Traction Alopecia – Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

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Traction Alopecia – Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

Undoubtedly, hair forms one of the most integral parts of an individual’s physical appearance. Any form of damage to it, including its loss, can have a drastic effect on one’s appearance. This can result in losing self confidence and depression. Unfortunately, hair loss is experienced by most men and women across the globe. There are innumerable reasons which are causes of hair loss. For instance, traction alopecia can result in losing hair among women.

Traction alopecia is a condition wherein there is excessive hair loss caused due to damage to the hair follicle. This condition, often seen on the hairline, is caused because of certain hairstyles like cornrow hair styles, very tight ponytails, braids and buns. When these hairstyles are worn repeatedly and over an extended period of time they put a lot of tension on the hair, causing chronic traction on the hair follicle.

Trichotillomania is also one type of traction alopecia. This is a mental condition wherein people have this constant urge of pulling and plucking out hair from the scalp and other body parts including the eyelashes and eyebrows.

Both children and adults battle with traction alopecia, but the condition is most prevalent in children and young adults.

Causes of Traction Alopecia

Traction Alopecia is cause due to a number of reasons including excessive use of chemicals like, bleaches and dyes, hair treatments like, thermal straightening. Regular use of chemicals could alter the hair’s keratin levels, which in turn could make the hair brittle, fragile and susceptible to breakage while brushing and combing. The following is the list of things that can lead to traction alopecia:

  • Very tight ponytails or pigtails – Many girls often tie very tight ponytails for an extended period of time. Consider cheerleaders for instance. The constant pulling of hair damage the hair follicles leading to traction alopecia.

  • Tight braids or cornrows – Parents often tie extremely tight braids of their school going girls which wreck havoc on the sensitive scalp of their child. Make sure the hair style is comfortable to your kid.

  • Extension braids – Extension braids which are glued to hair can damage the follicles big time.

  • Hair weaves or wigs attached with glue, clips or tape

  • Dreadlocks

  • Certain hair clips, slides or barrettes that hold the hair tightly and are worn in the same position on a regular basis

  • Headbands – even fabric ones – worn everyday

  • Tight headgear like cycling helmets that are worn frequently or for a longer period of time that tend to rub or pull repeatedly on the same area of scalp

  • Tight hairpieces

  • Repeated use of hair rollers

  • Repeated pulling of the hair with the hands (Trichotillomania)

Ethnicity and Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is mostly seen in African-American females because of the tight hairstyles, weaves, braids, cornrows and extensions that they constantly adorn. However, anyone who styles their hair in ways that damage the follicles and constantly pull the hair shafts can experience traction alopecia. It is also seen in men who repeatedly use hairpieces in the same location on their hair.

Symptoms of Traction Alopecia:

Apart from the obvious excessive breakage and hair loss, traction alopecia symptoms include arbitrary bald spots or patches, redness in the scalp, itchy feeling and headaches.

Traction Alopecia can be avoided by understanding some of the early symptoms are:

  • pain from the constant pulling of the hair

  • bumps on the scalp

  • spontaneous breakage of the extensions ( they fall off as the natural hair is being pulled)

By ignoring these symptoms, traction alopecia can progress to more advanced stages where hair loss is permanent

Treatment For Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia treatment can be easier if diagnosed and treated at an early stage. Unfortunately, trying to reverse this condition and treating at a very late stage is extremely difficult.

Hairstyle

One of the most important steps which one should take in order to treat or rather prevent traction alopecia is, changing the hairstyle. Adopting less stressful hairstyles which are gentle on the scalp and hair can help avert traction alopecia. If done at the earliest stage, traction alopecia can be prevented.

Hair transplant

More advanced stages of Traction Alopecia are difficult to reverse. This is is due to damage that has been inflicted on the hair follicles. At this point, a hair transplant procedure may be necessary. Hair transplant is a surgical technique of moving hair follicles from a part of the ‘donor site’ to bald or balding part of the scalp known as the ‘recipient site’.

Hair Accessories

People who do not wish to go under knife normally opt for hairpieces and accessories which can cover those patches and receding lines painlessly. Hair pieces come in different styles, colors and texture and can perfectly blend with the original hair. Also, this is relatively the cheapest option to avoid embarrassments and cover bald patches.

Micro-grafting

Hair grafting may be the only option available to reverse traction alopecia at a very late phase. Micro-Grafting was designed for Men and Women who do not choose surgery as there Hair Loss solution. Micro-Grafting is another exclusive technology available for a number of hair loss issues. This “Strand by Strand” method was created for areas on the scalp that are extremely visible to the naked eye. The attachment method is done without the use of any adhesives or heat and utilizes a barely visible “microscopic knot” at the root of your hair. Once the hair is attached, this undetectable technology looks, feels and behaves just like your own growing hair. 

Low Level Laser Light Hair Therapy

Low Level Laser Therapy is one of the most advanced and effective hair loss treatments available that can help men and women suffering from hair loss to achieve full head of hair. With “soft” laser, Low Level Laser Therapy works to stabilize further hair loss and typically stimulates hair re-growth in male and female patients.

Diet

Some or the other kind of deficiency causes hair loss. Therefore, it is essential that you include lots of veggies and fruits in your diet in order to receive all sorts of nutrients which are required for healthy hair. A diet rich in Zinc, Biotin, Protein, Vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids not only ensure the health of your hair, but aids in retaining length and the growth process itself.

  • Biotin – Enriching your daily consumption of cauliflower, cabbage, swiss chard, carrots, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, legumes, almonds, walnuts, avocados, berries, kidney beans, halibut, soybeans, salmon, tuna, yogurt and cooked eggs (yolk) can greatly improve your daily biotin intake.

  • Zinc – Egg yolks, oysters, liver, meat, wheat germ, soy, pumpkin seeds, nuts, cocoa powder, shrimp, fortified breakfast cereals and mussels are also some great additions in implementing more zinc into your diet.

  • Vitamin-E – Paprika, red chili powder, cooked taro and spinach, almonds, peanuts, sage, thyme, pine nuts, cumin, parsley, parsley, dried apricots, oregano, pickled green olives are great additions in supplying  vitamin E to your daily diet regimen.

  • Omega-3 – Salmon, flaxseed oil (seeds), fish oil, mackerel, cod, chia seeds, sardines, walnuts, butternuts and fresh parsley are some of top choices high in omega 3 fatty acids.

Massage

A regular head massage with or without oils can work wonders when it comes to encouraging the growth. Massage your scalp for five minutes twice a day and see the difference.

  • Castor oil – Castor oil is said to be the most effective and ancient source of boosting hair growth. Containing protein, minerals, anti-fungal/bacterial and germicidal properties and vitamin E aiding in eliminating dandruff, improving scalp disorders and clearing  your scalp infections, castor oil can also increase circulation of your hair follicles, stimulating growth.

  • Rosemary Oil: A multi-purpose perennial herb stemmed from the Mediterranean region, also known as Rosmarinus Officinalis not only combats premature greying and dandruff, but also cleanses the scalp due to its antibacterial properties as well as stimulating blood circulation for hair growth.