Did you know that regularly wearing your hair in tight ponytails or buns can cause a condition called traction alopecia?
Traction alopecia is a form of hair loss that is caused by repeatedly pulling on your hair. While tying your hair may seem convenient to keep it in place, not understanding its consequences may have a lasting effect on your hair.
In this article, we discuss effective ways to prevent and fix traction alopecia. Read on to learn more.
What is Traction Alopecia?
Traction alopecia  is associated with hair loss. You can experience hair fall due to repeated pulling on your hair from tight ponytails, buns, and braids. Tying hair immediately after using chemical products for styling is another factor.
The good news is, traction alopecia can be prevented and treated easily. If you stop trying your hair too tightly, you can save it from this form of hair loss.
At an early stage of traction alopecia, you may notice little bumps on your scalp. If the condition worsens, you will also see broken hair. The front and sides of your scalp are most likely to get affected first. However, other areas of your scalp might face similar hair fall, depending on your regular hairstyle.
How To Determine If You Have Traction Alopecia?
Including hair loss, traction alopecia can also show symptoms like:
What Causes Traction Alopecia?
You can develop traction alopecia if you often wear your hair in tight hairstyles. Repeated pulling on the hair can damage the hair follicles in your scalp. Some other factors contributing to traction alopecia include:
- Wearing tight dreadlocks, weaves, and cornrows
- Using hair extensions
- Using chemical relaxers and rollers
If you have long hair, you can develop traction alopecia due to the weight of the hair pulling on the scalp. Men can also have this condition in their beards if they twist it too tightly.
Even though traction alopecia can occur in people of any ethnicity, it is prevalent among African-American women. It is also frequently seen in people who have to pull their hair up in a tight bun due to professional reasons such as ballerinas and gymnasts.
Age can also be a contributing factor for traction alopecia. When you get older, your hair becomes prone to damage, which increases the chances of traction alopecia.
How To Treat Traction Alopecia?
1. Change Your Hairstyle
Never opt for tight hairstyles if you have any symptoms of traction alopecia. If you need to tie your hair, make sure you keep it as loose as possible. Let your hair rest as much as you can, avoiding clips, clutches, or bands. Also, change your hairstyle every few days if possible. This will prevent strain on a particular area of your scalp.
2. Limit Chemical Usage
Minimize the use of chemicals on damaged hair as it can only worsen the condition. Instead, go for plant-based cosmetics or remedies. It will not only give you visible results but also protect your hair from harmful chemicals.
3. Hair Growth Products
Hair growth products can help you in this situation. A study suggests that almost 40%  people use minoxidil  to regrow hair. You might try this to treat traction alopecia of your scalp after consulting with your doctor.
4. Use Anti-Inflammatories
Traction alopecia causes swelling on your scalp, which can be painful. The swelling may be accompanied by redness and irritation. An anti-inflammatory cream can help reduce pain and swelling. However, consult a doctor before using any medication.
5. Seek Medical Help
If you don't see new hair growth after a few months of taking preventive measures, it's time to seek medical attention. Your follicles are probably damaged, and if there is any scarring, your hair may not grow back.
Consult your doctor immediately to get the right medication for yourself. Severe cases of traction alopecia may require a hair transplant.
Home Remedies For Traction Alopecia
1. Adding Protein To Your Diet
Your body requires protein for hair growth. Some healthy dietary protein sources include eggs, fish, nuts, beans, lean meats, and seeds.
Not everyone needs the same amount of protein as its requirement varies based on your muscle mass and physical activity.
2. Increase Iron Intake
Iron is another vital nutrient that your body needs to grow new hair. If you face hair loss, your diet should comprise foods like lentils, tofu, seeds, pumpkin, spinach, and white beans.
Many companies enrich their foods with vitamins and iron, such as in breakfast cereals, to prevent iron deficiency.
Aromatherapy can help stimulate your hair growth. Essential oils like cedarwood, thyme, lavender, tulsi, and rosemary can help treat traction alopecia.
When you use essential oils on the scalp, mix only a few drops into a base oil like coconut oil.
Word of Caution
Few people may have an allergic reaction to essential oils. Thus, it is necessary to conduct a patch test 24 hours before applying the mixture to your scalp.
4. Massage Your Scalp
Massaging your scalp with oil can help stimulate blood flow to your follicles, encouraging hair growth.
A study  found that four minutes of scalp massage a day can result in thicker hair in six months. You can use your fingertips to massage the scalp in a circular motion or buy a massage device to do the work.
5. Pumpkin Seed Oil
Experts suggest that pumpkin seed oil has proven results in hair growth. A study  conducted on a group of men shows that those who took 400 mg of pumpkin seed oil a day noticed a 40% increase in hair count in six months.
How To Prevent Traction Alopecia?
Keeping your hair down is the best way to prevent traction alopecia. If it's necessary to tie your hair, wear it in a loose hairstyle.
Here are a few other things you can do to prevent this condition:
- If possible, change your hairstyle every week. You can alternate between braids or ponytails.
- Avoid tying your hair while it's wet.
- Avoid using rubber or elastic bands to hold your hair in place. They pull out a lot of hair while untying.
- Avoid chemical treatments for your hair, especially if you wear weaves or braids. The chemicals may damage your hair while making it weak.
- Do not keep your weaves or extensions for too long.
- Try to avoid hair relaxers as much as you can.
- If you use a hairdryer, set it to a low-temperature setting.
- Don't sleep with hair rollers on.
Is Traction Alopecia Permanent?
Traction alopecia can be permanent if you don't intervene at an early stage. A few warning signs can indicate if your traction alopecia is getting worse.
Signs Of Permanent Traction Alopecia
The typical signs of permanent traction alopecia are excessive hair fall and soreness in the scalp. You may particularly feel pain after releasing your hair from a tight bun or ponytail.
As the condition worsens, the signs of traction alopecia can become more prominent and severe. You may notice itchiness, tightness, and swelling in the scalp. Broken hair and balding patches will also be visible. Scarring can occur if you don't do anything to prevent it.
If you are facing severe signs of traction alopecia, you need to consult your doctor immediately. Scarring can not be cured with any topical cream, and your hair may get permanently damaged.
Your doctor will conduct a biopsy to examine your hair's state and suggest the right medical treatment.
Can Hair Grow Back After Traction Alopecia?
As mentioned above, if traction alopecia is caught early, it is fully reversible, and your hair can regrow. Remember, it is essential to follow adequate safety measures for your hair to prevent traction alopecia.
Your hair most likely will be in a vulnerable state, even if you recover from traction alopecia. It would help if you took proper care of your hair post-recovery.
Use gentle hair care methods, maintain a healthy diet, and manage your stress. If you are still concerned about your hair’s health, SkinKraft offers a customized hair care regimen made for your unique hair needs.
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