Sheitel Wigs – The History and Impact

Like every other group of believers, the Jewish community also has its valuable cultural traditions. Out of many traditional practices, one, in particular, seems more intriguing. This tradition involves Jewish women covering their heads once they get married. It is a common understanding in the Jewish community that a woman must wear some head cover after marriage.

The headcovers that the Jewish women wear can be of different forms and types. Although scarfs are a typical head covering option most women go for, it is not necessarily a rule. Women can also use different sorts of hats, caps, beanies, and wigs. The purpose is to cover the natural hair. Anything that helps achieve that purpose is acceptable as a headcover in the Jewish community.

Where Did It All Start – The Background

The practice originates in the early Jewish teachings. In Torah, the exposed head of a woman is considered unbefitting or inappropriate. The teachings for women of belief are to cover the head in public. The women, who were accused of fornication or infidelity, had their heads exposed and braids undone by a priest as a punishment. The unbraiding was considered a humiliation which was part of the retribution.

Based on various teachings, it was concluded in the Talmud (Kethuboth 72) that the act of covering hair is biblical teaching for all women believers. However, it is not mandatory for Jewish women. As discussed in the Mishnah in Kethuboth (7:6), exposed hair may contradict the women’s good image, but it is not an obligation to cover their heads. It is just a form of standard practice indicating the women’s modesty in the Jewish community.

What do Jewish Women Believe?

From the early ages, Jewish women have been true believers of religious teachings and cultural values. Most Jewish women have reinterpreted the teachings of covering heads as a way of standard modernisation. They began using various headcovers that complement their images and do not reflect much on their beliefs. Using multiple wigs as an artificial hair covering is one of the upgraded solutions they have sought to respect the Jewish tradition and still protect their form of liberty.

Modern-Day Practices

Generations after generations, women are evolving, and Jewish women have also come a long way from their ancestral practices. Ever since the first wig was worn in the 1600s as a headcover, women from all over the world have followed suit.

How do Sheitels Affect Hair and Scalp?

While wigs allow Jewish women to uphold their beliefs in the modern world, there is another side to their use that should be considered. That is, how do they affect natural hair and scalp? If proper care is taken, hair damage can be avoided. A microscopic scalp analysis can help you understand your scalp and how to take care of it.

For some people, hair binding glue used in the wigs, or tapes used to stick the wig to the scalp can cause allergies as they may contain dissolved latex. Additionally, when worn for longer durations, irritation and itchy scalp may occur. This is because sweat from the glands in the scalp is not able to dry properly,instead, it mixes up with bacteria present on the scalp, producinga bad odor.

Wigs may also cause traction alopecia if not properly worn. It is a condition caused by consistent pulling or pressure on the hair follicle, caused by certain types of wigs. In addition to bald patches, women also report experiencing hair damage and hair loss with sheitels. So, when using a wig, proper care must be taken to ensure healthy hair and scalp.

My Opinion

I am hair loss expert Sean- Jordan Baruch and having grown in a Jewish household myself, I am far too familiar with sheitel wigs and their impact; now working as a hair loss expert, I have come across a number of cases where women suffered scalp problems due to inappropriate use of wigs. Sheitel wigs can cause hair damage, hair loss, baldness, or alopecia if care is not taken or the wig is not of good quality.

I recommend taking a microscopic scalp analysis offered at Baruch Hair Loss Clinic before you opt for a wig. There are different types of scalps, while some may have sensitive and dryscalps, others have oily. In any case, knowing your scalp will help you determine how to prevent hair and scalp issues in the future.