What Is Traction Alopecia? 4 Hairstyle Causes & Massage To Reverse

Over time, certain hairstyles and hair extensions can traumatize follicles and lead to permanent bald spots in the scalp, a condition known as Traction Alopecia. The hair is subjected to prolonged or excessive tension, the hair shaft begins to be pulled, damaging the hair follicle and cease to grow properly. Hair loss is often in the frontal and temporal regions, but also depends on the hair style.

Traction alopecia begins with mild scalp irritation and swelling in the area of tension. A common, early sign is the formation of tiny bumps or even scabs on the scalp. Hair breakage in the area then becomes apparent. If this strain continues over the next few months or years, scarring may occur to and around the hair follicles. Hair loss is gradual, with a thinning of the actual hair fibers occurring first until total hair loss takes place. Once scarring to the follicles has taken place, and hair loss has occurred, neither follicles nor hair will ever grow again.

The good news is that traction alopecia is reversible if diagnosed early but may lead to permanent hair loss if it is undetected for a protracted period. Because traction alopecia is behavioral in nature, there are no prescription medications that can be used to treat it. The only way is to immediately remove the braids, weaves, or extensions and to stop wearing them altogether. The sooner this is done the better to avoid permanent damage.

4 Hairstyle Cause To Traction Alopecia

What Is Traction Alopecia? 4 Hairstyle Causes & Massage To Reverse

1. Ponytails (Pigtail)

Ponytail or pigtail is a very common hairstyle, but it is one of the causes of hair loss. If you wear a tight pigtail on a regular basis, you are going to shock your scalp by restricting blood circulation to the hair follicles. The damage to the follicles due to constant pulling over a long period causes traction alopecia. The most common indicator of hair loss caused by this hairstyle is a receding hair line on the temples and forehead. To minimise the damage, you can:

  • Don't pull too tight. Wear loose braids, buns, and ponytails, and take them down at the end of the day.
  • Use coated rubber bands.
  • Alternate the way you put hair up, or even just the location of your ponytail, so you're not always pulling on the same hairs.
  • Instead of tying your hair up, try holding it back with a headband.

2. Cornrows

A cornrow is a hairstyle that has been around for ages and it spans across all genders and ethnic groups. However, this type of hairstyle where hair is braided quite close to the scalp can certainly create tension in the scalp and scar it. It will cause hair loss and hair breakage, especially if you choose to keep it for long. In addition, if you don't clean your hair properly there are chances that you may encourage fungal and bacterial infections which may promote formation of bald spots. To avoid losing hair when using the cornrow hairstyle you should follow the tips below:

  • Have the proper length of hair before braiding. Your stylist should have enough hair to work with so that he/she doesn't end up giving you a very tight braid. For instance 10 cm should be enough for a straight hair length whereas 5cm should be enough for curly hair.
  • Wrap the hair to prevent breakage when you go to sleep.
  • It is important that you do not keep braids in for too long.
  • Cleanse your hair properly. This will prevent bacterial and fungi infection which might lead to dandruffs and the development of bald spots in your head. It is important to perform minor cleaning of your hair daily and a thorough cleaning weekly. Use the appropriate chemicals or oils to aid in lubrication especially in the scalp.

3. Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks damage the hair follicles and over a period of time the hair become twisted and matted and tangle to form dreads. This causes hair loss, dandruff and other scalp conditions.



4. Weaves

Hair extensions and weaves are often seen as among the quickest and easiest thinning hair remedies. But no matter whether you attach it with glue, special magnets, tape, it's going to cause damage over time and can cause traction alopecia, bald spots associated with glue extensions. To make sure you're using hair extensions and weaves safely:

  • Restrict how long you wear weaves and extensions.
  • Hair strength varies, so make sure the weave isn't too heavy for your hair.
  • Don't use a weave after using a chemical treatment to relax your hair.
  • Think twice about using a weave or tight braids if you're a diabetic, since you're more inclined to infections.

Massage To Reverse

Except discontinue wearing tight hairstyles, you need to improve the skins elasticity and promote blood circulation which will help bring nutrients to the hair. Massage the area of your scalp that has been affected for 15 minutes per day.

Make sure your hands are clean, move the skin around with your fingers, encouraging it to warm up and become more elastic and flexible. Don't slide your fingers over your scalp, just wobble your scalp around as much as possible, without pulling on the hair. If you can't perform this massage without pulling on the hair, massage around the hair.