“How to prevent traction alopecia?” is a question that will immediately pop up into the minds of the people having this issue. And the answer is, yes, it can be reversed, only if your traction alopecia is in its early stages.
Are you one of those people who love styling their hair into braids, dreadlocks, high ponytails, high buns and often use flat irons and hair curlers to get your desired hairstyle?
I’m sure some of you might have noticed your hair receding at the hairline and wondered what that is all about. Well, maybe you’ve become a victim to a condition called “Traction Alopecia”.
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If your traction alopecia has gone too far and too long, there are chances that the receded hair and hair loss could be irreversible and you would have to resort to other advanced methods of hair growth and hair treatments.
So without further ado let’s get into the details!
This article will tell you all about what traction alopecia actually is, how do you know if you have it, what causes it, how to prevent traction alopecia, and the methods of treatment for hair growth.
What is traction alopecia?
The term “traction alopecia” means exactly as its name suggests.
Traction refers to something being drawn towards or pulled over a surface (here referring to the scalp) and alopecia simply means partial or complete hair loss.
Now putting two and two together, traction alopecia refers to the loss of hair due to the traction or pulling of the hair strands, causing the receding of hair at the hairline and temporary or permanent baldness.
What are the symptoms of traction alopecia?
Traction alopecia doesn’t occur over a short period of time and can take months or years for the effects to start showing.
So the chances of you not knowing that you have it is high.
Here are some of the symptoms that you may or may not notice. But need to pay heed to especially if you wear your hair into tight hairstyles or use hair styling tools on a regular basis.
Some of the common symptoms include:
- Scalp pain especially near the hairline
- The sensation of your hair being pulled
- Redness and small bumps near the scalp
- Folliculitis (which indicates inflammation and swelling of the hair follicles)
- Scalp tenderness
- Feeling of soreness on the scalp
What are the causes of traction alopecia?
These types of hairstyles cause tension to the base or root of the hair strands.
· Regular usage of flat irons, hair curlers and hair rollers.
· People who have very long hair. The longer the hair, the more the weight on your scalp.
· Those who often wear hair accessories like tight caps (like swimmers), hair clips, hair weaves, or wigs. These accessories can also tug at the roots of the hair and cause damage to the hair follicles.
It is important to note that this condition may be a rare occurrence for those who style their hair into high buns, tight ponytails, dreadlocks etc very rarely.
Those who require to wear such hairstyles on a daily basis due to their traditions and type of job requirements, those people will be more prone to developing traction alopecia in the long run.
This is due to the excessive pulling of the hair strands that have an effect on the hair follicles because they get strained over time.
There are times when your hair loss at the hairline extends over a long period of time and doesn’t grow back.
This could be because your hair follicles are permanently damaged and consulting a dermatologist or trichologist (a doctor specialized in hair and scalp conditions) is highly recommended, in order to try other advanced methods of treatment for hair growth.
How to prevent traction alopecia
Be watchful of your hairstyle
You may sure miss your dreadlocks, wigs, tight ponytails or buns and your hair curlers
But if you do not stop its usage as soon as possible, it is going to be too late and your traction alopecia is going to become irreversible.
So letting your hair loose or tying it into a loose bun or ponytail, while also reducing the use of hair accessories until you see good results on your hair, is highly recommended.
This doesn’t mean you can never wear the hairstyle of your choice again, it simply means that you can minimize your hair styling to the maximum extent.
Avoid the use of hair styling tools
Flat irons, hair curlers and hair rollers require tugging on the hair to be able to get the desired hairstyle to stay in place.
Therefore, when your hair is pulled, the chances of the hair follicles getting wounded and damaged are high, causing the hair to fall out and in more advanced cases, to stop producing hair completely.
Try out a different hairstyle
I’m sure this one’s pretty obvious. Changing your hairstyle for some time till your hair begins to grow back and fill up your hairline, is highly recommended.
For those who have very long hair, you can also consider cutting your hair shorter to be able to reduce the weight of the hair tugging at your hair follicles near your hairline.
How can you treat traction alopecia
Try using hair growth products
Hair growth oils to hair growth shampoos to natural remedies, the number of hair growth treatments and products are many.
But apart from these there are also some hair growth products like Rogaine, Folexin, etc. which are well-known for their more advanced effects.
That being said, these products are often used by many, but seeking medical advice before starting to take or use any of these products is always advisable.
Take hair growth supplements
If you do not wish to try out hair growth products and often think that they are ineffective or a waste of time, try dietary supplements that contain ingredients that can stimulate hair growth
There are times when the hair loss could be because our bodies are deficient and do not produce a sufficient amount of these natural proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Some of the natural supplements that aid hair growth are:
Keratin: Keratin is a type of protein in our bodies that makes up the hair, skin, and nails. Therefore, keratin plays a very important role in promoting hair health.
Biotin: Biotin or Vitamin B7 is an active ingredient in most hair care products because it can help stimulate the production of keratin in the body.
This helps promote better hair growth from the hair follicles.
Folic acid: For the hair to grow, the cells have to be rejuvenated and folic acid helps in maintaining healthy cell growth and promotes cell regeneration that can help supply the essential nutrients to the hair follicles.
Iron: When the body doesn’t produce enough iron, the levels of hemoglobin in our body decreases.
This means that the hair follicles will not be able to receive sufficient oxygen, in turn inhibiting hair growth.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps in the creation of a protein called collagen in the body, which is an essential protein that makes up the scaffolding and structure of our hair.
Vitamin C also is essential to help the body absorb sufficient amounts of iron that also aids hair growth.
One of the main side effects of traction alopecia is the dying out of the hair follicles which then begin to reduce or fail to produce new hair over time.
Therefore massaging your scalp can help promote hair growth or at least stimulate the dormant hair follicles towards hair growth.
This is possible because when the scalp is massaged, the blood flow increases.
And the improved blood circulation in the scalp can help in the stimulation of the hair follicles towards the regrowth of hair.
Try the hair transplant procedure
There are cases of traction alopecia that are advanced and no other techniques or methods of hair growth have worked.
In these cases, the reason could be because the hair follicles which once produced hair are now completely dead and cannot be revived with any other method.
Therefore in such cases, consulting a medical professional and seeking medical help is advisable.
One of the procedures which is often recommended is the hair transplant procedure that requires minimally invasive surgery to be conducted on the patient with advanced traction alopecia.
Hair transplantation refers to the surgical procedure where the hair follicles from one area of the body are transplanted into the bald or balding area.
The benefits of getting a hair transplant are that since the healthy hair follicles are transplanted back into your bald or balding areas, it will last a lifetime.
For the effects to start showing, it may take a few months, and eventually, your hair will grow back just like it was originally.
The final takeaway
There are various other types of alopecia and it is important to know which type of alopecia you have in order to learn how to treat traction alopecia.
If required, consulting a professional medical practitioner would be ideal.
For those whose culture or jobs entail tying of hair in a certain hairstyle or then lookout for warning signs and using prevention methods right from the beginning.
Lastly, don’t forget that it is always nice to “let your hair down” sometimes, pun intended!