Whilst there are many causes of hair loss in women, androgenetic alopecia – or female pattern hair loss – is by far the most common. So it is easy to assume if your hair is thinning that genetic factors are at play.
However, before you resign yourself to thinning hair for life, it is always worth considering other possible causes of the problem. One common – but often overlooked – culprit when it comes to female hair loss is traction alopecia.
What is traction alopecia?
Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that occurs when hair is pulled tightly from the root – usually from styling choices like weaves, extensions and cornrows, but super-tight ponytails can also be a problem if worn regularly. Although it is more common amongst women, men can suffer from traction alopecia too.
How can I tell if my hair loss is traction alopecia?
An easy way to recognise traction alopecia is by looking at the pattern of your hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia in women (female pattern hair loss) tends to present as a diffuse thinning of the hair across the entire scalp.
Traction alopecia, on the other hand, usually shows most prominently around the hairline. There are other warning signs, however, which could help you to nip the problem in the bud: if you wear your hair in one of the styles above and experience headaches regularly, that could be an early symptom of traction alopecia.
Other signs that should start alarm bells ringing are:
- A bumpy scalp
- Sensitivity when releasing hair from the style
- Itching at the roots of the hair
What can be done to treat traction alopecia?
As traction alopecia affects the actual hair follicles, once the damage has been done it can be difficult to treat.
However, luckily the problem is easy to prevent. Experts recommend giving your hair regular breaks from styling – ideally with a one to one ratio – so if you wear braids for a month, you then take a month off.
If you think you might have traction alopecia, why not book a consultation with one of our hair loss experts, who can assess the extent of the damage and advise you on potential treatment options. Call 0121 312 2999 to book your consultation with the experts at The Hair Ambulance.