Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that can happen when hair is pulled back too tightly, causing the loss of hair from the front and sides of the hairline.
This type of hair loss can happen from too tight styling techniques like tight braids, dreadlocks, high pony-tails, or tight “ballerina” buns. For some, traction alopecia can even happen from having very long and heavy hair that puts too much tension on the follicle.
However, luckily, traction alopecia is often reversible if it is caught in time. But, if the tension and pressure on the follicle is continued, damage can be done to the hair follicles leading to them no longer producing hair. Basically, early intervention is key, and then your hair will likely recover.
Below, we will cover 7 ways to help your hair recover from traction alopecia.
- Loosen up your hairstyle
Step 1 is stopping the hairstyle that caused the traction alopecia in the first place.
Try to get away from the styles most likely to cause this situation like tight braids and updos, and go for more relaxed and loose styles like just letting your hair down, or wearing it up very loosely.
- Use gentle hair products and remove scalp residue regularly
At this time it is important to baby your hair a little bit. So, that means going with gentle hair products with a focus on health and scalp cleaning.
Buildup on the scalp from harsh or heavy products that aren’t removed regularly can further irritate an already potentially inflamed and unhappy scalp.
Use gentle hair products sparingly, and then include a regular hair washing routine to thoroughly clean the scalp.
- Talk to a doctor about treatment options to aid regrowth
Recovery from traction alopecia can normally happen, but it takes time for hair to get back to normal. Most people with traction alopecia may find that it takes 3-9 months in order to see a thorough recovery (if the cause is removed).
If you want to try to increase your regrowth, you may be able to speak with a doctor about hair loss treatment options to help the condition recover as quickly as possible. Medications with Minoxidil are safe for use in men and women, and may help improve your regrowth.
- Brush gently and in moderation
Everyone needs to brush their hair. But, if you are brushing too intensely, too much, or when your hair is weakened, you may be contributing to additional hair loss and hindering your regrowth.
Try to avoid brushing your hair when it is wet, as it is the most fragile at that time. Instead, brush hair only as much as needed for styling, when it is dry or mostly dry.
Brushes with natural fibers like boars hair brushes may be a more gentle option than plastic-bristled brushes.
- Skip hair coloring, bleaching, or chemical treatments for a while
You don’t have to stop coloring, bleaching, or chemically treating your hair forever, but, while you are helping your hair to recover from traction alopecia it may be wise to pause the chemical treatments to aid in regrowth.
Most coloring or perming treatments can take a toll on your hair, and if it is already struggling to regrow from traction alopecia, it may extend your recovery time.
Opt for your natural color and texture for while to make sure your hair is as healthy as it can be while regrowing.
- Eat well and exercise regularly
Healthy eating and regular exercise can make sure that you are giving your hair follicles everything that they need for regrowth in terms of protein, nutrients, oxygen, and healthy blood flow.
Mix in plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins for healthy hair regrowth. You should also include mild to moderate levels of exercise a few days a week to reap the benefits of healthy scalp circulation.
- Switch from elastics and rubber bands to more gentle hair tyes
Sometimes you just need to put your hair up. So, when you do need an updo day, opt for more gentle hairstyling options like silky or satin scrunchies which allow a little more looseness and movement in the hair.
Tight elastics or rubber bands can pull or tug at the hair, without allowing for gentle movements and may cause additional tension or hair losses.
Jill Barat, is a Doctor of Pharmacy at Strut Health with a unique background in specialty pharmacy, innovative compounding products, supplements, and integrative medicine with a passion for helping patients live their best lives.