Traction alopecia is a form of alopecia, or gradual hair loss, caused primarily by pulling force being applied to the hair. This commonly results from the sufferer frequently wearing their hair in a particularly tight ponytail, pigtails, or braids.
Ohh no, Hair Extensions!!??
Traction alopecia has become much more common recently due to the massive hair extension market. How do you lose hair from hair extensions? The pull from hair extensions can lead to what is known as traction alopecia, which causes the hair to fall out after it has undergone increased tension. So many women are wearing hair extensions for the full, luscious tresses look. But rarely do we see solutions for hair loss caused from wearing extensions. The ‘hair extensions’ procedure involves the attachment of tails of up to 250 human or artificial hair-shafts to groups of naturally growing hair-shafts using metal rings, knots, or methods of ‘welding’ at any given point along the hair shaft. Whereas the procedure can enhance appropriately, it can also have disastrous consequences. The points of attachment usually manifest as small hard lumps often sited very close to the scalp are capable of causing headaches, real discomfort especially during pillow contact, and sleep deprivation. Extensions that use cornrows braids can have the same effect as well. The tractional forces created between the extensions and the braided hair can also lead to the development of traction alopecia. And the tresses in the affected area may or may not re-grow.
Other causes of Traction Alopecia include:
- Very tight ponytails or pigtails
- Tight braids or cornrows
- Hair weaves or wigs attached with glue, clips or tape
- Certain hair clips, slides or barrettes that hold the hair tightly and are worn in the same position every day
- Headbands – even fabric ones – worn day after day
- Tight hairpieces
- Tight headgear like cycling helmets that are worn frequently or for long stretches of time and tend to rub or pull repeatedly on the same area of hair
- Repeated use of hair rollers
- Repeated pulling of the hair with the hands (trichotillomania)
How to reverse Traction Alopecia
The good news is that ‘treatment’ – if you’ve caught the condition early enough – can be as simple as changing whatever hair styling and hair care practices you were using and really learning to care for your hair and scalp. If you are concerned about your hair loss and feel you might be dealing with Traction Alopecia then make an appointment with a hair specialist.