Some hairstyles, especially the ones that pull hair, could lead to traction alopecia, the hair loss caused due to continuous pressure on hair roots. Braided hair styles are common among African-American women and the research team has noted that over 33 percent of Black women in the United States suffer from traction alopecia. The meta-analysis was conducted by a team of researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Johns Hopkins team reviewed 19 studies conducted in the past and found a strong connection between tight hair styles and hair loss. The constant pressure on hair roots caused damage to hair follicles. The research team has urged women to be careful while choosing their hair styles.
Braids look good but women should be careful that they can lead to gradual hair loss. Also, it would be better to alternate between different hairstyles for women who like themselves with braids. Scalp pulling hair styles should be avoided.
Traction alopecia is a reversible condition if the action is taken during the early signs of hair loss. The research paper added, “The study did not prove a definitive cause-and-effect connection. But, styles linked with this type of hair loss include braids, tight ponytails, dreadlocks, weaves and extensions, especially if hair has been chemically straightened.”
The research paper from Johns Hopkins team has been published in the journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Dr. Crystal Aguh, an assistant professor of dermatology at Hopkins said, “Hair is a cornerstone of self-esteem and identity for many people but ironically, some hair styles meant to improve our self-confidence actually lead to hair and scalp damage. We have to do better as care providers to offer our patients proper guidance to keep them healthy from head to toe. “
The research paper further informed, “Moderate-risk styles include some of the same styles noted to be high risk, but because they are performed on natural, unprocessed hair, they are less likely to result in hair loss. Low-risk styles generally included low-tension styles, such as loose buns, and loose-hanging styles, such as wearing the hair down, as well as practices that decrease the amount of friction on the hair and scalp and avoid chemical relaxers.”
Hair extensions should also be used carefully. Chemical straightening also leads to weakening of the hair shaft. People should be aware of the fact that choosing the correct hair care regime is the best way to avoid hair loss.
A report published by UPI News informed, “Temporary thermal or heat-related straightening of the hair, such as the use of flat irons and blow drying the hair – while not by itself significantly associated with traction alopecia – can weaken shafts, leading to significant hair loss when traction is applied.”
The research team has also suggested new recommendations for dermatologists. The findings show the need for dermatologists to learn more about these potentially damaging forms of hair styles and to advise patients about the risks and alternatives.