Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that happens when the hair is repeatedly pulled too tight in the same direction. Over time, this action puts excessive tension on the hair which eventually leads to the hair shaft breaking or loosening from its follicle.
Why Do People Develop Traction Alopecia?
Regularly sporting a hairstyle that pulls back the hair tightly is the most common reason why people develop traction alopecia. Aside from buns and tight ponytails, ballerina chignons, braids, dreadlocks and cornrows are other examples of hairstyles that cause this type of hair loss.
Frequently using wigs, hair extensions and headwear like headbands and helmets also increases your risk of suffering from traction alopecia. You can also develop this condition if your hair is too long as it can be too heavy and pull out the strands from the scalp. Vigorously brushing your hair, nit combing and using rollers overnight may also cause this hair loss problem. Some studies likewise show that traction alopecia also happens when the hair is regularly subjected to chemical treatments and heat-emitting styling tools like curling iron.
Traction alopecia affects all age groups. Young children can have it as well as middle-aged adults. However, it is more common in older people because the hair becomes more brittle and follicles become weaker with age.
It is also observed in both men and women, although it tends to be more prevalent in females. In men, this condition is not just limited to the scalp but affects their beard as well. This happens if they constantly twist their beards tightly.
Cases of this type of alopecia are higher in certain groups of people like gymnasts and ballerinas. Furthermore, it is also more common in hair which are thinner in diameter just like African hair. This type of hair tends to be more brittle and prone to breakage.
What Are the Symptoms of Traction Alopecia?
One of the early signs of traction alopecia is the presence of pimple-like bumps on the scalp. This is often followed by the appearance of broken hairs and bald spots. It is also not unusual to experience reddening and itching of the scalp. If the follicles are inflamed, there may be pain as well as pus-filled blisters.
Admittedly, since the hair loss happens slowly, it can be difficult to detect this condition early. In most cases, the problem is only noticed when the damage is already extensive.
Can Traction Alopecia Be Treated?
Hair loss due to traction alopecia is reversible for as long as it is treated early. Failure to address the problem immediately has dire consequences – the follicles become scarred and stop producing hair. When this happen, the hair loss can become permanent. So, do not delay seeing a hair loss specialist if you notice telltale signs of traction alopecia!
Before the treatment could commence, there should be a proper diagnosis first. Here at the Universal Hair & Scalp Clinic, our hair loss specialist conducts a thorough examination of the hair and scalp with the help of a trichosan. A scalp biopsy and blood test are also done to determine if there is an underlying illness which could be responsible for the hair loss.
In treating traction alopecia, the first thing your doctor will ask you to do is to stop sporting tight hairstyles. This is the best way to halt the alopecia’s progression and encourage the growth of new hair. So, as much as possible, wear your hair down as often as you can. When you need to tie it, make sure you tie it loosely.
The doctor may prescribe medications to promote hair regrowth and to treat scalp infection, if there is any. Hair strengthening products may also be recommended. Moreover, you will be advised to minimise your use of hairstyling products and tools. Meanwhile, if the hair loss is already severe and hair cannot regrow, your doctor may talk to you about hair restoration surgery.
Prevent traction alopecia from causing permanent damage. Get the treatment you need immediately! Call us at (0)1 6793618 today!