Hair Woes: Treating Traction Alopecia
They say your hair is your crowning glory, this I know to be true. It is why issues like receding hairline and thinning hair can be distressing and even depressing for many women. Receding hairline is not as common in women as it is in men but traction alopecia is.
What is traction alopecia? It is damage to the hair caused by excessive pulling on the natural hair follicle. Ballerinas, gymnasts and weave wearers are some of the women that suffer from this condition.
In my early twenties, I used to change my weave every week to every two weeks. I got bored very quickly and always wanted a new hairstyle, little did I know that the frequent change which meant continuous pressure on my scalp was causing strain and damage to my hair and hairline.
While receding hairline is in my genetics, something I inherited from my mum who inherited it from her dad the lack of care for my hair over the past decade has resulted in traction alopecia. However, I am taking steps to restore my hairline and this article is for those like me who are suffering from traction alopecia or are on the verge due to improper hair care – there is still hope!
Since you now know what traction alopecia is, you must also know that pulling your hair in a tight bun continuously affects your hairline, same as with tight cornrows and weaves. Extensions and anything artificial in your hair attached using glue, tape, rings will also cause damage over time, just look at Naomi Campbell and Britney Spears.
If you’ve lost your hair to traction alopecia and don’t have a budget for a hair transplant, follow these six steps and you should see some improvement in three to six months:
1. Avoid using chemicals on your hair – I recently joined the natural hair gang because I felt that even though relaxing my hair made it softer and more manageable, it was doing more damage to my hair than good. Your hair also grows a lot thicker and healthier when you skip relaxing. If you are going to ignore my advice and keep relaxing then make sure you give your hair two weeks to recover from a hairdo before you relax and another two weeks after relaxing before you put any sort of pressure on it.
3. Don’t plait your hair so tight that you have to take Panado – If you’re experiencing pain while doing your hair, let your hairstylist know. Don’t choose having your hairdo “last longer” over losing your hair. Whether you’re doing braids, cornrows or a weave, make sure your hair isn’t pulled too tight.
4. Let your hair breathe – Having your hair in different hairstyles without giving your hair follicles a break is the reason why people suffer from traction alopecia. After every braid, weave or cornrow, give your hair a treatment and wait two weeks before doing another hairdo.
5. Invest in a wig – Whether it’s synthetic or human hair, wigs are THE best protective styles ever. You can take it off every night with little pressure to your hair.
6. T44Z – Use T44Z hair food on any bald spots once or twice a day. It really does do wonders. There are other natural remedies but T44Z has worked very well for me and I highly recommend it even though it is on the pricey side. I’m not sure what the current price is but when I purchased it two years ago, it was about R345.
These steps have helped restore some of my hair, I hope it helps you as much as it helped me. If you have a severe case of traction alopecia then I’d recommend a visit to your local dermatologist.
Leave me a comment if you have any recommendations for treating traction alopecia or would like to see more hair posts.