Traction Alopecia: Everything You Need To Know
Having an understanding of Traction Alopecia is important in treating it. Traction Alopecia is the condition of hair loss in areas where tight braiding or pulling has occurred over time. Traction Alopecia takes various forms, most commonly involves painless gradual diffuse hair thinning and sometimes scarring which is permanent. Traction alopecia also leads to folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle), sinus tracts, pustules and keloid scars that may result in infection and/or cysts, but that can be treated with antibiotics or surgical intervention.
Why Does It Occur?
Traction alopecia occurs when too much tension is applied to the hair shaft for an extended period of time. Traction alopecia can affect any hair-bearing surface where trauma is created by tension. The most commonly affected areas include the scalp, face, and neck hairline. Traction Alopecia has been seen to be more common among African Americans, due to the fact that they have a curlier texture of hair with a larger diameter than other ethnicities causing them to put more stress on their hair follicles.
Traction alopecia is a process that begins when the pulling force applied to the hair is greater than the force applied by regrowth at the root. This can lead to anagen effluvium (hair loss during the growth phase), catagen phase (hair loss during the transition phase), and/or telogen effluvium (hair loss during the resting phase). Traction alopecia can worsen as a result of chemical damage from relaxers or dyes that break down the strength of hair.
Hairstyles That Contribute To Traction Alopecia
Traction Alopecia is caused by overuse, tight hairstyles such as cornrows, weaves and extensions which exert constant tension on follicles and disrupt normal hair growth. Constant pulling and tension results in gradual thinning and weakening of the strand. Traction alopecia is not considered to be caused by an inflammatory process; rather, it arises due to constant tension on the hairs’ roots that can cause the hairs to stop growing. Traction alopecia can also be caused by repetitive hairstyles that require tight braiding or pulling. Traction alopecia is known to be one of the most common causes of hair loss in African American women, who have demonstrated higher rates of the condition than other ethnic groups. This may be attributed to their naturally tighter, coiled texture of hair which makes it more difficult for them to grow long hair and maintain it without causing tension on the follicles.
Standard methods used are trichogram, phototrichogram, dermoscopy, optical coherence tomography (OCT), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Traction alopecia is known to be self-limiting, with the hair returning to its normal texture over time. However it can also lead to permanent scarring of the scalp. Traction Alopecia can be treated using steroid injections into the affected area or by having a doctor prescribe oral medication that will block testosterone production. Traction alopecia is most commonly seen in African American women who have suffered from tight braids for years.
Achieve Regrowth with Biotin Serum
Sometimes, the effects of Traction Alopecia can be reversed. This is especially true if the hair loss is recent. The first step to regrowing hair lost is to eliminate the cause, which in this case is the tight hairstyles or chemical treatments. Secondly, using a biotin serum can help to encourage hair growth. Learn more about biotin serum here.