Some people are comfortable with their appearance and may find a wig unnecessary. Others choose to wear wigs to improve self-image and increase self-confidence in social situations. The decision to wear a wig is, and should be, a personal choice. A child should not be forced to wear a wig. Providing the option to wear one will permit the child to feel more empowered.
There are many types of wigs. The hair used to make them may be real or synthetic. Caps may be made of netting or plastic. These factors help to determine the price of a wig, which can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
One type of wig is designed to stay on during swimming, bathing, and active play, and also in high-wind conditions. This type of wig has a custom-molded cap that is held in place by suction. Predictably, it falls into the more expensive range (approximately $2,000 – $3,000) It also has the disadvantage of requiring a hairless scalp for optimal fit. For most people with ectodermal dysplasias, this means shaving.
Of course, wigs should be purchased only from a reputable maker. The supplier should be able to provide information about the materials used, as well as details about anticipated durability and the cost of repairs and replacements. In addition, initial cutting and styling, necessary with any hairpiece, should be provided by the supplier or by a stylist working under the supplier’s supervision.
Some families recommend buying an inexpensive wig for a trial period before investing in a more expensive wig. During vacation from work or school the wig can be worn on a daily basis so the individual can experience wearing and caring for it. Then, it’s easier to make a well-informed decision about the value of a wig, and whether or not greater expense is justified.
It makes sense to expect comments from classmates or co-workers the first day a wig is worn to school or work. After a few days, the wig should draw little or no attention.
Some insurers will cover the cost of a wig if a letter of medical necessity is provided. Discuss this with your physician.
This blog post was adapted from “A Guide to the Skin, Hair and Nails in the Ectodermal Dysplasias.”
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