What Can Cause Traction Alopecia?
Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that occurs when hair is repeatedly stressed through pulling. This condition can happen for those who often wear especially tight hairstyles such as braids and pony-tails. The risk is also increased in the presence of other frequent stressors such as heat or through treating your hair with chemicals.
Even if you think you have a routine that doesn’t rely on heat or wearing your hair too tightly, you might still be putting your fragile hair follicles at risk. If you’re wearing a wrap every night for example this might actually cause traction alopecia because it could rub against the front hairline. The main takeaway should be that frequency matters, the more often you stress your hair for longer periods the greater the chance that your scalp will develop scarring.
Common Signs of Traction Alopecia
Early signs of traction alopecia are small bumps that appear on the scalp that resemble pimples. Eventually with repeated stress to the scalp hair begins to go missing. Commonly affected areas are the side of the scalp and the front of the scalp, which will vary depending on the hairstyle.
With repeated stress placed on the scalp due to tight hairstyles, the hair follicles can become scarred and damaged and eventually stop producing hair. Unlike other forms of alopecia which result in patchy losses of hair, traction alopecia affects hair that has been damaged due to stress.
Traction alopecia is common among African-American women but it can affect people of any ethnic background. Typically the condition becomes more likely as people get older as the scalp becomes more damaged as it gets pulled over longer periods.
How to Prevent Traction Alopecia
The best solution to prevent traction alopecia is to wear your hair with loose hairstyles. Braids with extensions, for instance, should not be left in longer than five or six weeks max. When you do remove your extensions, it’s also important that you properly cleanse your scalp and to minimize any further strain on your hairline. If you wear your hair up such as in a bun then try to keep your hair loose and remember to give your hair a break by varying the style. By varying the style you wear you can avoid repeated damage to your delicate hair follicles.
As a condition, a mild case of traction alopecia is able to be reversed but it needs to be dealt with quickly. This can be achieved by changing your hairstyle to something looser in order to avoid stressing the hair follicles.
If you are suffering from traction alopecia, seek out help from a board-certified hair restoration physician, who can properly examine your scalp and help you create a treatment plan that is right for you. In some advanced cases, your hair restoration physician may find that a hair transplant might be your best option.
Remember, your scalp is delicate, treat it well, and keep your hair beautiful.
If you or someone you know has hair loss, hair thinning, baldness, or eyebrow / eyelash concerns, click to start either a long-distance virtual consultation OR an in-person, in-office consultation with Dr. Bauman. You can also Ask Dr. Bauman a Question or simply call Bauman Medical Group toll-free 844-GET-HAIR or +1-561-394-0024.
*Each individual's treatment and/or results may vary