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How do I know if I have traction alopecia?

29 April 2022


How do I know if I have traction alopecia?

Women with medium or long hair often use braids, buns or ponytails to gather their hair so that they can comfortably go about their daily activities. Additionally, the heat is a factor that forces them to use these accessories in order to withstand the high temperatures.

However, the abuse of intense hairstyles, braids, braids or ponytails with a lot of pressure are detrimental to hair health. This is because the use of these implements exerts tension or traction on the scalp causing the hair to fall out.

What is traction alopecia in women?

This type of alopecia is caused by excessive hair tension due to certain hairstyles. It is a different condition from androgenic alopecia (the most common), as no hormonal factors are involved in its development. 

Traction alopecia is mainly due to repetitive and excessive hair pulling.

This condition occurs mostly in women, although men and children can also be affected. 
Generally, anyone who resorts to daily or excessive use of ponytails, buns, braids or updos can suffer from traction alopecia.

This pressure and tension on the hair ends up damaging the hair follicles; when the hair is stretched for a long period of time, it loses strength and the hair follicle loosens, causing it to fall out.

How do I know if I have traction alopecia?

To know if you have traction alopecia, it is necessary to know some of the symptoms of this condition, among which stand out:

  • Excessive hair loss: hair loss is the main effect produced by traction alopecia. It should be noted that the hair loss pattern of this type of alopecia is different from other common alopecias.In this sense, hair loss occurs in the areas where tension has occurred. The areas that are most affected are the sides and the front.
  • Hair pain: This is a sensation of hair pain when you let go of a hairstyle that you have been wearing for a long time. This symptom is one of the symptoms you feel with traction alopecia; it is an effect that occurs before and during hair loss.
  • Feeling relief when undoing a hairstyle: related to the previous point, removing a tight hairstyle will make you feel relieved of this discomfort. Initially, when you move the hair from one side to the other you will notice some discomfort, but with loose hair you will no longer feel the sensation of hair pain.
  • Reddening of the scalp: Excessive pressure and tightness can cause inflammation and redness of the scalp, if you have these symptoms you may be dealing with traction alopecia.

Is traction alopecia reversible?

The most important question that many people ask about traction alopecia is whether there is a cure for this condition. It should be noted that hair loss caused by this hair pathology is reversible in most cases.

For this reason, hair loss due to traction alopecia can be solved by simply stopping wearing tight hairstyles, avoiding the use of ponytails, braids and buns. 

However, if you don't take enough care of yourself, hair loss caused by traction alopecia could be permanent.

Ways to prevent traction alopecia

Now that you know the symptoms of traction alopecia, if you suffer from this condition with these recommendations it will be much easier to avoid and prevent it. Here are some ways to prevent your hair from falling out:

Alternate hairstyles so you don't put tension on your hair

If you know that tight hairstyles are the ones that cause traction alopecia, we recommend alternating hairstyles. If one day you wear your hair in a tight ponytail, the next day wear your hair loose so your scalp can rest.

Use tousled updos to avoid this alopecia

An excellent alternative is the tousled updos, if you do not want to wear your hair loose you can make ponytails, buns or loose braids with loose hair, simulating a casual effect. This way your hair will be tied up, but with less tension than in other cases.

Be careful with hair extensions

If you want to take care of your hair health, it is best to be cautious when using hair extensions, the ideal is to use these accessories in short periods of time, so they do not damage and weaken your natural hair.

Avoid sleeping with curlers

One way to improve your hair health is to avoid sleeping with curlers, as they cause a lot of tension if they are kept for hours at a time. Nowadays, there are hair products on the market that you can use to define your curls, whether it be mousses, serums, masks or a hair dryer diffuser.