Unlike wigs, which are whole-scalp, long-term solutions for hair loss, hairpieces are partial-scalp products which frequently have a limited period of usefulness before they must be replaced. The most common reason for having a hairpiece is to cover a bald spot, which is usually due to androgenetic alopecia (male- or female-pattern hair loss). Because androgenetic alopecia is progressive, a bald spot changes in size and shape over time. A partial hairpiece that covers an area of hair loss today may provide inadequate coverage as hair loss progresses.
Because areas of partial hair loss are unique to each person, there are few satisfactory ready-to-wear partial hairpieces. A hairpiece must usually be made to order to meet the esthetic and physical requirements of the individual man or woman. The fitting and creation of a high-quality partial hairpiece requires skill and experience. A physician specializing in hair restoration can refer patients to a trusted professional. Hairpieces may also be available directly from cosmetologists who have the requisite training and experience to properly fit a hairpiece and assure its quality and workmanship.