By Kathrina Tiangco
Posted January 2nd 2019
Ever heard of traction alopecia? This hair condition is caused by an inflamed follicle when the hair is pulled back too tightly for a long period of time. According to Crystal Aguh, an editor and assistant professor of dermatology, traction alopecia is perhaps the most common type of hair loss in the black community.
A black woman’s naturally curly hair is delicate. Due to the waves in the hair, the sebum produced in the scalp doesn’t easily go all the way down to the ends of the hair. This causes dryness.
At the same time, the bends in the hair also make the strand easy to break. Dr. Aguh also explains that a relaxed hair is more prone to breakage when it’s braided.
There are also stages to hair loss. The first signs of having a too tight hairstyle include small bumps and pain in the follicle. When the follicles are subject to tension repeatedly, it develops scars and the hair stops growing. This condition is called scarring alopecia.
However, the good news is, traction alopecia can be reversed. Remember that wigs, extensions, and braids are not a direct cause of hair loss. However, once you put too much pressure on the hair on a regular basis, the follicles may become inflamed and your hair strands may break as well.
Most women resort to wearing extensions and wigs just to cover up their hair loss. Some people think that their hair loss is actually hereditary.
Stylist Ms. Collins owns a salon called Razor Chic. According to her, many stylists don’t know how to camouflage a client’s hair. So, she started teaching classes both online and in-person.
She explains the fundamentals of camouflaging hair loss which includes picking the right haircut and color. Stylists should learn how to work with their client’s face shape in order to conceal the areas that are balding which are often at the crown or along the edges.
Dr. Michelle Henry, a dermatologist, often tells her patients to discontinue wearing these hairstyles to save their hair. Otherwise, if they choose to continue, they might end up having permanent hair loss. Since traction alopecia is caused by an inflammation, what Dr. Henry does is inject the scalp with steroids.
Dr. Henry specializes in hair loss treatment. She uses platelet-rich plasma therapy where the growth factors from the patient’s blood are injected into the scalp to help stimulate hair growth.