The Causes of Hair Loss By Traction Alopecia

Trac­tion alope­cia is form of hair loss result­ing in bald patches where the scalp Clip on hair extensions can lead to thinning hairhas been dam­aged. It often found in women who wear tight hair styles, which require exten­sive pulling on hair fol­li­cles, and users of hair exten­sions. While not per­ma­nent, the scalp may take months or even years to fully recover from the dam­age it has received.

The causes of hair loss of this kind are var­ied, but each type results in the same inflam­ma­tion of the scalp and dam­age to the fol­li­cles. The main cause of trac­tion alope­cia is a defor­ma­tion of the hair fol­li­cles, which occurs due to pulling, ten­sion and exces­sive weight on the hair.

The nat­ural growth cycle for a hair fol­li­cle involves going into a peri­odic dor­mant state, dur­ing which time the fol­li­cle repairs itself. When the fol­li­cle is deformed, the dor­mant state is length­ened; and some­times becomes per­ma­nent. In these sit­u­a­tions, the roots weaken and the hair no longer grows.

As a direct result of many fol­li­cles going into a pro­longed dor­mant state, bald patches appear. This is known as trac­tion alope­cia. In addi­tion, the scalp will often become itchy and inflamed in the area where the dam­age has been caused; which in itself can lead to fur­ther dam­age due to scratch­ing and rubbing.

Pulling on the Hair Follicles

One of the main causes of hair loss in suf­fer­ers of trac­tion alope­cia is down to exces­sive pulling on the hair, and thus on the hair fol­li­cles.  Hair­styles such as pony­tails, which pull hair tightly at the crown, exert a lot of pres­sure on the hair fol­li­cles, which lead them to deform.

Pulling on the hair fol­li­cles is also caused by an exces­sive hair styling regime that Tight buns place tension on the hair follicles around the hairlinerequires a lot of comb­ing and teas­ing of the hair in order to cre­ate the right look. When you wear a style like that, con­sider tak­ing a few days off and let­ting your hair recover after­wards; to give your hair a chance to recover.

Ten­sion on the hair

Ten­sion on the hair is a major hair loss con­di­tion because it actively deforms the hair fol­li­cle. Ten­sion is caused by pulling on the hair through tight weaves, and also by adding weight to the hair; as occurs when using hair extensions.

Tight weave braid­ing, whether for hair exten­sions or sim­ply as part of a hair style, involves hold­ing each strand of hair under sig­nif­i­cantly increased ten­sion. This pulls on the roots of the hair and, when the hair grows, the ten­sion is only increased. The tighter the braids and the closer the braids are knit to the scalp, the more ten­sion the hair is under.

This results in dam­aged hair fol­li­cles, weaker hair roots and, even­tu­ally, bald patches caused by trac­tion alopecia.

Exces­sive weight on the hair

Hair fol­li­cles are not designed to carry a lot of weight. The scalp sprouts hair that it can carry but any extra weight placed on the hair can over­load the fol­li­cles in the scalp; which causes defor­ma­tion of the fol­li­cles and thus leads to baldness.

Extra weight is placed on the hair by attach­ing hair exten­sions. Exten­sions can be added using a vari­ety of meth­ods, from tra­di­tional beeswax and mod­ern glues; to braid­ing the exten­sions into the hair; or even tightly braid­ing the nat­ural hair and stitch­ing the exten­sions into the braids. Each attach­ment method adds weight to the hair, which pulls on the follicles.

Scratch­ing and Rubbing

One source of trac­tion alope­cia that is often over­looked is due to mechan­i­cal dam­age to the scalp in the form of scratch­ing and rub­bing. Rub­bing often occurs where tightly-fitted hel­mets are worn, such as crash hel­mets and safety hel­mets worn in the work­place. These press onto the scalp and rub both the scalp itself and any hair caught between scalp and hat.

Sim­i­larly, when the head is scratched repeat­edly and on a reg­u­lar basis, as can hap­pen with an inflamed scalp caused by exces­sive hair styling, the hair is put under pres­sure and the dam­age to the scalp is exacerbated.

The result is that the hair is con­tin­u­ally pulled while under pres­sure, and the scalp is inflamed. As with pulling and ten­sion due to hair­styling, this causes dam­age to the hair fol­li­cles and trac­tion alope­cia can occur as a direct result.

The causes of hair loss by trac­tion alope­cia are var­ied but their effects on the scalp are sim­i­lar. Each of the var­i­ous causes dam­ages the hair fol­li­cles, deform­ing them and caus­ing their dor­mant phases to elon­gate. The hair roots become weaker and the hair will even­tu­ally either snap or sim­ply fall out, at which point bald spots begin to appear. The only solu­tion is to give the scalp time to heal itself; a process that can be sped up by using inter­nal and exter­nal treat­ments for trac­tion alope­cia hair loss.


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