The Importance of Donating Hair

Know the requirements of the organization that will accept your hair donation.
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People who undergo hair loss suffer blows to their self-esteem and self-image. Fortunately, people who have long, healthy tresses can choose to donate their hair to help those who are less fortunate. Various organizations accept hair from individuals who want to help out those suffering from short-or long-term hair loss. Find out which type of organization is a match for your donation.

1 How Hair Is Used

When you donate your eligible hair, organizations can use it to make a wig for someone who is suffering hair loss from harsh medical treatments, disease or an accident. Once you donate your hair, the organization prepares it for incorporation into a wig. The completed wigs are donated to wig banks that distribute them to needy individuals at no or low cost. Often, more than one person's donated hair is used in creating each wig. For example, about 150,000 strands of hair are used in each wig created by the Wigs for Kids organization.

2 Short-Term Hair Loss

Short-term hair loss can result from chemotherapy, radiation and some drugs. While the hair will regrow after the treatment ceases, it may take weeks to months before the first hairs appear. For example, according to Breast, after stopping chemotherapy treatment, you can expect to see an inch of hair growth after about two months. While children and adults are waiting to regrow their hair, they can wear a wig made from natural hair, which can help boost their self-esteem and image.

3 Long-Term Hair Loss

Those who suffer long-term hair loss that results from autoimmune disease, such as alopecia areata — which causes hair follicles to stop functioning — or other skin disorders that cause permanent hair loss, can benefit from having a natural-hair wig. Because the person's hair may never grow back to a degree that will allow her to feel confident and attractive, a natural-hair wig can serve as an effective and realistic-looking substitute.

4 What You Need to Know

The organizations that accept hair have strict requirements. Take the time to make sure your hair meets those requirements before donating. For example, some organizations require hair to be a minimum length, not bleached and bundled into a ponytail. Not all organizations will have the same requirements. Research your options before donating to increase the chances that your hair will be used in a wig. Some organizations will accept hair that isn't suitable for wigs — such as gray hair — and sell it to offset manufacturing costs.

Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.