mhn news & blog

August 12, 2014

What is traction alopecia, a preventable form of hair loss, and what can you do about it?

Who Has Traction Alopecia?

Anyone can develop traction alopecia. The condition is caused by tightly pulling hair into a ponytail or braids on a consistent basis. Brushing your hair while it is wet and unconditioned can also damage your hair, causing traction alopecia. Pulling the hair damages the hair follicle. Usually, the hair will re-grow, however, if you continue to damage the follicle over long periods of time, the hair may not re-grow. A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, reports that 17% of African girls and almost 32% of African women develop traction alopecia due to the way they are styling their hair.

How can you prevent Traction Alopecia?

Knowing you need to prevent something is the first step to making a change. There are some hairstyles that are harmful to the integrity of your hair. Many people style their hair in tight ponytails or braids to ensure that it stays in place throughout the day and night. Rather than pulling your hair into the same tight styles everyday, consider varying the way that you wear your hair. The way to prevent it is to stop braiding your hair daily and wearing tight ponytails... even just a few times a week letting your hair down helps.

How can I treat Traction Alopecia?

For most women, traction alopecia occurs in the front of the head at the hairline. This is often where the hair is pulled tightest, causing damage to the follicles. There are several treatment options that are available for traction alopecia. You can use creams and ointments to soothe affected parts of the scalp and facilitate hair growth. Although creams may be helpful in the short-term, the most important change you can make is how you're caring for your hair and styling it. Changing your styling routine is the way to make long-lasting change.

Stopping traction alopecia before it damages the hair follicles is crucial. If thinning or baldness has already begun you might consider purchasing a hair restoration system or a state of the art wig. A hair system is a way to have a thick, full head of hair while your natural hair is growing in. Purchasing a hair system is a decision that requires planning and consideration. In conclusion, traction alopecia is a preventable form of hair loss that may be occurring because of your preference for a particular hairstyle that causes unnecessary tension on your hair. This will allow you to have the style you want without sacrificing the health of your hair.


Khumalo NP, Jessop S, Gumedze F, Ehrlich R. "Determinants of marginal traction alopecia in African girls and women." Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2008 Sep;59(3):432-8.