Traction Alopecia


What is traction alopecia?

Traction alopecia is defined as a loss of hair due to mechanical trauma suffered that can be minor or really severe. It can sometimes be difficult to diagnose and is often associated with other causes of hair loss such as severe stress that could generate effluvium.


What causes traction alopecia?

Traction alopecia is a gradual process that occurs over a long period of time. It is caused by anything that creates constant tension on the hair as it might be:

  • Some types of hairstyles: Dread, Extension, typical hairstyles born in African countries are among the first causes of traction alopecia
  • Wigs (both male and female) that are poorly anchored and create tension,
  • Hats worn daily (typically those construction, plastic, work),
  • Helmets for motorcyclists in extreme conditions,
  • Frequently used knickers,
  • Tricotillomania: a condition where the patient takes pleasure in continually pulling out their hair, is considered a pathology.

Obviouslynone of the factors considered above can guarantee traction alopecia. Likewise, any combination of these factors can greatly increase the likelihood that you will suffer from traction alopecia.


What are usually the signs of traction alopecia?

A person with traction alopecia usually experiences a reduction in hair caliber around the temporal area and near the ears. In addition to this you might experience some areas that are more prone to thinning than others.

These clues let us know that the hair has thinned due to continuous stress.
All these symptoms occur very slowly so if you are experiencing in your case a sudden hair loss traction alopecia is to be ruled out.


How many people suffer from traction alopecia?

It is much more likely that this phenomenon occurs in females than in males, in fact, an interesting finding is that at least 32% of women in their lifetime have suffered, albeit minimally, from traction alopecia (2014 study). This discrepancy is given by the fact that there is definitely a greater number of women who do extreme hair styling or wear wigs. In the case of men, this type of issue does not occur as frequently due in part to the habits we have of wearing our hair naturally.


Traction alopecia and breed.

Thanks to a study conducted in 2007, it is known with certainty that traction alopecia occurs much more frequently in Afro women. This is because often the hairstyles culturally are more “extreme” and therefore prone to this phenomenon.


Is traction alopecia permanent?

Permanent hair loss does not always occur. In many cases, hair regrowth occurs after the cause of the loss has been eliminated. As a general rule, we can say that the sooner the cause is found, the better the chances of hair follicles recovering.


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