXING WITH THE WRONG SKINCARE
Using skincare products with strong active ingredients in combination with preparation and removal of wig glue using isopropyl alcohol. The purpose of using alcohol is to degrease the skin (remove oils) in order for the wig glue to adhere better to the skin. Unfortunately, constant use of this can irritate and dry the skin. In combination with skincare products, it can be a recipe for inflammation.
5. PRODUCT PENETRATION
Alcohol acts as a penetration enhancer which can push the glue further into the skin.
HOW TO PREVENT AND TREAT ADVERSE REACTIONS
1. If you’ve experienced a negative reaction from wig glue, it is best to discontinue use of the product and seek glue-free alternatives such as the Wig Fix. The Wig Fix is a specially engineered, silicone gripper that secures your wig without any glue or gel. The silicone design is comfortable to wear and increases blood flow.
Image | The Wig Fix
2. Consult a dermatologist if able for a proper diagnosis. You may be prescribed topical steroids or oral antibiotics depending on the reaction.
3. Stop using active ingredients where you applied the wig glue and wait until the area has healed. This includes exfoliants, benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, vitamin c or hydroquinone.
4. Incorporate more anti-inflammatory ingredients such as centella asiastica, colloidal oatmeal, green tea, Chinese rhubarb root, ginseng, epidermal growth factor, thermal spring water, arnica or aloe.
5. Switch to a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin of its natural oils. Your skin should feel soft and supple after cleansing, not tight, dry or itchy.
6. If you experienced acne breakouts, spot treat with sulfur which is antibacterial and cold roll using a stainless steel face roller for one minute, twice a day.
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7. Cleanse the perimeter of your face every night. This will prevent any product buildup that may lead to acne breakouts.
8. If you're a die-hard fan of wig glue, you don't necessarily have to completely discontinue your use of them. Applying less glue and taking a break from glued wigs can make a big difference to your skin and hair health. Try applying your glue with a rat tail comb or Q-Tip helps prevent using an excessive amount of product It is also much easier to take off when less product is used.