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Battle of the Braids: Their Damage and What You Can Do About It
by April Maguire
Attention extension lovers: your braids could be doing serious damage to your hair. For years now, braids have been extremely popular, based in part on claims that they can help hair to grow. Sadly, like many beauty secrets, these claims are somewhat exaggerated. Braids don’t actually help your hair to grow, but they can aid in length retention. In other words, braids help to protect your hair so that it is less prone to breakage as it grows out.
Still, braid aficionados should be wary. While braids do offer some level of protection, they can also cause major damage. Keep the following tips in mind to protect both your hair and your favorite style:
Watch Out For Thinning Hair
Braids may not be ideal for ladies with thinning hair, as they have a tendency to cause increased hair loss in areas where follicles are weak. In fact, if your hair is thin or overly sensitive, it’s a good idea to avoid any styles that cause undue tightness or strain on your hair. Additionally, women should be on the lookout for thinning hair if they’re in the habit of continuously wearing braids without giving their hair an occasional break.
Don’t Use Long-Term Braids
While getting new braids back-to-back is potentially damaging, so is using long-term braids. In this case, “long-term” refers to braids worn for longer than six weeks. Leaving braids in for more time than that can result in matting, and women often struggle to detangle hair in the aftermath. It may be possible to avoid the worst of the damage by performing regular touch-ups. However, losing the braids periodically is the best way to give your hair and scalp time to relax.
Make Sure Your Hair Isn’t Dry
Like thinning hair, dry hair has a tendency to be weak. So it’s probably not the best idea to put added stress on dry, brittle hair by keeping it locked in a braid. Additionally, braids limit the amount of moisture that your hair can take in, which significantly increases the chance of breakage. If your hair is already dry, adding braids is only going to compound the problem.
Everyone wants to try out trendy new hairstyles. However, if your hair isn’t healthy enough to support braids, then getting them probably isn’t in your best interest. After all, it’s not worth sacrificing the long-term health of your natural hair for a style that is only temporary.
If you or someone you know would like more information about hair loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!