While you are tucking into your annual stack tonight, spare a thought for another kind of pancake, because it might just help you stave off a common form of hair loss.
Traction Alopecia is a well-documented hair loss condition that is caused when certain kinds of hairstyle typically tight braids and cornrows place excessive tension on the scalp. What many women discover to their peril is that it can lead to bald patches and receding around the hairline which often requires specialist help to put right.
But braid-lovers can reduce their chances of hair loss to Traction Alopecia simply by switching their styling technique to something known as pancaking. When done in a certain way, this can result in fabulous, eye-catching braids but in a way that's less likely to cause hair follicles to become overly strained or damaged.
A popular trend on Instagram, pancaking basically means loosening and flattening out the braid to give it a wider look than you would expect with a regular plait. While some style websites and YouTube tutorials advise starting with a tight braid then teasing it loose, an alternative way to get a similar look is to be little less rigorous on the scalp from the very start. Think of it as a looser braid than normal, with extra attention paid to flattening out (or “pancaking”) the hair along the way.
To avoid undue stress on the scalp, braids of any kind shouldn’t be worn every single day if you are a braid aficionado and feel lost without one, try alternating where you place the braid to give your scalp a chance to recover. The same is true of any taut hairstyles, including top knots, high ponytails and particularly wearing hair extensions.
What’s interesting is that Traction Alopecia is the only hair loss condition that is 100 per cent preventable.
In cases of hereditary hair loss, genetics is to blame. With temporary conditions such as Telogen Effluvium, we can point the finger at an underlying cause such as illness or severe stress. When it comes to Traction Alopecia, however, it is entirely the individual’s decision to regularly pursue a particular hairstyle that leads to hairloss.
The good news is that by ditching the style the moment the problem is identified and adopting a more natural look that allows the scalp to rest, things are unlikely to get worse. Although it can be tough to treat, particularly when women wait many years before seeking specialist help, the lost hair can often grow back when helped along.
Treatment for Traction Alopecia is generally based around one cornerstone treatment - high-strength minoxidil, which is applied directly to the scalp where needed - as this has frequently produced significant regrowth results for many Belgravia clients. A personalised plan individually tailored for each client by their own dedicated specialist can also incorporate hair growth boosters to help improve the hair's general health and vitality.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.