Traction Alopecia from Hair Weave -- too much tension on the follicle
So what is Traction Alopecia?
Traction Alopecia (hair loss) can occur from constant pulling (traction) on the follicles from an external source.Certain hair styles, such as tight braids, can result in this type of permanent damage to the follicle and loss of hair.
Traction alopecia can also occur with the chronic, or constant, use of hair extensions and certain types of hairpiece attachment methods. This is a small or localized hair loss area caused by repetitive or persistent pulling or force on hair roots. Tight braids and ponytails can pull hard enough on hairs to make them fall out. If this happens, it's best to choose hairstyles that put less pressure on hair roots. The sooner this is done the better to avoid permanent damage.
See the photos below for an example of what Traction Alopecia looks like.
The World of Weave
Or extensions as we also call them, are a wonderful accessory. You can try a short hair piece without cutting your long hair, or wear a long hair piece if your hair is short. You can try different colors without the commitment.. They are fun! They come in a variety of styles. Full or half wigs, weft pieces and individual strands for braiding
This article is not to bash hair extensions. I personally love them; however, as a hairstylist I am seeing a growing number of women suffering from this condition. I also speak to my fellow stylists who report the same thing. Education is needed. Not only for the client but for the stylist as well.
There are many methods for installing hair extensions.Either on the weft or off the weft.Wefted hair is hair that is sewn onto a thin track with thread. Bulk hair is hair without a weft and generally used for strand by strand methods.
- Sewing on Braids
- Micro Beads (strand by strand)
- Braidless sew in
- Fusions (strand by strand)
- Tree Braids
- Fake Out (zillions and sew in)
- Per track sewing (in between client's hair)
- Invisible ponytail
- crochet Braids
If you know of any that I may have missed, feel free to comment below.
All of the extension methods are ok to do. What's important is the tension that is placed on the natural hair. Tension during braiding and sewing.Tension from too much bulk on your natural strands.
You must have proper installation and removal of the extensions.
To Weave or not to Weave
...that is the question.
The answer is simple. Do what you want. Do what works best for you. My article is not to bash weave or weave wearers. ( I am also one occasionally) I am writing to inform you of the dangers when the weave is improperly installed, maintained or reactions that you can have to it.
Your extensions can be installed properly, yet you can be allergic to the braiding hair or the extension hair itself.
Unfortunately with allergies, you don't know until you actually experience it. Sucks, I know.
OK, so you have decided that yes you want a weave. Now what?
- Go to a reputable salon and stylist with experience.
- Ask questions. Whatever you may have concerns about.
- If your stylist starts to braid your hair and you feel it is too tight, let him or her know.
- Maintain your hair weave with shampooing and conditioning. It's important to take care of your scalp as well.
- I personally recommend a take down at the 3 month mark with sew-ins. In many hair textures, the hair will tend to lock past that 3 month mark. At that point you are defeating the purpose of the weave, which for most women is to grow their hair while giving their natural hair a break. You will find it you have left your hair in too long that it is tangled and lots of hair comes out when combing.
- After your take down get your scalp treated. Get a trim and treatment.
- With bonded weaves, ask your stylist to use a protective gel that acts as a barrier for the glue. You can even bring it to the appointment with you. (If you are not sure that he/she provides it)
- Give your hair a break!!! Don't just get back to back weaves constantly.
Check this out
A Real Condition
This is not a joke and should not be taken lightly. This is a real condition and many women are suffering from this. It can either be temporary or permanent.
If you are one of them and it has just started, the first thing for you to do, is STOP. Stop doing the same thing. If tight, close together cornrolls caused it, don't get them. If a tight braided weave cause it, don't get it. If you already have hair broken from the follicle don't cause added stress on your hair strands. Give it a break!
If you feel like it is too terrible to wear your natural hair with the balding, Get a wig until you see a doctor.
There is help for this.
A diet high in protein certainly helps. It's not always what you put on your hair, but what you put in your body that helps with growth.
- Massage the affected areas daily with castor and rosemary oil.
- The definitive cure is hair transplantation which permanently replaces the follicles into the bald skin. However, without a change in hair-care habits, the transplanted hair is also at risk.
Scientific Info from the web:
- Finasteride:Finasteride is a scientifically proven treatment for hair loss and thinning, and is the active ingredient in Propecia®. Finasteride is very similar to Minoxidil, and is used to treat male pattern hair loss. Hair loss and hair thinning generally return after 6-12 months after discontinuing Finasteride. Finasteride works best on forms of hair loss and hair thinning that occur in the crown and frontal hairline regions of the scalp.
Minoxidil is perhaps the most well-known, scientifically proven treatment for hair loss and hair thinning, and it is the active ingredient in Rogaine® (Regaine® non-U.S.). Hair loss and hair thinning treatments containing Minoxidil take 3-4 months of regular use on the affected areas of scalp before any hair re-growth results show. It is not guaranteed that this hair loss will be replaced by new hair while continuing to use Minoxidil. Do proceed with caution.
- Cortisone Injections: Cortisone injections are scientifically proven hair loss and thinning treatments that are injected directly into the scalp tissue at the place of hair loss or thinning. These scalp injections are especially recommended for hair loss and hair thinning caused by autoimmune diseases such as lupus or alopecia areata.
Though not officially considered scientific treatments for hair loss and hair thinning, promising studies have been conducted on the validity of essential oils as effective treatments for hair loss. Many essential oils have stimulating effects on the hair follicles and skin. When massaged on the scalp, oils such as peppermint oil, rosemary, and thyme work wonderfully as therapies to stimulate and encourage healthy blood flow to the hair follicles in the region. If the hair follicles have not shrunken or "died" completely and are still capable of producing hair, this flow of nutrients to parched scalp areas can trigger hair re-growth in many cases.
Don't be afraid
You can wear clip ins, sew-ins, bonding etc.
Understand that there is a risk if there is too much tension on your hair.
Enjoy your extensions! As I stated above, they are a great accessory.
Remember the pointers I gave you. I know extensions are addictive to a certain point. Like false lashes, but that's another hub.
Most important: Take care of YOUR hair between the weaves. Give them a break. don't continue to get out of one and go into another one. Your hair will thank you for it.
It's all vanity anyway, like King Solomon said. Right?