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Traction alopecia

Traction alopecia or the disease of tight hairstyles is hair loss associated with frequent pulling, which damages the hair follicle and the hair shaft area.

The name comes from the word 'tractio' - to pull. Most often, the loss occurs in the forehead, temples, occipital area, or any area of pulling. Traction alopecia may occur abruptly in several parts of the head, or it may develop gradually.

Who is prone to traction alopecia:

  • People with a specific occupation that requires strong hair fixation (ballerinas, actors, dancers, etc.)
  • Children for whom their parents braid tight hairstyles
  • Nurses who need to hide their hair under a cap
  • Women who wear a headscarf, hijab, turban
  • Fans of dreadlocks, hair extensions, and afro braids
  • People who use a hot comb and wear tight braids

In traction alopecia, the hair stops growing because the hair follicle gets traumatized and inflamed at the moment of pulling. Atrophy and fibrosis of the hair follicle and its papilla gradually appear. Inflammation in the areas of tension can provoke the development of such diseases as seborrheic dermatitis or folliculitis. The hair becomes weak, easily broken, traumatized, and then stops growing altogether because of the formation of scars.

How to prevent traction alopecia and keep your hair and skin healthy:

  • Avoid daily tight hairstyles. Take breaks for a few days, let your hair loose, or vary your hairstyles throughout the day.
  • Limit or avoid the use of thermal appliances and chemical styling products
  • Do not sleep while using styling products (hairsprays, gels, curlers)
  • Make braids or dreadlocks thicker. This will reduce the risk of pulling your hair down. It is better to limit the time you wear your hair extensions.
  • Massage your scalp, thus you will increase the blood flow to your hair follicles.
  • Use ribbons or soft hair bands. They do not pull the hair as much as hard hairbands and hairpins.
  • Use professional products for your hair and scalp.

Traction alopecia is best treated in its early stage. For recovery, it will be important to eliminate the provoking factor and occasionally use antibacterial and antifungal shampoos, since skin damage is often accompanied by fungi and bacteria. Once the skin is restored, external and injecting stimulants should be used. This is the fastest way to restore the desired hair volume.