Which Hairstyles Are Best if You Have Traction Alopecia?'

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Question: I've also recently found out that I have traction alopecia, and let me tell you: IT SUCKS! I'm a Caucasian 21 year old female with really long and thick hair. And it's the constant tugging of my ponytail that's causing the alopecia. Are there any hairstyles you guys would recommend? Ones that spread the weight of my hair evenly accross the scalp? I am aware that I might need to layer and thin out my hair.. but I would like to explore all other options first.

Answer: Hi, Cassandra. This depends a lot on whereabouts your ponytail was placed and the area affected by this type of hair loss as to how might be best to wear your hair now but here is some general advice on the kindest styles.

Kind Gentle Hairstyles to Wear When You Have Traction AlopeciaThe best possible styling solution is to wear your hair down as much as possible. Letting it hang loose with no additions or accessories to weight it down or add unnecessary tension, is the kindest and most highly recommended hairstyle for anyone with Traction Alopecia.

If your hair is very long and thick, it may be wise to trim as much as you feel comfortable with off and to take some of the weight out of the rest. This does not necessarily mean getting layers, there are other techniques, such as razoring, which simply reduce the weight of the hair by lightly texturising it rather than cutting defined layers.

Ask your hairdresser for advice as to what will suit your face shape and be practical in terms of allowing you to wear your hair down every day whilst still being able to style it in a variety of ways using gentle (or no) styling products. Ask them to show you a couple of ways you could style your hair in order to switch up your look without damaging your hair further. It could be as simple as changing your parting!

If you want to keep your hair out of your face, sweep it back using an Alice band-style headband that has a smooth, flat underside, not one with teeth. Even if the underside is smooth, beware of embellished headbands such as those covered in diamante or studs for example, as the hair can easily twist itself around these and become tangled in their fixings, leading to breakage.

Another option for keeping your hair off your face and neck is to tie it gently and loosely in a silk or satin scarf. The smoothness of the fabric allows the hair to glide over it and, as long as you do not use grips or hairclips to attach the scarf - a simple knot at the nape is often sufficient - this can tie your hair in a variety of fashions without adding extra weight or tension.

Pulling the hair into a loosely tied low ponytail, bunches or very loose braid for longer hair can work for longer hair, particularly if it is thick, as you mention yours is. Secure with a soft, fabric-covered tie - a scrunchie is ideal here. Be careful, however, not to wear this type of style too often and to always let your hair down at night.

Ideally let your hair rest as often as possible by wearing it down the following day if you have worn it in any of these secured types of hairstyles, and generally treat your hair with TLC.

Other tricks for coping with this type of hair loss include sleeping on a silk pillowcase, avoiding all the known hairstyles that can cause Traction Alopecia and getting regular intensive conditioning treatments to help nurse your hair back to health. In terms of dealing with the actual hair loss, a specialist will be able to tailor a personalised traction alopecia treatment plan to your specific needs, featuring high strength minoxidil and a range of boosters such as Hair Vitalics in order to promote regrowth and restore the hair's vitality.

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