Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that results from subjecting the hair to excessive pulling force. It is usually caused by overstyling of the hair with tight buns and braids, but can also be caused by trichotillomania (a mental illness that causes people to compulsively pull out their hair) and excessive use of hair chemicals. It is usually a short-term condition and can easily be reversed if the action causing it is stopped.
Stop braiding your hair or wearing it in ponytails and buns. Keeping your hair tightly bound for long periods of time is a leading cause of traction alopecia. The constant tension involved in braiding and other similar hairstyles can damage the dermal papilla and hair follicle, causing hair to stop growing.
Stop using harsh chemicals. Bleaching your hair and using dyes and/or hair-straightening chemicals can weaken the tensile strength of your hair and cause it to detach and fall out more easily. Once this happens, even normal brushing and combing can cause hair to fall out.
Don't pull your hair. If you are yanking out clumps of hair, see a doctor, as you may have a mental illness called trichotillomania, which leads to compulsive hair pulling. If that is the case, you will need counseling and treatment. Other conditions, such as severe stress, could also cause you to pull your hair out. Whatever the case may be, a doctor can make a diagnosis and recommend treatment.
Get a hair transplant. According to to traction-alopecia.com, there is no medical treatment to reverse late-stage traction alopecia. If you have a spot where your hair has permanently stopped growing, your only option is a hair graft or transplant, in which healthy hair from another part of the head is transplanted to the spot or spots where hair has stopped growing.
Tips & Warnings
- In the U.S., traction alopecia is most common in African-American women, largely due to the hairstyles they favor.
- The longer you go without changing the habits that lead to traction alopecia, the more likely you are to wind up with permanent hair loss.
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