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All About Traction Alopecia

Posted on January 04 2019

 Hair loss is something every woman hopes to prevent. Typically, we consider hair loss a medical issue or a side effect of aging. Believe it or not, certain hairstyles, treatments, or even accessories can cause hair loss.  Traction alopecia is a very real concern.

Unlike alopecia areata, traction alopecia is not an autoimmune disorder. Traction alopecia is not caused by anything medical. Rather, it is an environmental condition, triggered by the care of the hair. While it may not be a health problem, it can be devastating psychologically.

The good news is that traction alopecia is typically reversible, especially if caught early. Read on for more information on the condition and traction alopecia regrowth.

Signs and Symptoms

How do you know if your hair loss is traction alopecia? Here are signs to look for.

  • A noticeably receding hairline, either at the forehead or the nape of the neck
  • Small painful ulcers or blisters on scalp, especially at the base of a braid or ponytail
  • A widening hair part
  • Patches of broken hair or no hair
  • Patches of scarred, hairless skin – this is the most obvious of the signs of permanent traction alopecia

Causes

Knowing the causes of traction alopecia is important to begin the reversal or even prevent hair loss.

 

  • Hairstyles – Tightly pulled hairstyles tend to be the main culprit. This includes ponytails, buns, dreadlocks, or braids. This condition is common among ballerinas, for example, because they regularly pull their hair into tight topknots.
  • Extensions or Weaves – Glued-in or tied extensions or weaves can cause stress on the hair root. Clip-in extensions should be moved to a slightly new area each time they are used. Use of extensions should be stopped if hair loss occurs. 
  • Treatments – Relaxer and other chemical treatments change the structure of the hair follicle, leaving it vulnerable to breakage.
  • Accessories – Tight headwear or any hair accessory that pulls the hair can cause damage if used repeatedly.

Prevention and Treatment

First and foremost, anyone suffering from traction alopecia needs to focus on preventing any more damage. If caught and treated early, traction alopecia can be completely reversed and hair can be regrown. Once scarring has occurred, hair growth becomes nearly impossible.

To prevent traction alopecia, consider your regular hairstyle. It’s important to change your hairstyle up every few weeks to give your hair a break. This could mean drastically changing your look, but it's better than permanent hair loss.

  • Avoid too tight ponytails or buns and go with an elastic-free hair tie.
  • Stop chemically relaxing or perming your hair.
  • If you wear extensions or a weave, take them out for a break every few weeks.
  • You want to make sure to facilitate traction alopecia regrowth before the signs of permanent traction alopecia set in.

It’s important to remember to not seek out a quick fix. Once the damaging causes are stopped, the hair will begin to grow back normally. For permanent damage, hair plugs or transplants are an option, albeit an invasive one. If you are just growing hair back, give it time. A hairpiece or topper is a great alterative to hair transplants. They are noninvasive and cost-effective, making them a great solution while waiting on hair regrowth or coverage for permanent hair loss.

If you need a great topper to cover regrowth, look into the easiPart HD XL 18” topper. It adds amazing volume and length. The easygoing wave of the Top Wave 12” by Jon Renau is a great choice for shorter cuts. To find the perfect piece for you, be sure to browse our hairpiece collection.

 

 

Have you experienced traction alopecia? We want to hear your story. Let us know in the comments!

4 comments

  • The Wig Experts: January 11, 2019

    Kim,

    You have come to the right place! There are many different options for you. Depending on how much hair loss you have, we have toppers and top pieces that range in amount of coverage, from minimal to medium, and then wigs can cover up to total hair loss. With monofilament, lace front and human hair and synthetic options, we can help you find exactly what you need while looking natural and beautiful. Please give us a call so we can give you a personalized consultation!

    800-581-2001 | M-F 8:00am – 6:30pm (CST)

  • The Wig Experts: January 11, 2019

    Paula,

    Luckily, there are many options for you for coverage. Is the hair loss you have just around the ears? If you have enough hair on the top of your head to clip in a hair piece, you can get a good amount of coverage with a hair topper, without having to wear a full wig. Please browse our toppers and top pieces to see if this might be something you are interested in.

    https://www.wigs.com/collections/hair-pieces

    If these don’t look to be enough coverage, we would love for you to give us a call for a personalized consultation.

    800-581-2001 | M-F 8:00am – 6:30pm (CST)

  • Kim Williams : January 11, 2019

    Wow! I starting getting bald spots its allful! Dont go out until it’s dark out! Sum of the spots hair is growing back in! I thought it was stress after losing a husband and son it finally all started growing back I was so happy now it has happened again alot worse this time I have spent so much on stuff to make it grow back! Wigs that never look like picture I’m getting to the point of giving up! Any suggestions? Thanks for letting me vent

  • Paula Williams: January 11, 2019

    Hello
    Happy New Year
    I have stopped relaxing my hair over a few years now. My very thick hair has gotten thin and the two side by my ears ther fell out. This makes me so unhappy. I had gotten injection at that site for a few month but I don’t see that it helps, I think it got worst. I wear wigs sometimes I really don’t care for them, any way I would like something like a clip in or something for the sides. What your recommendation.

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