Overcoming Traction Alopecia in Black Women in Three Easy Ways
A hair in the head is worth two in the brush. ~Oliver Herford
Have you ever seen a woman with a wide hair part, wide enough to know that she lost some hair from that region or stared fascinated as a young woman walks by and the side of her hair and the frontal hairline are completely gone or extremely sparse and wondered what was the issue with their hair?
Well that issue is called traction alopecia, it is a condition where the dermal papilla and hair follicle is damaged. This baldness or hair loss is not an overnight occurrence, it is a result of constantly pulling the hair for an extended period of time until the root of the hair is weakened and falls out. In essence your hair root says, “I can’t take it anymore” and gives up.
This is a very preventable problem since one of the main causes of traction alopecia are hair styles (weaves, locs, corn rows and braiding hair too tight all lend them self to pulling the hair overtime.) Other factors include, processing the hair too often. The relaxed part of the hair gets re-relaxed time and again, after a while the hair will just fall out. Brushing and combing the hair too much will also cause hair loss. Excessive manipulation of hair is notorious for lending itself to traction alopecia. Wearing tight head gear such as hats, head bands, or wigs, and wearing it in the same place for an extended period of time will cause the hair to be rubbed down and bald spots will become apparent.
One alarming statistic about traction alopecia is that this problem is usually found in children and teens. This means that the adults in their lives have no idea how to handle the hair on their heads.
Giving children relaxers at a young age or braiding the hair year after year without a break can cause permanent damage to the hair follicles. If the problem continues for too long and the hairstyle or habit continues without abating, then the situation can be permanent unless surgery is sought to do a hair replacement. Before it comes to that, here are three things to do:
1. When doing a hairstyle, whether it is a regular ponytail, protective style, or putting in braids, ensure that the style is not too tight. There is a tendency to put in braids too tight and then hope that it loosens over time. If you do this on a regular basis you may be killing off your hair follicles over time. If you feel as if you can’t move your face or head or your hairstyle is giving you a headache, then you should loosen the hair immediately. When putting in hairpieces and weaves, do not use hair glue or sew the hair to a cornrow. When weaves are worn too often, the hair weakens where the glue was added or where the hair was sewn in. No style is worth you losing your hair in the long run.
2. Change up your hair routine on a regular basis. If you always wear your hair slicked back and caught up in a ponytail or the front of your hair clipped back, then it is possible that you are putting some strain on the frontal part of your hair and the area above your ears. Try to wear your hair in a different style sometimes. Variety is the spice of life; apply this saying to your hairstyle within reason.
3. Avoid wearing hats scarves and headbands in the same place all the time. Have you ever seen someone take off their hat or head tie and the area on the head where the pressure is, always seems to lie flat? After a while if someone constantly wears headgear, the hair where the pressure is applied will get sparser and sparser.
Ignoring traction alopecia can lead to permanent hair loss. It is best to nip it in the bud and change the regular hair habits that can lead to this unsightly condition.
Traction Alopecia – Hair Loss Library.com