Let's talk about Traction Alopecia
April 24, 2018
Dija Ayodele is an Aesthetician and Founder of Black Skin Directory, a brand new website that connects women of colour to skin care professionals in the UK. Shocked by the challenges faced by black women when it comes to finding skin care professionals that are au fait with black skin, Dija decided to take action and CREATE! We have been following Dija's work for a while and are amazed by her passion and hunger for knowledge. Her platform covers a wealth of information on skin care conditions, one of which includes Traction Alopecia. We decided to tap into her brain and understand what Traction Alopecia is and how it can be prevented. She certainly does not disappoint in her answers. Read on below >>
Traction Alopecia is a type of acquired hair loss resulting from prolonged/extensive tension on scalp hair. It was medically first described in the 1900’s in Greenland natives who developed hairline hair loss due to repeatedly wearing tight ponytails hairstyles.
The wearing of hair in tight/pulling styles is a major contributory factor in Traction Alopecia, other types of contributory hairstyles include – Cornrows, Dreadlocks, Weaves and Braids.
Classic hair loss is usually around the front temporal hairline, but in reality hair can be lost from any part of the scalp. In addition, the development of Traction Alopecia increases with age, due to a prolonged history of incorrect hair practices. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of hairstyle practices on children.
WHAT DOES TRACTION ALOPECIA LOOK LIKE?
It can present in a variety of ways including:
Multiple broken hairs
Loss of hair/balding
ALLEVIATING TRACTION ALOPECIA
The simplest thing to do is to loosen the hairstyle to relieve scalp tension. Opting for hairstyles with less tension, weight and length will help prevent trauma to the scalp and resulting hair loss. For pronounced hair loss wigs and removable clip-in pieces are viable options.
Avoiding hairstyles that place undue tension on the hairline - e.g. cornrowing baby hair on the temple - is best, along with rotating hairstyles and hair partings.
Artificial heat and chemicals that thin hair and increase propensity for breakages should also be avoided. At night, protecting delicate hair with satin bonnets and pillowcases also prevents unnecessary hair loss.
Supplements and medication can improve the outlook for patients. Biotin supplements help to promote hair growth as well as the medicine Minoxidil that stimulates and increases cells in the hair follicle. Both should only be taken after medical advice.
Slightly more invasive procedures that stimulate hair growth and the production of new healthy cells are PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma – in which your own plasma is extracted and injected into affected areas. Mesotherapy is also an effective way of stimulating hair growth by injecting a cocktail of vitamins and nutrients direct into the scalp.