When you hear of traction alopecia you probably think it’s a condition that affects women but you may be surprised to learn that it affects men as well. Let’s examine what traction alopecia is and what causes it.
Traction Alopecia can occur when a severe amount of pressure is placed on the root/hair follicle which can cause hair growth to stop. As a form of alopecia, this particular condition can be difficult to cure if it isn’t caught early. Traction alopecia is a form of non-scarring hair loss predominantly affecting the hairline and is due to prolonged tension on the hair follicles.
This condition also goes by several other names known as tension alopecia, ballerina baldness, or traumatic alopecia. While people may call it several different names the official name is traction alopecia and the condition is caused from simply styling hair in tight cornrows hairstyles, man-buns or braids, or if you have continued wear of restricting headgear like a bicycle helmet. These all cause a physical pulling of the hair from the root.
One question that is often asked is, can traction alopecia be reversible? In the right circumstances, you can reverse the effects. While symptoms aren’t always going to show up with traction alopecia, there are a few things you can be looking out for that may be of concern:
- Itchy scalp or thinning hair.
- Bumps on the scalp.
- Discomfort on hair follicles after wearing a hat for long periods of time.
- Relief after untying a ponytail/ taking a braid out.
- Constant headaches for those with dreadlocks.
- Feeling the need to take painkillers to relieve hair tension.
Traction Alopecia Treatment
Of all the alopecia hair loss, traction alopecia regrowth is up there with the most difficult to treat successfully if not started in the early stages.
- Minoxidil: The most common treatment for traction alopecia. Minoxidil works by strengthening weakened hair. For best results, this topical typically is most effective when you have minor or moderate hair loss.
- Change Your Style: Somewhere between treatment and preventative method, changing your style is a mild approach to the task of stopping traction alopecia from spreading. If you’ve been wearing hair in a way that’s painful to touch, such as samurai hair knots or dreads, it’s time to change things for one of many hairstyles for hair loss prevention.
- Hair Transplant: An extreme, but a proven method. A hair transplant is probably the closest you can get to a cure for traction alopecia. The cost is more pricey than some of the other options, it’s a method that’s given proven results.
While traction alopecia and many other hair loss causes can be incredibly traumatic, there are often solutions. Taking preventative measures and opting for hairstyles that are less harmful are the first steps in prevention and treatment. You can also seek the expert advice from a hair loss specialist that knows the signs if traction alopecia and can help you address any hair loss or thinning hair issues.