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13 Oct 2013

Traction Alopecia: A common form of hair loss doesn’t have to be permanent

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October 13, 2013 Category: Beauty Posted by:

Sun Hair Spotlight on: Shapes N More

809 E. Willow Grove Avenue, Wyndmoor, PA 19038

Owner: Olivia Hughes 

Appts: Monday, Closed; Tuesday, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM; Wednesday and Thursday, 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM; Friday, 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM; Saturday, 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM; Sunday, Closed 

Specialties: Array of services designed to find the look that fits your personality and lifestyle. Professional services provided by expertly trained stylists, certified makeup artists, spa experts; Various beauty product lines are available. 


Telephone: 215-233-4565 / Email: [email protected] 


Website: / Facebook: Shapes-N-More


by Leah Fletcher


A Hollywood entertainment blog recently featured a photo montage of high profiled actresses and models captured on what appeared to be their “bad hair days”.  An international model, who shall remain nameless, but noted for sporting long flowing weaves, happen to wear her hair in a sweeping updo.  The exposed sides of her scalp were balding and most of her hair had fallen out.  One might guess it was a case of Traction Alopecia, which is one of the most common forms of self-inflicted hair loss.  


What is Traction Alopecia?


Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that results from subjecting the hair to excessive tension. It is usually caused by over styling the hair with tight buns, braids, weaves, hair extensions and ponytails. But, it is usually a short term condition and can easily be reversed when refraining from the action causing it, according to Olivia Hughes, owner of the Shapes N More, a Wyndmoor based hair salon.


“As the name implies, traction alopecia, which is also known as Traumatic Alopecia, is, more specifically,  a hair loss condition caused by tension that results in the hair shaft breaking or dislodging hair from the hair follicle,” explained Hughes, a salon owner for nearly 13 years. 


This condition is relatively common to people who like to tie and style their hair said Hughes, who also noted a high percentage of African American women and men are specially exposed to the traction related hair loss because of their frequent use of tight hairstyles like cornrows, dreadlocks and hair weaves. “If left uncontrolled, it might lead to more severe complications that can probably cause permanent hair loss,” added Hughes, who specializes in hair loss.


Medical Symptoms


In most cases of traction alopecia, there are no pronounced symptoms besides signs of thinning hair around the affected area Hughes said. However, she said, if you allow the condition to regress or if the traction increases, there are chances it might lead to any of the following: localized hair loss; broken and damaged hair shafts; inflamed hair follicles; painful bumps around the affected hair follicles; scaling and flaking; thinner hair growth; and bacterial infection of the hair follicles. 


The advance of traction alopecia usually depends on the durability of your hair follicles, the amount of tension your hair can withstand and also the duration of the continued stress. Any increase in either areas will accelerate the condition further.


Further Hughes explained that traction alopecia also may be caused by more serious triggers such as trichotillomania (a mental illness that causes people to compulsively pull out their hair) and excessive use of hair chemicals. 


Preventing Traction Alopecia     


If you discover the condition early and before any more serious symptoms develop, you usually do not require any treatment at all. The most important thing that you can do to prevent traction alopecia is to avoid further pressure to the hair and hair follicles. 


A good way to begin is by avoiding any hair styles that are tight on your hair. You can still tie your hair up, but keep it loose and make certain the hair his relaxed enough. As a matter of fact, keep it as unrestricted as possible and allow your hair to flow freely.  Anything that stresses your hair and the hair follicles can cause traction hair loss. If you really want to avoid or arrest this condition, avoid exposing your hair to unnecessary pressure.



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