Wig: FSA Eligibility
Revenue Ruling 62-189
What is a wig?
A wig is an article of apparel that covers the head. It is made from human hair, animal hair, or synthetic fiber that is worn for cosmetic or other reasons, including cultural tradition, religious observance, and costumry.
Wigs can be worn to disguise or cover baldness, and is often seen as a less intrusive and less expensive alternative to medical therapies for restoring hair.
Wigs are eligible for reimbursement because according to the Internal Revenue Service, you can include in medical expenses the cost of a wig purchased upon the advice of a medical professional for the mental health of a patient who has lost all of his or her hair from a disease.
What are some different types of wigs?
The two basic kinds of human hair wigs are the traditional machine Stitched weft wig and the hand tied lace wig. The machine stitched wigs are sewn on a stretch weft material and are still the most widely worn wigs today. These wigs are typically pre-styled and lack any kind of realistic expectations, although they do come with back straps to adjust for head size.
Lace wigs are becoming more popular because they are more realistic than the weft wigs. They give the illusion of hair growing from the scalp. Each hair strand is individually stitched into a lace material which creates the natural look of hair at the base.
Hair type is another the distinguishing factor in human hair wigs. Four main types of hair are used in manufacturing: Chinese or "Malaysian", Indian, Indonesian or "Brazilian", and Caucasian or "European". Remy human hair is considered to be the best quality of human hair because the cuticles are kept intact and not stripped away. This hair has been carefully separated after collecting from the hair donor to ensure all the cuticles are of the same length (BreastCancer.org).
What are some concerns?
Wearing a wig can cause headaches, if a wig doesn't fit properly or is worn incorrectly and from extra pressure placed on the head. Wearing wigs on top of actual hair may damage healthy hair and cause hair loss. For individuals who are bald or balding, wearing a synthetic hair alternative may lead to scalp health problems because it won't get the natural body oils it needs and will end up being too dry. A dry scalp can be painful at times and can lessen your chances of new hair growth.