Ponytail-driven hair loss – also known as traction alopecia – is caused by tightly-pulled hair do’s, and if caught early, hair will regrow, but over time, hair follicles can be irreversibly damaged.
Hair that is pulled a certain way repeatedly can cause follicle damage and hair loss, so anyone who wears tight hairstyles or headgear is at risk. This might include braiding, dreadlocks, ponytails, or tight headwear that is used in the same way each day.
The straining of the hair follicles can cause redness, itching and sometimes even sores that could get infected. Strands of hair can fall out, causing a receding hairline around the temples, forehead or at the nape of the neck. Small pimples may appear on the scalp, with an ever-widening hair part. A scarred, shiny scalp can eventually appear.
Daily hair loss is normal and is unrelated (usually) to hair styles, with 50-100 hairs lost each day. These hairs are replaced with another 50-100 hairs in the normal growth cycle. Traction alopecia is not a medical condition (unlike other forms of alopecia), but it can cause distress if a person didn’t realise they were causing damage to their hair follicles and scalp, and only seeks help too late.
- Dreadlocks, braids, cornrows, tight ponytails
- Hair extensions or weaves that are tightly glued or tied to the base of the hair
- Headwear like helmets, tight headbands
- Hair slides or grips worn the same way each day
- Very long hair may pull the follicles
- Hair relaxers, chemical treatments
- Extensions and relaxers used together
People at risk of traction alopecia
- Africans with relaxed or permed hair, those with cornrows
- Ballet dancers
- Sports professionals
- Older people
- Pets who have clips or dreadlocks
Treatments for traction alopecia
Usually avoiding the problem hairstyle, or interspersing it with other styles, will see the hair follicles recover. There are injectable substances like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) that can stimulate hair growth again. Talk to us to figure out what the best course of action is, and don’t wait too long – damage compounds over time.
Most traction alopecia will resolve itself when you take the hardcore hairdo away, but if it isn’t going anywhere or your scalp seems red and sore, get in touch.
We have solutions for all types of hair loss.