A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology on April 27, claims that there is a strong association between hair loss and tight hair styles. Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore said that traction alopecia, which is gradual hair loss from damage to the hair follicle from tension at the hair root, is mostly seen in African American women who pull their hair back, tightly.
Approximately one in every three African American women suffers traction alopecia, the most common type of hair loss among them.
According to the study, the hair follicles suffer continuous pressure when hair is pulled for a longer time, and this leads to permanent damage to hair follicles. The researchers also added that women should adopt hairstyles that do not lead to tension at hair root.
Even though the study did not prove a definitive cause-and-effect connection, they did find that some hairstyles are linked with this type of hair loss, which includes braids, tight ponytails, dreadlocks, weaves, and extensions. The research team also found that if the hair has been chemically straightened, and it has also been tightly pulled back, the probability of women suffering from hair loss is higher.
Conclusions based on 19 studies
The team at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine did a review of 19 studies and concluded that nearly 33 percent of African American women suffer from traction alopecia, which leads to gradual hair loss. The problem is that hair styles or braiding patterns that pull the hair back are actually forcefully pulling back the hairline towards the vertex of the scalp.
There is an urgent need for dermatologists to learn more about these potentially damaging forms of hairstyles because traction alopecia can be reversed by acting in time. One way that it can be prevented is if women start using alternative hairstyles. Also, if some women still want to keep using those hair styles linked with higher risk of traction alopecia, they can be used for a limited period only. Women should be informed regarding the risks associated with certain hairstyles and some specific types of braiding, so they can do something about it, the research team warned.
Source: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology