Is Traction Alopecia Reversible?

The most com­mon ques­tion asked by peo­ple diag­nosed with trac­tion alope­cia is, “is it reversible?” The answer is, as always in such cases, “it depends”. The good news: When caught early enough, trac­tion alope­cia is indeed treat­able and reversible.

Trac­tion alope­cia is caused by wear­ing your hair in styles that exert too much pull on the hair shafts and even­tu­ally dam­ag­ing the hair fol­li­cles. Unlike many other forms of hair loss, it is not a direct result of emo­tional stress, poor dietary habits, hor­monal imbal­ances or genet­ics (although those can affect the strength and dura­bil­ity of the hair overall).

Since pull on the hair is the only under­ly­ing cause of this con­di­tion, it is much eas­ier to treat than other forms of hair loss. If you have estab­lished that you are suf­fer­ing from trac­tion alope­cia and not from another form of hair loss, the first thing to do is to stop wear­ing your hair in the style that is so insult­ing to your hair, so that you can pre­vent fur­ther dam­age and start grow­ing healthy hair again.

No hair re-growth treat­ment will work as long as the cause of the con­di­tion has not been removed, in this case – the hair­style. It’s impor­tant to be diag­nosed by a pro­fes­sional before decid­ing on a course of treat­ment. If you are already suf­fer­ing from over­all hair loss, trac­tion alope­cia will aggra­vate it. So, it is wise to stop wear­ing hair­styles, such as weaves and clip-on hair exten­sions – often used to dis­guise other forms of hair loss.

Once the cause has been removed, it’s then time to treat the symp­toms by using top­i­cal treat­ments in the affected areas to help the fol­li­cles recover. For the best chance of revers­ing the effects of trac­tion alope­cia, you need to start treat­ment as soon as hair loss is noticed.

If scar­ring hasn’t occurred, you will be able to reverse the results of the con­di­tion, allow­ing new hair to grow. There are

Bhringaraj is an excel­lent herbal alter­na­tive to minoxidil

many types of treat­ments that can be used, both herbal hair loss treat­ments and chemical-based treat­ments. They come in the form of ton­ics, sprays, lotions, sham­poos and oils. Herbal treat­ments include Bhringaraj oil which has been used in Ayurvedic med­i­cine for thou­sands of years to treat baldness.

Many hair loss treat­ments aimed at treat­ing male and female pat­tern bald­ness can also be used to treat trac­tion alope­cia in both men and women. Pre­ferred treat­ments are those that tar­get the fol­li­cles them­selves and work to revive and stim­u­late them to pro­duce new hairs.

If minor skin irri­ta­tion appears as a result of the con­di­tion itself, or the treat­ment, doctor-prescribed steroids should be able to clear it. Of course, dis­con­tinue any treat­ment that causes severe irri­ta­tion and always read the instruc­tions and con­traindi­ca­tions in full before com­menc­ing treatment.

Keep in mind that, although reversible, trac­tion alope­cia takes time to heal. A period of 4–6 months is nor­mal before fol­li­cles fully recover and the hair begins to look nat­ural again. In some cases, the hair can recover with­out treat­ment, although trac­tion alope­cia treat­ments have been shown to speed up recov­ery times and the over­all con­di­tion of the hair.

In severe cases, where trac­tion alope­cia was not caught and treated quickly enough, it may be harder, or even impos­si­ble, to achieve full recov­ery using stan­dard hair loss treat­ments. In such cases, hair trans­plants may be the only answer.


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