Common Hairstyles Can Lead To Alopecia: What You Need To Know About This Condition


Preserving your crowning glory takes more than just choosing the right shampoo and conditioner, based on a new U.S. study.

A recent research by Johns Hopkins University stressed the strong connection between tight hairstyles and the incidence of traction alopecia, a hair loss condition characterized by increased tension to the hair from the roots due to repetitive and excessive pulling of the strands.

To best deal with it, get to know more about traction alopecia.

What Is Traction Alopecia?

There are different main and subtypes of alopecia, which is another term for hair loss. One of the most well-known is called alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that results to bald patterns in different parts of the body as the immune system attacks the hair follicles.

Females, on the other hand, are also vulnerable to androgenetic alopecia where there's diffused thinning (not complete hair loss) on the scalp due to activities of the hormone called androgen.

Traction alopecia develops not necessarily due to hormones or autoimmunity but a person's attitude toward one's hair: gradual but regular gentle pulling of the hair. In fact, the pulling effect can be so soft that people don't notice the effects until they notice thinning or balding in certain sections of the scalp.

Damaging Hairstyles

While traction alopecia is often attributed to hairstyles, not all of them are created equal. Some of the most common styles that increase the risk of such alopecia include:

  •  Ponytails
  •  Dreadlocks
  •  Cornrows
  •  Tight braids
  •  Headbands
  •  Hairpieces including barrettes that are worn tightly

Aside from hairstyle choices, traction alopecia may also occur due to repetitive behaviors involving the hair like constant brushing, pulling the hair while toweling, and applying rollers. Trichotillomania, or the habit of regularly pulling and twisting the hair, may also lead to this type of alopecia.

Although not a possible cause, obesity may worsen or increase the risk, which means the condition may be more complex than we think.

How To Treat Traction Alopecia

There are two general ways to prevent, treat, and manage traction alopecia: control of hair-related actions and overall attention to one's health and well-being:

1. Check hair growth regularly. The sooner you can spot the hair loss, the faster you can reverse the effect.

2. Adopt less-risky hairstyles including letting the hair fall down or a looser bun.

3. Vary your hairstyle.

4. Reduce dependency on hair extensions, gels, and hair sprays that may make brushing the hair more difficult.

5. Keep your weight down or maintain an ideal weight.

6. Check thyroid levels as conditions such as hypothyroidism are related to hair loss.

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