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Certain Hairstyles May Lead to Hair Loss
by Jane Meggitt
Some of the most beautiful and intricate hairstyles found in the black community may lead to later hair loss. That’s according to a study published April 27 in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology.
Traction alopecia is hair loss caused by constant tension over time. A very high percentage of African-American women will eventually suffer from traction alopecia, with approximately one-third of black American females losing hair to this condition. If they’ve chemically straightened their hair, they’re more likely to develop traction alopecia. Hairstyles with the greatest potential to cause baldness include:
- Constant use of rollers
- Any tight hairpiece.
In a worst-case scenario, traction alopecia causes not only balding but scarring in the affected area.
Central Cicatricial Centrifugal Alopecia
Black women who have chemically straightened their hair and choose styles with constant tension may develop central cicatricial centrifugal alopecia, in which hair loss is far more extensive. The use of dyes along with tension styles can also cause CCCA. The hair loss may occur gradually or rapidly. Victims may experience burning, pain, inflammation and pimples at the site. Treatment may last up to a year, and includes anti-inflammatories and steroids. However, CCCA destroys the hair follicle, so it will never grow back.
Man Buns and Other Tense Styles
While traction alopecia occurs more frequently among African-American women, anyone whose hairstyle results in steady pressure on the roots is vulnerable. The so-called “man bun” causes this constant pull, and ballerinas who typically wear buns while dancing may experience hair loss. It’s true of any tight ponytail or braid worn long-term. Even keeping hair out of your face via tight barrettes can result in balding.
Hair Loss Locations
Balding areas appear where tension is tightest. For cornrows, that generally means hair loss along the part line. For other styles, hair loss usually occurs at the sides of the head, behind the ears and the temples.
Weighing the Risks
If you want a beautiful hairstyle, but don’t want to endanger your hair, there are options. Switch back and forth between styles, rather than constantly relying on a style that puts pressure on the roots. Avoid harsh chemicals or dyes on your hair. If you do notice any hair loss, get rid of the tension-producing hairstyle and make an appointment with a dermatologist. When caught early, traction alopecia is treatable, and possibly reversible.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hair loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!