Traction Alopecia: Causes, Signs and Prevention

It is normal for everyone to shed hair on a daily basis. The average person sheds at least 50 to 100 hairs a day and sometimes it could be more, but it is important to note that hair shedding is not to be confused with hair loss. 

Hair loss can occur in various ways for different people. It can be very hard to pinpoint a specific reason for hair loss in women and men because there are several reasons why people lose hair. It could be as a result of stress (emotional or physical), genetics or medical-related reasons.

A very common type of hair loss is traction alopecia  which happens as a result of constant pulling on the hair or scalp. This occurs when you place prolonged and continuous tension on your scalp and hair follicles. Even though people of various ethnicities are susceptible to this condition, it is much more common in women with natural hair. And why wouldn’t it be? With all the stretching, braiding, pulling, flat-ironing, and slicking of edges that we do, it’s no wonder that our hairline is in danger of thinning out.

CAUSES

Tight hairstyles: Traction alopecia can happen to people who usually have their hair tightly pulled back for hairstyles like ponytails, tight up-dos, braids, or dreadlocks for a long period. Our hairline is very delicate and styles that require you to pull your hair back continuously are a major cause of traction alopecia. 

Excess Heat/Chemicals: Frequent use of relaxers can also contribute to traction alopecia. The chemicals present in relaxers can weaken the hair fibres and make them prone to breakage thus causing hair loss in the long run.

SIGNS

Many people are really not aware of the fact that tight pulling of hair can cause traction alopecia and if you are one of them, you might want to look out for these signs in the areas where your hair is been tightly pulled:

  • Itchy or red scalp
  • Small bumps 
  • Receding hairline 
  • Inflammation of hair follicles
  • Sore scalp 

 

 

PREVENTION

Let your scalp breathe: You have to take very good care of your scalp. Especially with the use of products that are essential in maintaining a healthy scalp. One of such is our scalp serum which  gives instant relief while battling irritation and dryness. It has been formulated to hydrate the scalp and with its anti-inflammatory properties, it can help soothe any scalp hurting from tight hairstyles.  

Don’t wear tight braids for too long: Try not to wear tight braids for long. The maximum amount of time you should wear braids for is two months. Anything more than that is too long. You also don’t have to wear braids every time. After wearing braids, give your scalp a break for at least a month to rest. You can switch things up by letting your hair down or wearing wigs. While wearing your hair or any protective styling, you can fortify your hair with our superior oil blend that works to provide the hair with intense moisture while  preventing your hair and scalp from getting dry.

Loosen the grip on your hair: You have to understand that these hairstyles are not bad - whether it’s braids, up-dos, or ponytails. What causes damage to your hairline is the tightness that is employed when doing these styles. We get it, ponytails are cute, but you certainly don’t have to pull all the way to your last strand to achieve the desired result. So, the next time you go to your stylist or try to pack your hair into a bun, remember to loosen your grip and not pull too strongly at your hair strands. And if the pain on your scalp is intense while braiding, ask your braider to loosen the tension because it can cause damage to your hairline.


The key to preventing or combating traction alopecia is becoming aware of what might be causing it and making conscious efforts to protect your scalp. Start by paying attention to styles that feel too tight and using products that have been formulated to care for your hair, then you can begin to reverse the effects of traction alopecia on your hair or even stop it from happening if you haven’t already started losing hairs.