Traction alopecia: hair loss caused by tightly styled hairstyles

Traction alopecia: hair loss caused by tightly styled hairstyles

Do you often wear tight tails, braids or dreadlocks? And do you notice that lately you experience more hair loss around the hairline? Then there is a chance you are suffering from traction alopecia, literally translated as 'hair loss by pulling'.

The causes of traction alopecia

As indicated, traction alopecia (also called mechanical alopecia) is caused by too much tension on the hair. This tension is caused, for example, by wearing tails or braids that are too tight, or when you have dreadlocks. Hair loss can also occur when extensions are put on too tight or when they are left on too long.

Chemical hair relaxation is also a well-known cause of this type of hair loss. This is a well-known styling method, especially for women with frizzy hair. A third of all women with frizzy hair also suffer from traction alopecia.

Read the study here: Traction alopecia: the root of the problem.

When tails, braids, dreadlocks or extensions are too tight, the hair roots experience a lot of tension. If this tension is maintained over a longer period of time, blood flow to the hair follicles deteriorates. This damages the hair roots, causing your hair to fall out permanently.

How to recognise traction alopecia?

This type of hair loss often occurs initially around the hairline. The balder areas are therefore initially mainly found on the neck, above the ears and at the hairline of the forehead. Before this hair loss occurs, you should be able to recognise the tension on the hair. If you suffer from bumps around the hairline, this is a sign that your hairs are too tightly bound, which causes inflamed hair follicles.

If you have a ponytail and after a while you experience scalp pain, this is a very clear sign that your ponytail is too tight. Act immediately to prevent damage to the hair roots.

Traction alopecia vs. alopecia areata

Preventing traction alopecia

Since the hair loss caused by traction alopecia is in most cases permanent, the only real solution is to prevent it. There is only one way to do this: Make sure your hair is under less tension. If you tie your hair into a ponytail or braids, leave some space so that the blood flow to your hair follicles remains intact. If you have dreadlocks or extensions put on, ask the person who put them on not to do this too tightly.

Traction alopecia vs. alopecia areata

Traction alopecia is often confused with alopecia areata, as this also involves patchy baldness. However, this is a completely different type of hair loss. Alopecia areata is a hair disease causing completely bald patches on the head, where hair can (usually) grow back. Read more about alopecia areata here.

Traction alopecia, on the other hand, is not a hair disease, but a form of hair loss caused by an external factor: too much tension. By removing this tension, you can prevent this type of hair loss yourself. In contrast to alopecia areata, this form of hair loss is irreversible. The chance of regaining the lost hair is therefore unfortunately small. If you are interested in hair growth stimulating products, consider reading our blog post What hair loss treatments are there?.

What you can do right now as a temporary, cosmetic solution is to camouflage the bald spots:

Covering the bald / thinning areas
If you find that the affected areas are increasingly visible to yourself and those around you, you may choose to camouflage these areas. By using camouflage products in your hair colour, you can make these areas less visible or even completely invisible.

Beaver starter pack

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  • Beaver Fixing Spray is a fine spray with a pleasant fragrance that makes sure that the hair fibers adhere better to the hairs.
  • The hair fibers applicator is a very convenient accessory when using Beaver hair fibers. It is a device that can be attached to the bottle of hair fibers.
  • The Beaver hairline optimizer is specially designed to apply the keratin hair fibers along the hair line.

Hair fibres
Hair fibres are natural keratin-based fibres that attach themselves to your hair. This makes your hair look fuller and covers up any bald or thin patches. This form of camouflage would be particularly suitable in cases of mild traction alopecia, where there are still hairs to which the fibres can adhere.

Keratin hair building fibers are the perfect cosmetic solution to transform the appearance of thinning hair within a short time. The hair fibers adhere to the existing hairs and make the hair look thicker and fuller. The minuscule fibers are made of natural proteins. 

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