Tottenham Hotspur and Cameroon left back Benoît Assou-Ekotto is almost as well known for his crazy hairstyles as his footballing ability. The 27-year-old player has a long history of creative hair cuts, braids, cornrows and even a full ‘skin head’ at one point. All of which attracts great affection from Spurs fans and total derision from opposition supporters.
Born in France, Assou-Ekotto began his first-team footballing career at French side RC Lens in 2003 going on to play in 66 games over the next three seasons. During his time at Lens, Assou-Ekotto earned a reputation as being one of the best left backs playing in France at the time.
It was therefore unsurprising that the Premier League came knocking, with Tottenham Hotspur finally signing him in 2006. Despite a long period sidelined due to injury, Assou-Ekotto has gone on to make 117 appearances for Spurs and also broken into the Cameroon international team for whom he has played 19 times to date.
Hairstyle-related hair loss
Amongst the less soccer-minded however, Assou-Ekotto’s outlandish hairstyles have helped raise his profile. His current style featuring tight zig-zag braids across the top of his head, gathered into a massive fluffy ponytail is striking to say the least. However, such a hairstyle also puts Assou-Ekotto’s hair growth at risk.
By their very nature tight braids and cornrows place each strand of hair under extreme tension to keep the braid in position. During the styling process, people will feel varying degrees of pain as the hair is pulled and gathered. As with anything in life, pain is usually an indicator that all is not well.
Placing hair under tension for extended periods of time, particularly when the hair is pulled at the root, can have long lasting consequences. As the shaft of the hair is pulled and twisted, it can damage the follicle which can result in hair loss. Repeated damage to the follicle can then slow or prevent future hair growth. In extreme cases hair loss as a result of the follicle damage can be permanent.
Damage to the hair follicle in this manner is known as traction alopecia and is common in people like Assou-Ekotto who place their hair under constant tension. In addition to cornrows and braids, hair weaves and extensions are also known to increase the risk of experiencing traction alopecia.
Dealing with Traction Alopecia
For these reasons, hair loss experts at The Belgravia Centre recommend that people take a break in between courses of extensions or braids to give their scalp and follicles a chance to recover. Tension headaches, patches of hair loss or a painful scalp are all early indications that something is amiss and that the time to take preventative action against hair loss has arrived.
It is also strongly recommended that professional advice is sought to slow and reverse any hair loss which has already taken place. Although few people elect for hair styles as extreme as Assou-Ekotto, the potential for hair loss brought on by braiding should not be underestimated.
If you are concerned about hair loss for any reason, regardless of your hairstyle or footballing ability, contact us for a free consultation or fill in our online diagnostic form for an individually tailored hair loss treatment programme.