It happens to women too! It's not always genetic and I don't believe a majority of the hair loss around the temples or entire hairline is caused by some unavoidable programming in your DNA. Many of the hair loss challenges that women with curly or coily hair face can be attributed to two conditions namely: traction alopecia and chemically induced alopecia. I’ll address traction alopecia in this piece.
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Traction alopecia is caused by the constant tugging and pulling of hair caused by very tight: Braids/extensions, cornrows, twists, weaves, pulled back styles, pony tails etc. Although these hairstyles can be low maintenance, the frequency with which they are done and the degrees of tightness applied to the hair will determine what extent of hair loss will be experienced over time.
Try this analogy: most of us women tweeze our eyebrows right? If we tweeze them enough times, the areas from which we continuously pull out hair stop growing hair. This same response will be experienced if your hair strands are held too tight repeatedly such that they get plucked out. This type of hair loss is mainly experienced around the temples or more generally around the hairline. Over time, growth of hair in these areas can be slowed down. In serious cases, the hair roots are permanently damaged and the hair stops growing altogether.
The good news is that you can prevent traction induced alopecia by changing your practices. Below are six ways to prevent hair breakage and/or permanent hair loss from constant pulling and tugging of hair:
- Avoid tight and/or heavy braids, cornrows with or without extensions, weaves or other similar hairstyles.
- Go to a good stylist who understands the impact of tight braids on hair and will spare your entire hair line when styling your hair.
- Reduce the number of times that you get your hair braided by using products, tools and techniques that can simplify the daily management of your hair.
- If your hair is braided too tight or you notice your braids lifting with strands of your hair, do not take a pain killer to manage the discomfort. The discomfort is a sign that your scalp is in danger. Take the braids out, moisturize your hair and scalp very well and seek a new stylist who will take better care of your hair.
- Do not wear your braids, twists, cornrows, weaves and other similar hairstyles for too long. This can cause serious hair breakage.
- Constantly and intensely moisturize your braids, cornrows, twists, weaves and other similar hairstyles to ensure minimal breakage when combing out.
- Although protective hairstyles are very useful. Remember not to hold your pull back styles too tight or not to wear your hair pulled back too often. If you do, over time you will notice thinning around your hairline.
- Weaves are a great way to drastically change up your style. Avoid tight weaves and also avoid using weaves to cover up hair loss. You will notice additional thinning in areas that are being pulled and tugged.
- If you notice thinning as a result of weaves, give your hair a break and if you can’t step out with your God-given tresses, throw on a wig on top of well moisturized hair.
- Using an effective moisturizer, gently massage areas with thinning hair to increase circulation and help moisture and key essential oils to nourish your hair.
If you find that your hair is not growing regardless of what product you try, you may already have permanent damage to your hair roots and you may need a hair transplant. Consult with your dermatologist or research and find a qualified hair transplant surgeon if you find yourself in this situation.
About the Author – Mumbi Dunjwa is an award-winning chemist from the American Chemical Society. She is the Founder & CEO of Naturaz and she formulated the industry leading Moisture Burst System™. This revolutionary 3-step system is an all-natural hair care product line which is 100% vegan and scientifically formulated to infuse long lasting moisture in curly, coily hair. Mumbi has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and nuclear medicine technology and a Masters degree from Carnegie Mellon University. She is passionate about seamlessly integrating health and beauty in our lives and she is a strong advocate for advancing STEM education among our youth, developing STEM careers and empowering women and girls around the world.