Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that is caused by hairstyles that are pulled very tightly, Traction alopecia usually affects women of African descent who have worn various forms of hairstyles that pull the hair for prolonged periods of time.
When caught early, this condition is fully reversible. However, there are also cases wherein the hair follicles are so damaged that the hair will never grow back.
What Causes Traction Alopecia
Hairstyles that require repeated tension.
Repeated tension or pulling of the hair is the major cause of traction alopecia. Hairstyles that require repeated tension such as dreadlocks, tight ponytails, cornrows, or braids are all possible causes of this condition.
Hair extensions which include hair slides that are worn the same way every single day may also be the cause of traction alopecia.
Headwear that makes contact with the hair.
Sports helmets or tight elastic headbands make the hair thin when it makes direct contact with the hair.
Using hair extensions.
People who use hair extensions or weaves may experience traction alopecia. This is because usually, extensions are glued or tied to the hair’s base.
Using chemicals or heat on the hair.
If the hair is frequently treated with chemicals or applied with heat using a straightening or curling iron or blow dryer, traction alopecia may develop.
Natural and Medical Solutions
If a person has traction alopecia, he or she should consult a medical professional in order to find out the best course of treatment.
Limiting or eliminating hairstyles that pull on the hair
It is best to avoid tight hairstyles as far as possible. If tying the hair is unavoidable due to the demands of work or religious restrictions, tying the hair as loosely as possible is the key. It is also best to have thick, loose braids and not tight braids.
Topical hair growth products produce favorable results for traction alopecia. In order to re-grow their hair after about 3 to 6 months, many people use a product that contains minoxidil. Topical steroids and antibiotics are also used to prevent infection and to bring down scalp swelling.
Relatively a new treatment for thinning or balding hair, laser treatment is proven to be effective in treating traction alopecia. This treatment uses lasers to stimulate blood flow into dormant hair follicles. This leads to an improvement in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients which promotes the natural growth of hair.
Another option to restore thinning areas of the hair is through hair transplants. This involves grafting individual follicles to the areas where balding has taken place.
A relaxing scalp massage may help stimulate the blood and promote hair growth. For people with traction alopecia, the scalp can be massaged with healing oils such as castor or peppermint essential oil.