traction alopecia

Traction alopecia can be reversed if you stop pulling your hair back. But if you don’t intervene in time, hair loss can be permanent. In this article, we will discuss the causes and the different ways you can do to prevent traction alopecia.

What is Traction Alopecia?

Traction alopecia is hair loss caused by repeated pulling on the hair. This can happen if you regularly wear your hair in tight ponytails, buns, or braids, mainly if you use excessive hair products or heat on your hair. The hair on the front and sides of the scalp is the most commonly affected area. However, depending on your hairstyle, you may also notice hair loss in other areas of the scalp.

Signs of traction alopecia

  • Itching
  • Dry scalp
  • Thinning or breakage of hair
  • Folliculitis(inflammation of hair follicles)
  • Blisters on the scalp
  • Inflammation of the scalp
  • Redness of the scalp
  • Small bumps or pimples
  • A receding hairline that’s usually seen around the forehead, temples, or nape
  • Scalp pain or tingling

Causes of traction alopecia

Headwear and accessories

Helmets or tight elastic headbands can cause thinning of the hair where the headgear meets the hair.

Chemical-based treatments

Excessive use of hair treatments such as hair relaxers and permanent hair dyes can alter the structure of the hair shaft, making hair loss more likely.

Tight hairstyles

Traction alopecia is caused by anything that pulls on the hair, which eventually damages the roots and can lead to scarring and permanent hair loss. This is a process that usually takes years. The root cause could be tight braids, tight ponytails, or even just pulling the hair

Having hair weaves and extensions

Hair extensions and weaves are glued or tightly tied together at the roots, which creates tension and stress at the roots of your hair.

Long hair

Long hair can be heavy and pull on the follicles. Very long or tightly tied beards can also cause traction alopecia

How to prevent traction alopecia

For those suffering from early traction alopecia, there are several options. In addition to changing physical hairstyles, there are some treatment options that help with hair regrowth. Here are some ways you can do to prevent and/or treat traction alopecia.

Avoid hairstyles that pull hair too tight

Tight hairstyles can cause traction alopecia. If a person needs to wear tight hairstyles, they should tie their hair as loosely as possible.

Change hairstyles

Change your hairstyle every two weeks. Try to switch between braids and a bun to reduce tension.

Try hair growth products

Try using minoxidil for hair growth, but it is not recommended to use when your scalp is inflamed. Consult with a doctor first before using hair growth products.

Avoid using chemical-based hair products

Avoid putting relaxants on hair that is already loose. These chemicals can damage your hair, making it more fragile and more prone to breakage.


Using anti-inflammatories such as steroid creams can reduce the swelling of the scalp caused by traction alopecia.

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