Traction alopecia: The hair loss term you need to know
04 October 2018
It may sound like a mouthful, but traction alopecia is a term that can make all the difference when it comes to hair loss – especially gradual hair loss or thinning around the hairline. This is because it relates to hairstyles that are too tight, with a constant and repeated pulling (AKA traction) action that puts too much strain on your strands from the root, leading to hair breakage and loss.
Traction alopecia is especially common with too-tight braids, ponytails, buns and weaves. It’s also associated with too much intense chemical use without protective measures in place, as well as wearing your favourite headband every day, as it rubs the same spot over and over. Traction alopecia is especially evident over the temples and forehead, where short, broken-off hairs and irritated bumps often appear.
The good thing about hair loss from traction alopecia, though, is that because it has a mechanical cause (translation: it’s related to movement and behaviour) as opposed to being a medical condition, it’s easy to rectify if you notice it early enough. It also only affects the hair that is pulled, as opposed to patches across the entire scalp. So, here are your top 3 tips to fight traction alopecia and put your hair growth back on track:
1. If it’s pulling too much, act now. When your just-installed braids feel way too tight, or that glued-in weave feels too heavy, tell your stylist, and see if there’s a way to relieve the tautness on your strands and scalp.
2. Mix things up. Give your hair a break (not that break!), by regularly changing your style. This is because traction alopecia stems from repeat action. Ideally, you shouldn’t wear a style longer than 6-8 weeks. And at bed time, be wary of overdoing the roller use.
3. Traction alopecia is most likely to happen when hair strands are fragile and brittle. Fortunately, there are many haircare products designed to fight dryness, reinforce your curls and repair damage. Mizani 25 Miracle Milk, for example, is a multi-benefit treatment that nourishes and restores softness while protecting during brushing and even heat styling. Meanwhile, exclusive to salons is Mizani Bond pHorce, to protect, strengthen and improve the health of relaxed hair especially.
That’s all there is to it. Be alert to your hair’s needs, get into good care and styling habits and you don’t have to stress about permanent hair loss from traction alopecia. If you’re ever in doubt though, or have more questions, speak to a hair professional at your nearest salon.
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