Are Weaves and Braids Making Us Bald?

If your hair is falling out, your hairstyle could be to blame.

Posted: 04/18/2011 08:41 AM EDT
Naomi Campbell

A recent study confirms what many of us already knew, but were afraid to admit. Tight braids, weaves and excess heat are causing our hair to thin and in many cases fall out. Yes, this is a no duh, but it doesn't stop us from wrecking havoc on our scalps. If Naomi Campbell's missing hairline didn't scare you last year, these types of studies should.  

One common form of hair loss in African-American women is traction alopecia — a.k.a. a thinning hairline. This hair loss is due to excessive pulling and pressure on the hair. In other words, all that weaving, braiding, wearing tight ponytails and buns can damage your hair follicles and cause your hair to fall out. If you notice thinning edges and red bumps around the hairline, you might have traction alopecia. The good news is that if you catch it early, there is something you can do about it. The key is to be proactive and not be in denial about it. 

Here are some tips to keeping your hairline in tip-top shape:

Baby those edges: Your hairline is very fragile and vulnerable to breakage. Make sure you moisturize everyday; instead of using gel when pulling back, opt for a setting lotion to lay them down;  be easy on the heat in that area; and if you relax, make sure the stylist relaxes your hairline last and rinses that section off first. 

Loosen it up: Take it easy on the tight styles and rock a loose bun or chignon. Also, switch up where you have your ponytail or bun. One day wear it high, the other day wear it low. 

Be headscarf savvy: Be careful about how tight your scarf is AND watch the position of where the front of the scarf is. It should not be directly pressed on the hairline, especially the knot where you tie it. Pull the scarf past your hairline and alternate where the knot is located each night. 

Let your real hair out in front: When wearing a weave, avoid braiding the edges  to keep them from breaking off. Ask your stylist to leave some of your hair in the front out. 

Pop those pills: Biotin is a great supplement for hair, skin and nail health. Even if you are taking a daily multivitamin, most likely you are going to need a little more to reap the hair grwoth benefits. Doctors suggest taking 1000-3000 mcg dose daily. 

Over-the-counter treatments:There are plenty of over-the-counter topical products that can help, but if you if you have been loosening your styles and using over the counter products and in a month, you see no results, it’s time to see a dermatologist. They will be able to access the situation and prescribe you a creme or give you cortisone shots if needed. 

FYI: if you don't take care of your scalp and hair now, wigs and weaves won't just be for recreation, they will be the only option you have down the line.

 

(Photo: Goff/INFphoto.com)

From Our Partners