Known as traction alopecia, it is a form of hair loss that is a result of hair follicle stress during hairstyles that offer high tension. Although it is not exclusive to them, it is most common among black women. They are more prone to developing it because the regularity of times they straighten their hair and use extensions. Extensions are wonderful tools for giving women more flexibility with hair style options. For black women, hair extensions provide the most help with managing their naturally tight-curled hair easier, in addition to allowing them to reach lengths that would not be naturally.
African American hair has a shaft that is flatly shaped with a diameter that is thin and a configuration that is twisted. The diameter variations are intermittent because the curling process causes a delayed weakness on each strand. Since the curls are so tight, the hairs will wrap around each other which results in serious tangles many times. Furthermore, when hair of this type is detangled, it can break at the weakest point. The pulling of the process can also lead to stress on the follicles and extremely lead to traction alopecia.
Many African American women avoid the constant cycle of detangling their hair by having their hair straightened with chemical relaxers, set with rollers and blow-dried, or they use an oil press or hot comb on their hair. Unfortunately, each hair straightening method can inevitably lead to severe hair breakage and traction alopecia.
The degree and occurrence of African American hair loss in women is often mistaken for other hair loss types of way underestimated. Traction alopecia is known for commonly starting with the front hair line slowly leading to receding and thinning all around which makes this condition look much like male pattern baldness.
Another hair loss form can cause your hair to fall out in large clumps. This form of traction alopecia is caused by braiding too tightly (especially in children), sleeping in rollers, clip in hair extensions, pony tails pulled to tightly, or repeated use of hair extensions and weaves.
In fact, there are several female celebrities who are noted in the news for hair loss conditions. Their hair loss conditions can be attributed to wearing extensions constantly through the years. Since they are under stable pressure to look their best and have flawless hair, as a result they have severely damaged their hair follicles.
If you are trying to avoid traction alopecia:
1. Use a stylist who is qualified and reputable. A good style will know which styles you should avoid to not pull your hair too tightly. The stylist should also be able to execute any procedure involving chemicals like fitting hair extensions or coloring the hair. There are a lot of unqualified and untrained stylists offering services which leave clients with damaged hair because they lack the training necessary for knowing the consequences of their performed actions.
2. Avoid wearing hair extensions for long periods of time. The suggested length of time you should wear extensions will depend on how they were originally attached. Hair extensions that clip on are very easy to take off at the end of the day, where other methods such as gluing the strands make them stay in your hair for months. If it is possible, avoid the glue type, but if you do need extensions that are bonded, have them fitted by a trained stylist that is qualified for the attachment method being performed. Also make sure you visit the stylist each week for a hair wash because washing it yourself at home can lead to tangling which will then lead to pulling and thus stressing the hair follicle and beginning traction alopecia .
3. Another stress factor on follicles is the amount of hair used with certain forms of extensions and weaves. It does not matter what attachment method is chosen, your natural follicles and hair will carry the weight of the extensions being used. Just remember that the more weight added, the more stress being placed as the weight slowly pulls the hair from its follicle.
4. It is not a good idea to apply damaging chemicals such as colorants or relaxers to your hair more than every 4 months or even longer if you can. The chemicals are harsh and not only irritate your skin, but can also structurally damage your hair, so making it weak and porous. The hairs that are weak and porous will be the first to be dropped or fall out when you apply tension to your hair.
5. Avoid wearing your hair in tight up-dos or ponytails regularly. Up-dos, in particular, are best when saved for special occasions. Ponytails pushed tightly will apply pressure to hair follicles located on crown of your head and hairline.
6. Hair that is tightly curled should only be combed when fitted with hair conditioner. The conditioner will provide lubrication which makes the untangling process easier. If necessary, use your finger to loose knots and tangles before using a wide-tooth comb.
7. Give your hair a break and never wear rollers in your hair when you go to bed.