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What is Traction Alopecia?

Traction alopecia is a form of hair loss that can happen due to constant pulling on the hair from its follicle. It is most commonly seen in females who wear weaves, tight braids and hair extensions, but also occurs in people who constantly like to keep their hair pulled back tightly from their scalp in a bun or ponytail. For example,  ballerinas and gymnasts, or those who simply like to tie their hair up in tight ponytails or buns. Traction alopecia can also happen as a result of  harsh or excessive brushing and/or backcombing.

Frontal hair loss due to Traction Alopecia
Frontal hair loss due to Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is not limited to females. It can also occur in males who like to tie their hair in bun or turban.

Traction alopecia is usualy seen in the frontal area where the hair line receds and side of scalp where extreme traction is put. Over a period of time as the hair line receds due to the constant pulling the hair margin goes on receeding as the new hair are subjected to the traction.

Traction Alopecia may easily be misdiagnosed as Androgenetic Alopecia or Male Pattern Thinning or Female Pattern Thinning.

Traction Alopecia Symptoms:

  • Sore and sensitive scalp after undoing ponytail
  • Relief after untying the hair
  • Itchy scalp after putting on hair weaves

These are signs that your hair needs attention and traction alopecia can be avoided before its too late.

In the initial stages, traction alopecia from braids, weaves, hair extensions and tight hairstyles is reversible; stopping styling your hair under traction will make your hair regrow. However, if you continue, permanent changes may happen and follicles can get damaged if the hair starts to grow back and is pulled out repeatedly. Constant pulling can cause the follicles to distort and atrophy. Damaged follicles will give rise to fine and small hair and if the permanent damage is done the hair may not grow at all.

Treatment of Traction Alopecia

Supplements and topical applications can help the follicles grow stronger and advanced cases may need Hair Transplant.

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