Traction Alopecia is a hair loss condition whereby hair is put under extreme tension, resulting in the hair on the scalp beginning to shed. It mainly affects women as they are more likely to wear hairstyles conducive to the condition.
Where hair is subjected to prolonged or excessive tension, the hair shaft begins to be pulled, damaging the hair follicle. In the first instance, hair begins to shed, but if the tension is kept up it can eventually cause hair growth to slow, and even stop. Traction Alopecia is usually treatable, providing that the affected hair follicles are still viable when treatment is begun.
What hair styles cause Traction Alopecia?
Any hairstyle which requires a tight restraint on the hair can cause Traction Alopecia. The most common hairstyles thought to contribute to this hair loss condition are braids, cornrows, buns and hair extensions.
Braids and cornrows pulled excessively tight across the scalp can cause Traction Alopecia to present itself. The popularity of this type of style among afro-caribbean women equates a large number of Traction Alopecia sufferers. However, it can affect any person who adopts this type of hairstyle. Hair lost in this way is normally shed from around the braided area, where the tension is at its most extreme.
One rather old-fashioned nickname for Traction Alopecia is ‘Ballerina Baldness’. The name comes from the severity of a traditional ballerina’s bun, worn most days by professional ballerinas. The tight pulling of the hair to form a perfectly smooth bun is a main culprit for Traction Alopeica in adults – including men, thanks to the ‘man-bun‘.
At the other extreme, constant application of hair extensions can also cause Traction Alopecia as the weight of the artificial hair pulls on the shaft and follicle. If you frequently wear extensions, always get them fitted by a professional and take their advice on when your hair has had enough.
Is it only adults who suffer from Traction Alopecia?
Traction Alopecia also affects children, as their hair is still growing and less resilient than a fully-grown adult. Consequently, they are more prone to developing the condition if their hair is styled inappropriately. It is best to avoid hairstyles that create a pull on the scalp in children, such as ones using tight barrettes, braiding, or any of the other styles outlined above.
Once the hairstyle causing the condition is removed and the hair given some time to recover, the condition usually rights itself naturally, providing hair follicles have not been permanently damaged. The recovery period is around three months, during which time hair should be handled as little and as gently as possible.
How is Traction Alopecia treated?
Any course of treatment for Traction Alopecia should be undertaken for at least three months, as it is only across this time span that results can be fully appreciated.
The Belgravia Clinic offers a personalised treatment plan of effective medications and hair growth boosters to ensure your hair grows back at its healthiest and a progress-tracking system that uses advanced photo-scan technology so you can see the difference across the treatment period.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.