Stop Hair Loss Caused by Tight Hair Styles

Edited by Donna, Eng, Lolexxer, Anonymous

Hair loss caused by tight hairstyles is also known as traction alopecia. Traction means "to pull" and in this case the hair strand is pulled by braids, weaves or hair accessories that cause stress on the hair follicle. Hair follicles root individual strands of hair in place on the scalp and if they become irritated, inflamed or lack blood flow, hair falls out. It is important to be aware of this condition, which can restrict blood circulation to the scalp and cause scarring that can cause permanent hair loss.

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Some popular hairstyles can cause balding at the site at where the hair is parted.

Here are some ways that you can stop or reverse balding caused by tight hairstyles:

  1. 1
    Avoid vigorous combing and brushing of the hair, especially when it is wet.
    Tugging at hair with a brush or a comb can irritate your hair follicles and inflamed hair follicles are more prone to losing their strands. Often this type of hair loss comes with vigorous combing that comes with picking lice out of hair or chewing gum out of tangled hair.
    Avoid pulling on tangled wet hair with any kind of grooming tool or you could lose hair.
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  2. 2
    Always use a conditioner or detangler on your hair when it is wet.
    If your hair tends to get natty or tangled after a shampoo, use a product to help smooth the bristles of the brush or comb through your locks. A healthy alternative to using a commercial detangler is coconut oil. Simply smooth the oil on your tangled locks and run the comb gently through. If your hair gets a knot in it, try and pull it gently apart with your fingers before running the comb through it.
    Coconut oil is a great natural detangler that can help prevent traction injuries to the scalp.
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  3. 3
    Avoid wearing your hair in a ponytail or a bun.
    When hair is pulled back there is more tension on hair follicles at the margins of the scalp, which can cause hair loss and a receding hair line. Twirling your hair into a bun on top of the head can cause a condition called horseshoe alopecia. It does not matter if you are using a big plastic clip or an elastic band, you are at risk of hair loss if you wear a tightly pulled back hairstyle.
    Using tiny elastics that pull the hair upwards can be very stressful for hair follicles and cause hair loss.
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  4. 4
    Wearing a plastic clip is preferable to using an elastic tie for your hair.
    Choose a larger plastic clip instead of a metal one as that is less stressful on the hair strands. The larger the space is between the prongs clasping the hair on the clip is, the less likely you are to cause traction alopecia.
    Plastic hair clips are usually gentler on the hair than metal clips.
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  5. 5
    If you must tie your hair back, use a scrunchies or soft elastic bands instead of rubber elastics to tie your hair.
    If you must pull your hair back with an elastic be sure to use a soft thick padded one or a scrunchie, which is an elastic band covered with ruffled soft satin or cotton fabric.
    Wearing a scrunchie in your hair is preferable to wearing an elastic to help protect your hair and scalp from traction damage.
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  6. 6
    If you are going to wear a bun or ponytail, make sure it is very loose.
    Signs that you might be wearing a ponytail that is too tight include headache, burning feeling at the hair roots and an itchy scalp. If you must wear a ponytail, wear it tied at the nape of your neck and not. The less pull upwards on you hair follicles with a hair implement the better.
    A loose low pony tail is the safest way to wear your hair if you want to avoid traction damage to hair follicles.
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  7. 7
    Avoid wearing barrettes, combs and clips to pull your hair back.
    Any hair accessory that pulls the hair back can scrape hair follicles at the site where they are clipped and also pull on scalp hairs and cause hair loss. Avoid tiny clips or barrettes that can pinch the scalp. Avoid heavy big barrettes or clip on hairbands that have enough weight on them to pull hair out of the head.
    Heavy hair pieces should only be worn for a short time on special occassions to reduce the risk of hair loss.
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  8. 8
    Choose bobby pins with a plastic tip.
    If you must use bobby pins, choose the type that has the metal tip covered with a tiny blob of plastic. Avoid the sharper bobby pin that is just bare metal. Avoid hair damage from traction by not putting too much hair in each clasp of the pin.
    Bobby pins with sharp metal edges can harm the scalp and cause traction damage.
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  9. 9
    Be cautious when rolling your hair with plastic curlers.
    These curlers are rolled onto the scalp while wet, which in itself can cause hair loss. Sometimes called, brush curlers, these rollers can cause pulling on the hair and patches of hair loss as you sleep on the curlers overnight. If you must use manual methods of curling your hair like this, try to wear them in your hair for the least time possible.
    Try to wear curlers during the day as sleeping on them can cause traction damage.
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  10. 10
    Avoid tight braiding or cornrow hair styles.
    These types of hair styles, especially if they are too tight, cause a widening of hair parts. Consider letting your hair lie naturally, especially if you have already noticed the symptoms of hair loss occurring where you part your hair.
    Tight braids can cause permanent hair loss at any age.
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  11. 11
    Avoid wearing hair extensions.
    Hair extensions are longer pieces of fake or human hair that are attached to existing hair with either hot or cold glue and thread. Sometimes they are attached to the head with clips. Either way, hair extensions add extra weight to existing hairs and cause the roots to be pulled upon. The process of getting the extensions is just as bad as wearing them as there is a lot of pulling on the hair to get it in position for the gluing and tying that is part of attaching the hair pieces.
    Whether clipped in or glued in hair extensions cause hair follicles great stress.
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  12. 12
    Avoid hair weaves.
    Hair weaves, although designed sometimes to conceal balding patches on the head, can also accelerate it through the tension it causes on hair follicles. A micro mesh with hair in it is placed on the scalp and then your own hair is pulled through the mesh and sealed to it with heat and glue. Then hair extensions are woven through the mesh to add volume and length. These meshes add even more weight to the woven in hairs and can cause permanent baldness. The problem with this hair loss solution is that it eventually causes hair loss.
    A temporary hair weave is gentler on the scalp then a mesh one that is meant to stay in place for two years.
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  13. 13
    Be aware that full or partial wigs can also cause traction hair loss.
    These are hair pieces that are attached to your real hair with clips that pull on your existing hair and cause problems.
    Wigs and partial wigs can also cause hair loss.
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Tips and Tricks

  • African-American women tend to experience this type of traction hair loss as centrifugal cicatricle alopecia, meaning that the hair loss starts at the top of the crown
  • Women with Type II Diabetes need to avoid hair weaves as they are more prone to fungal infections and the meshes that sit on top of the head are not removed for as long as two years

Questions and Answers

I wore a lot of sew in weaves. Now the right side of hair is all gone. How can I get it back?

I decided to stop wearing weave. However because I do not want to walk around with my hair loss; I decided to wear a lace front wig when I go out. Inside I let my hair breathe. I wash it every day with selsun blue shampoo.

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Article Info

Categories : Hair Loss

Recent edits by: Lolexxer, Eng, Donna

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