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To many, lace front wigs are a convenient way to get that long, flowing head of hair that is nearly impossible for most black women to achieve even with relaxers. For a generation of women brought up on Barbie, and now Beyonce, the idea that “down your back” tresses are the epitome of feminine has led to the lace front wig as the ultimate tool to achieve this look. Nearly chemical-free and versatile, the lace front comes in many styles and simply has to be glued on to get the glamour of a star. But a new “PSA”-style viral video is calling on all women who have adopted this trend to rethink the slap-on weave. reports:

A tongue-in-cheek “anti-lace front” video has gone viral on YouTube and social networking sites. As of Thursday, the video, featuring a group of African-American women, was viewed nearly 40,000 times on YouTube.

The video called, “Anti-Lace Front PSA”, rallies women to take the lace off. Its commentary says “there’s nothing wrong with letting your naps show” and urges women to save “one scalp at a time” until “every real hairline is revealed.”

But with so many high-profile celebrities wearing hair extensions, black women are keen to get the “good hair” look. It is, for example, well-known that the likes of Beyoncé, Tyra Banks and Kelly Rowland, all wear extensions or weaves.

The problem is not everyone has the hard-earned cash to get hair done to Tyra’s immaculate standard. Badly fitted lace weaves are a walking disaster.

There is even anecdotal evidence, hair extensions, including lace weaves, damage the hairline and weaken afro-hair, especially if the glue is improperly applied.

Others say if wigs and hair caps are tight with unbreathable fabric, the friction of it rubbing against hair will damage the hairline.

Photographs have even surfaced on the Internet of Naomi Campbell’s (a self-confessed hair-extension addict) receding hairline.

Naomi, like many black women suffers from Traction Alopecia — hair loss caused by constant pulling and tension from weaves and/or chemical damage.

But it seems many African-American women will go to any length to wear “straight hair” even if it costs them their own natural hair.

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Naomi Campbell is not the only woman suffering from Traction Alopecia, and going bald because of it. A recent study showed that a staggering 59% of black women in a sample suffered from some form of Traction Alopecia, which occurs when one’s hair follicles are permanently damaged by hairstyles that pull and tug on the hair in the same pattern over many years. Black hair care experts state that one can wear braids and weaves without damage being done to the scalp, but much care must be taken with the hair, and one must switch up one’s styles to prevent permanent damage. It stands to reason that a similar litmus test applies to the use of lace front wigs.

The application of lace front wigs involves exposing hair follicles to the chemicals in glue, sometimes shaving down the hairline, and often long periods of time when the scalp is not cleaned thoroughly, all of which will have a long-range impact on scalp health. Given all these variables, it is more likely the mis-suse of lace front wigs over time that can lead to hair damage, rather than the wigs themselves. Any style that involves covering your scalp, using chemicals, adding hair — done again and again over years in exactly the same pattern — will likely lead to Traction Alopecia, no matter what the style is.

For these reasons, my stylist for instance insists that I change my styles regularly, and do a “rest style” every few months, like a two strand twist with my own hair or a sew in weave over cornrows — kept in no longer than three months. Even the “rest” weave is checked after six weeks for pulling or potential stress areas on the scalp. How many black women take these precautions?

It’s great that the makers of this PSA and The Grio want to warn black women of the dangers of lace front wigs (while making us laugh), but these dangers apply to any style that stresses the scalp and is constantly repeated. Rather than create alarm about this particular style, it is more important to create better awareness of the healthy treatment of black hair. This will go much further to ending the scalp damage 59% of black women are enduring.

The PSA’s message about pride in “showing your naps” is so complicated, it deserves a separate commentary of it’s own. (A thorough exploration could fill a 1,000 page volume.) I for one wear styles that show my naps AND at other times the “Barbie” flowing locks. Unlike the message promoted in the video below, one look does not exclude the enjoyment of the other. Nor does enjoyment of a Beyonce-weave mean you are ashamed of your afro hair.

You just want to wear the weave styles in a way that preserves your hair health.

Do you find this video funny, informative, or just alarmist? Leave your comments below!

Alexis Garrett Stodghill is the senior editor of Follow her on Twitter: @lexisb

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