Whether short, long, bouncy, ordinary, or sleek, human hair goes beyond a bundle of multiple fibers. It is both intrinsically and extrinsically an expression of beauty, personality, and style. But what happens when you begin to lose hair due to a particular action that can be avoided and you’re not aware of?
Have you ever heard about traction alopecia? Do you know how much damage it can cause to your hair? If you do, that’s great, but are you taking preventive measures? If you don’t, you must find out before it’s too late.
Whatever category you fall into, as per your knowledge of traction alopecia, this post is for you. Here, we’ll explain what traction alopecia is, its causes, the symptoms, preventive measures, and tips to reverse it if detected on time.
What is Traction Alopecia?
Traction alopecia is an acquired type of hair loss triggered by a repetitive pull to the hair. When there is tension in the hair follicles due to a prolonged pulling of the hair, the scalp gets damaged, resulting in bald spots, short, thin, and broken hairs. It is usually seen along with the hair temples or anywhere around the hairlines.
This condition is prevalent amongst men and women with fully textured hair types. Specifically, It is usually seen amongst people who make tight hairstyles like braids, weaves, or cornrows. So, whenever you make hairstyles that pull the hair, you should know it shouldn’t stay for long before you loosen it. This way, you don’t make your hair susceptible to traction alopecia.
What are the Causes of Traction Alopecia?
Any or all of the following can cause traction alopecia:
This is a major cause of traction alopecia. From its definition mentioned above, you already know that if you avoid some types of hairstyles, you’ll avoid traction alopecia. However, if you must do styles like braids or cornrows, you must change hairstyles regularly to avoid pressure on any area of the hair scalp.
This condition mostly affects the hairline at the front and the sides. However, the position of this condition depends on the individual and the hairstyles they adopt. That’s why it affects the middle of some people’s hair.
Whenever you relax your hair and feel a stinging sensation after the application of the relaxer, what happens is an interaction of disulfide bonds. This effect essentially harms the hair and potentially signals the risk of traction alopecia. As such, chemical relaxation also causes traction alopecia.
Although its benefits are vast, constantly putting your hair in rollers overnight can also cause tensions at the scalp of the hair, which might degenerate into traction alopecia.
Tight Head Wears
Wearing some headwear that is tightened to the head for a long period can also affect the hair in a way that might lead to traction alopecia.
Symptoms of Traction Alopecia
If there are no symptoms, diagnosing traction alopecia can be very difficult. However, there are several variations as to how people feel. While some don’t show symptoms, some people do, and some of these symptoms include:
Zonal Hair loss
When you notice you’re losing hair around a spot you’ve felt or noticed inflammation, that’s a sign of traction alopecia. These spots usually look bald, and in extreme cases, get scarred.
This is characterized by constant scratching, which degenerates into wounds. Sometimes, it initially shows visible signs such as flaky skin or scabs. But, sometimes, it might not show anything, it just itches irritatingly, and this causes discomfort.
When you see a bulging part of the hair scalp showing yellowish fluids, that’s pustules. In simple terms, it’s a big pimple that’s open. Once you see this, you should know traction alopecia is around the corner.
People often attribute this to aging, hormonal imbalance, discontinued pregnancy, pill use, and extreme stress. While all these are true, they aren’t always the case. Hair thinning can signal the risk of traction alopecia. It’s an indication you can’t avoid disregarding.
Pitted Fingers and Toe Nails
As rare as this is, it is also a possibility and shouldn’t be disregarded. At this point, the fingernails and the toenails begin to change in shape and color. Later, it develops a form of sandpaper texture. If you notice this, it might be traction alopecia.
Can Traction Alopecia be Treated?
Yes! Traction Alopecia can be treated, but this comes with a condition. Traction alopecia can be treated only if it is discovered early enough. This way, any drastic damage due to untimely discovery or negligence can be avoided and treated.
How Can Traction Alopecia be Treated?
While there are so many inauthentic suggestions on the internet about traction alopecia, it’s important to discern which is right or wrong. Bearing this in mind, the first step to treating traction alopecia is to see a professional dermatologist. A seasoned dermatologist would take a biopsy to ensure the condition presented isn’t more than traction alopecia.
What usually follows are prescriptions of drugs to treat the condition. This includes:
- Antibiotics work against infections contracted through open sores on the hairline and prevent further exposure.
- Intralesional or topical steroids – these prescriptions work for inflammation around the hair scalp
- Topical antifungal medication -. This usually includes cream, powder, spray, lotion, or gel for any fungal infection.
- Biotin Supplements – This gives necessary strength to the hair that the condition must have weakened.
- Minoxidil – This is responsible for hair rejuvenation and growth.
Apart from the dermatologist’s prescriptions, another effective treatment of traction alopecia is a change of hairstyles. Similarly, if it’s too long, let your stylist cut it. What can you do if any of these treatment suggestions prove abortive? If your hair doesn’t regrow after all these, you should consider hair replacement.
Traction alopecia destroys the hair if it isn’t identified and treated on time. Don’t be one of those individuals who don’t listen to anyone, even their bodies, when it shows signs. Once you notice the signs, visit your doctor immediately.