You’ve been tying your hair everyday, trying to get it out of your face and beat the heat. But you’ve definitely noticed a lot more strands of hair around the place than usual.
You begin to wonder, is tying my hair up everyday causing me to lose hair?
If specially formulated shampoos, conditioners, or tonics don’t work, then maybe it’s time for a simpler, more affordable solution.
While tying up your hair doesn’t necessarily lead to hair loss, tying up your hair tightly for long periods of time in hairstyles like braids, buns or ponytails could be the reason for the noticeable hair loss.
This condition is called Traction Alopecia, hair loss that is developed when the hair is repeatedly pulled on. This can be made worse when your hair is chemically treated or when your hair is constantly styled with hair dryers or curling irons.
Early symptoms of traction alopecia can look like pimple-like bumps on the scalp. As the condition worsens over time, you might begin to see an increased loss of hair, especially from the front and side of your head.
Besides hair loss, traction alopecia can also cause the following symptoms:
- Itchiness and scaling
- Sores and pus-filled blisters on the scalp
- Redness of the scalp, along with bumps
- Inflammation of hair follicles (also known as “folliculitis”)
Left untreated, these symptoms can potentially cause so much damage that the hair follicles affected will not be able to produce any new hair permanently.
Traction alopecia can be developed by tying your hair too tightly, the repeated pulling on hair eventually loosening the hair shaft and making it more prone to breakage.
You are more likely to develop traction alopecia if you constantly have your hair tied tightly into a ponytail, bun or other braiding hairstyles (like cornrows and dreadlocks). If you have very long hair, you might also be at risk at developing traction alopecia as the weight of your hair can pull on your scalp, loosening the hair shaft.
While traction alopecia can affect many regardless of age, you are more likely to develop it as you age. This is because your hair could be significantly weakened and damaged, the longer it is pulled on.
To prevent traction alopecia and further hair loss from occurring, it is recommended that you not tie your hair up and wear it down as much as possible. If you have to tie your hair up, remember to tie it loosely and low on your head.
Here are some other ways to prevent hair loss caused by traction alopecia:
If you have to tie your hair up either in a bun or ponytail, try to avoid using elastic or rubber hair bands as they can pull on your hair (and can even pull out your hair entirely).
Should you need to braid your hair, make sure the braids tied are thicker as thinner braids will pull on the hair strands
Avoid using hair relaxers and avoid chemically processing your hair, as both are damaging to your hair. Prolonged usage of both will make your hair brittle and more likely to break off.
Air drying your hair after a wash is recommended, however if you do need to use a hair dryer or a hair iron, ensure that you apply heat protectant and keep the heat setting on low.
The best and easiest way to treat traction alopecia is to change your hairstyle as soon as you notice the sudden hair loss. By avoiding tying your hair up tightly and removing braided hairstyles (like cornrows or dreadlocks), your hair will begin to heal and regrow. Reducing the amount of heat and chemicals used on your hair will help speed up the healing process.
If you find that your traction alopecia is getting worse, it is recommended that you consult a medical professional who will be able to examine and order a biopsy to determine the cause of the hair loss.
Once they have determined the root cause, your doctor might be able to suggest the following medical treatments to help you with the traction alopecia:
- Prescribing topical steroids to help curb infection present in open sores
- Prescribing antibiotics to bring down the inflammation and swelling on your scalp
- Prescribing antifungal shampoos
- Suggesting biotin supplements to help strengthen and regrow your hair
If the hair loss experience is more severe, your doctor might suggest the following medical treatments:
- Prescribe topical medication to help stimulate hair growth (like Finasteride or Minoxidil)
- Suggest that hair replacement procedure might be necessary in order to prevent permanent hair loss
Should your traction alopecia and hair loss get more severe, it is advisable that you consult a doctor. Here at Zoey, our doctors are best equipped with the knowledge to help ascertain the root cause of your hair loss. They will be able to advise you on the best treatment suited for you, and can also prescribe you the right medication should you need it.