Traction Alopecia - A Quick Guide
Practical steps you can take to regain control and regrow your healthiest hair possible
What is Traction Alopecia?
Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by excessive pulling and tight hairstyles. While there are different types of hair loss, traction alopecia is a form that's caused by abusing the hair only and is not connected with illnesses or diseases. Although it can happen to anyone, it's most common with African American women because they often wear their hair in tight braids. Consistent tight braiding pulls on the hair and damages the hair follicles. This in turn results in broken hairs and eventual permanent damage to the hair follicles rendering them unable to grow hair. With continued use, permanent baldness occurs.
What are the symptoms?
While a doctor can accurately diagnose traction alopecia, there are some factors to consider to determine if you're likely to develop traction alopecia. For instance, if you consistently wear tight ponytails or have a lot of tight braiding done to your hair you're more likely to develop traction alopecia. If you notice your hair getting thinner or experience hair loss around the hairline you may have it. Other symptoms like redness, soreness, small bumps, or blisters on the scalp are also signs you may have traction alopecia.
Is it permanent?
While some areas may be too damaged to repair completely, notable improvements and hair growth are possible once a treatment plan is followed. With continued care and diligence you should start to see new growth in a few months. The new hair may be finer or of a different texture altogether but most agree that it's better than not having hair at all.
How is it reversed or treated?
Avoid hairstyles that are tight like ponytails, French braids, hair weaves, hair extensions, and tight buns. Wearing your hair down or very loosely is optimal. If braids must be done, choose larger braids and change the direction they run every few weeks. Also, don't leave small braids in for more than three weeks while treating traction alopecia. Take a break between braiding and give your hair and scalp time to recover.
Brush gently. While it's a good idea to stimulate the hair follicles, over brushing or brushing too harshly can cause more damage. Choose a brush with soft flexible bristles and brush just long enough to remove any tangles.
Avoid chemical treatments. Since relaxers and colors damage hair anyway, now's the time to switch to natural methods. Temporary colors are excellent in covering gray and your existing hair will thank you.
Take care of your hair and scalp by gently massaging the scalp every other day with oil. Doing this helps condition your scalp and the oil penetrates the hair follicle. Be sure to take a little extra time on the area of hair or scalp that needs the most attention. By adopting these hair care practices, the hair follicle will most likely be stimulated into producing hair again. When it does, the conditioned follicle and oil are ready and available to grow healthy new hair. Quality is a factor when it comes to choosing oils so be sure you choose natural ingredients and the best quality you can afford. Argan, coconut, rosemary, and sweet almond oils are all excellent at preserving the hair you have and encouraging the healthy growth of new hair. Our Hair & Scalp Growth Oil has a rich blend of quality oils to help promote your lovely locks regrow. It's cruelty free, ethically sourced, organic, and free from sulfates, toxins, and parabens.
A diet that's rich in protein is also recommended for people recovering from traction alopecia. Meat, fish, dairy, and nuts are all high in protein and benefit the body in other areas too. Since hair is made up of protein it makes sense to eat foods that'll help hair follicles produce the healthiest hair possible.
If your scalp is swollen or infected, topical antibiotics will offer relief and will help with healing. They're available without prescription in the United States but higher concentrations do require a doctor's prescription. Check with your localities to see if a prescription is needed in your area.
If you try all of the above methods and your hair still isn't regrowing, it may be time to consider having a hair transplant. Advances in medical technology and science have made transplants easier than in recent years. They're a bit pricey but well worth the cost.
Take time to care for the hair you have and give it a little time to start rewarding you with new hair. With a little patience, you'll be on your way to growing a full and healthy head of gorgeous hair.