Traction Alopecia is a type of hair loss that results from constant pulling of your hair. Though it is not tied to any disease like alopecia areata, traction alopecia can still result in permanent hair loss if you wear some types of hairstyles which cause long-term pulling on the scalp. Fortunately, avoiding particular hair treatments and hairstyles can reverse the hair loss brought about by traction alopecia.
What Causes Traction Alopecia?
Anything that causes stress and tension to the hair can lead to hair loss. Combing or brushing your hair too hard or tugging at it can result in bald spots on your scalp. The following are some common causes of traction alopecia:
1. Ponytails or pigtails that are too tight
2. Braids or cornrows that are very tight
4. Hair weaves
5. Wigs attached using glue or tape
6. Headbands worn consistently
7. Tight hairpieces
8. Wearing hair pins, hair bands or clips day after day in the same hairstyle
9. Tight headgear worn for a long period that rub or pull the hair e.g. cycling helmets
10. Frequent use of hair rollers
11. Frequent pulling of the hair using the hands.
Very tight hairstyles pull the hair strands that are connected to the hair follicles and this damages the scalp over time. This leads to broken hairs or thin, short ones and bald spots as well. This occurrence is common along the hairline. Black people of African descent are more prone to this type of hair loss because of the hair texture and some types of hairstyling techniques like braiding and cornrows.
Signs of Traction Alopecia
· Appearance of small bumps on the scalp
· Scalp sensitivity when you undergo a certain type of hairstyle
· Feeling relieved after untying hair
· A headache due to pulling of hair
· Blisters caused by hair tension
How to Prevent Traction Alopecia
1. Wear loose ponytails and buns, and fit them low on your head rather than high.
2. Wear wigs that have satin wig caps.
3. Avoid hair relaxers; let your hair stay natural.
4. Have loose braids, dreadlocks and cornrows, especially along the hairline.
5. Opt for thick braids and dreadlocks instead of thin ones.
6. Avoid chemically processed hair.
7. Don’t stay with one hairstyle for too long, change more often.
8. Take breaks between wigs, weaves, braids and any other artificial hair use.
9. Never use rubber bands or elastic ponytail holders.
10. Don’t sleep with hair rollers.
11. Use low heat settings on blow dryers and flat irons.