Hairstyles and Traction Alopecia

There are many ways to style your hair no matter what length of hair you have. For many, pulling back hair into a ponytail, a bun, or braids is a practical and stylish way to keep your hair out of your face during work, sports, or a night out. However, there are certain hairstyles that can result in traction alopecia, which is progressive hair loss caused by damage to the hair follicles.

Tight hairstyles, many of which are common among African-Americans, have been associated with traction alopecia, due to the repeated tension on the scalp. Along with the tug of hair, the weight of hair, heat, and chemicals that may be used to achieve tight braids, weaves, extensions, and knots often contribute to the development of hair loss.

Low-risk: Loose braids, hair kept down, loose buns

Moderate-risk: Straightening or permanent waving, hair extensions, and wigs

High-risk: Tight buns, chemically-straightened hair, followed by tight braids, dreadlocks, weaves, extensions

For many people, the moderate and high-risk styles allow for easy maintenance, which can be difficult to give up. For some, hairstyles may be dictated by a particular activity or sport. However, alternating between loose and tighter styles, and limiting tighter styles to shorter periods of time can help prevent hair follicles from becoming damaged.

If you have noticed hair loss, chances are your hair health is suffering. Seeking advice and treatment from an experienced board-certified dermatologist is a good first step in achieving healthier hair. For high quality care for your hair, skin, and nails, visit Dr. Juan Vaillant at Old Bridge Dermatology in Old Bridge, NJ. Dr. Vaillant has been specializing in dermatology for over 30 years and treats common conditions like acne, dandruff, hair loss, skin cancer, nail fungus, and eczema. Call us at (732) 679-0222 to schedule an appointment today!