Traction Alopecia: How It Is Caused and What to Do About It | ThickTails

Traction Alopecia: How It Is Caused and What to Do About It

It is no doubt that hairstyles can make your appearance look better. Hairstyling also serves as a fashion statement. Thus, most women opt to sport various hairstyles as frequently as they can.
However, some hairstyles can cause a type of alopecia known as traction alopecia. What is traction alopecia, and how can it affect your hair growth? Learn the causes and symptoms of this hair loss problem and find out what you can do to avoid losing your strands.

All You Need to Know about Traction Alopecia

Losing your hair can happen anytime. Traction alopecia is a hair loss condition triggered by the prolonged pulling of your hair strands. This type of alopecia is neither an autoimmune nor a hereditary hair loss problem. It usually happens when you wear tight hairstyles or tug your hair for an extensive period.  

In 1907, traction alopecia was first described as a hair loss problem caused by wearing taut ponytails. Later on, TA has become a prevalent type of female alopecia.

Causes of Traction Alopecia: Why It Happens

Traction alopecia can be instigated due to the following reasons: 

1. Tight hairstyles

Sporting some tight hairstyles is the number one culprit of traction alopecia. Hairdos such as braids, cornrows, dreadlocks, ponytails, and buns put your mane at risk because pulling your strands can stress your follicles. Firm hairstyling can push your hair in the growth phase to undergo the telogen or resting phase. The physical stress caused by the traction can hasten the telogen stage, forcing your strands to shed prematurely.

2. Frequent wearing of rollers/curlers 

If you love curling her hair before sleeping, then you may need to stop this hair-damaging habit. Although rollers are safer alternatives for curling irons, extensive use of rollers can strain your follicles, leading to hair loss.

3.  Using permanent hair extensions

Hair extensions can give you instant hair growth and thickness. These additional strands also allow you to pop your hair with various colors. The glue-in hair is the most damaging type of hair extensions. You need the help of an adhesive to attach the extensions, and improper removal of the artificial strands may damage your real hair. Tugging the extensions can also irritate your follicles, which can trigger premature hair loss.

4. Tightly wearing of hats and caps

Rest assured that wearing hats, fedoras, and headgears will not cause hair loss. However, continually wearing tight hair accessories can instigate traction alopecia. Thus, always choose the right size of your headwear to prevent traction alopecia.

5. Repeatedly styling your locks using heat tools

Overexposing your hair to heat tools such as blow-dryers, curling irons, and hair straightening tools is already a big no-no for your mane. Using these styling tools to sport very firm hairstyles will most likely trigger traction alopecia. Not only does this hairstyling habit weaken your strands, but it especially stresses your hair follicles. 

6. Applying hair relaxants

Using hair relaxers is a quick straightening treatment for your mane. Hair relaxers are chemicals used to remove your hair's curling pattern. However, these substances are harmful that they can make your strands more brittle. Once your locks are weakened, even a gentle tug can already cause your hair to fall out. 

women who are at risk of traction alopecia

Who Are At Risk of Developing Traction Alopecia?

No matter how alarming traction alopecia is, not all people are susceptible to this type of hair loss. Who are at risk of developing traction alopecia?

1. African women donning their ethnic hairstyles

You can distinguish African women because of their unique hairstyles. African women wear braids, locks, and twists because these hairdos mirror their culture. However, many female Africans are prone to hair loss. A study entitled "Hairdressing and the prevalence of scalp disease in African adults" discovered that many African women with relaxed hair had suffered from traction alopecia.

2. Professional workers wearing super-tight buns or hairdos 

Women wear tight rolls to prevent hair strands from covering their faces. Chignons can also revamp your professional look, making you look clean and presentable. Professional workers who always wear very firm hair buns such as teachers, flight attendants, and chefs are vulnerable to traction alopecia.

3. Ballerinas, gymnasts, and other dancers

Keeping the locks in place is very important for dancers. A well-groomed hair prevents distractions during dance performances. Ballerinas and gymnasts are among those who put on tight buns as part of their style. 

Symptoms of Traction Alopecia

 Traction alopecia does not happen suddenly. Check out the symptoms of traction alopecia.

1. You may notice small reddish or white bumps on your scalp. This symptom may indicate hair follicle inflammation. 2. Redness and itching are also common symptoms of traction alopecia. These indications may also be due to the irritated follicles. 3. You may also notice a receding hairline around your forehead and temples. If follicles are damaged due to the constant tugging, they may be forced to stop growing.  4. Patches of broken hair strands also start to appear around the bald area, indicating the poor state of your follicles underneath the scalp. 5. You may also experience a painful sensation every time you tug your hair strands. 6. The scalp also starts crusting, a condition wherein your scalp starts to dry and flake. 7. If traction alopecia remains untreated, your scalp may develop scars, causing your pate to look shiny and hairless.  

How to Regrow Your Lost Hair

Traction alopecia is not a permanent condition. Thus, its effects are reversible. Below are several ways to regain your lost hair caused by traction alopecia.

1. Take a break from hairstyling.

Traction alopecia occurs because of the tension from the constant pulling of the strands. Therefore, take a break from hairstyling if you don't want to experience this type of alopecia. Let your follicles rest from the wrenching pressure caused by hairdos.

2. Keep your hair away from heat exposure.

Heat can worsen your hair loss condition. Thus, stop using curling irons, blow-dryers, and other heat-styling tools. Also, avoid basking in the sun for an extended period to prevent further damage.

3. Use topical corticosteroids.

Traction alopecia can cause small bumps and scalp tenderness. Therefore, you can apply topical corticosteroids to alleviate the inflammation. Corticosteroids are steroid hormones that curb inflammations in the body. 


Early Intervention: How to Prevent Traction Alopecia

Prevention is always worth more than treatments. Here are eight ways to avoid experiencing traction alopecia.

1. Wear loose hairstyles.

It may be challenging to get rid of the hairstyling habit. Thus, you can sport slack hairstyles such as relaxed braids and loose chignons or let your hair down.

2. Sport a short haircut.

If you prioritize comfort over style, you can level up your look by sporting a bob cut or any short haircut. Having a short-styled cut will also prevent you from tying your hair.

3. Opt to use clip-in hair extensions.

Using clip-in hair extensions is better and more harmless than fastening the glue-in hair strands because it is easier to detach clip-in extensions. 

4. Avoid hair relaxing treatments.

Hair relaxants can give your hair an instant makeover. However, these chemicals can weaken your follicles and strands, which can prompt alopecia. Thus, avoid applying these harsh chemicals to prevent losing your locks.

5. Don't use heat tools too often.

Constant exposure to heat-styling tools can cause hair havoc in various ways. Heat can dehydrate your follicles, which can produce brittle hair locks. It will also make your hair look drier and flatter. The intense tugging of the strands while using these tools can also cause further damage and prompt premature hair loss. Therefore, minimize the use of blow-dryers and straightening irons.

6. Remove your hair rollers before sleeping.

Sleeping on your bed while wearing hair rollers may damage your mane. This habit not only cracks your hair cuticles, but it can also stress out the follicles due to the rollers' tension. To be safe, remove the rollers before enjoying your beauty rest.

7. Choose the right size of headwear.

Always try on the headwear before purchasing it. Your hat, cap, beanie, and your other head accessories must fit your crown perfectly. Putting on head garments with smaller sizes may trigger traction alopecia.

8. Give your hair a rest from hairstyles.

The cheapest way to prevent traction alopecia is to take a break from hairstyling. Your strands also need a good rest from the pulling sensation caused by hairdos. Allow your follicles to relax from time to time to maintain your healthy-looking locks.

Treat Your Hair Properly.

Just like people, your hair can also give up when put under too much tension or pressure. Therefore, treat your hair thoroughly. No matter how unique a hairstyle is, always remember to think of its after-effects on your mane before sporting any hairdo. 

Find Out More.

If you want to treat your hair correctly, uncover the mysteries behind hair growthLearn more about female alopecia, and search for the best hair growth products against female hair loss. Use a hair thickening shampoo to create a more voluminous look for your mane.