What's really behind the reason for your hair loss?We women do some crazy things to our hair in the name of beauty. We cut it short, then let it grow long...only to complain and chop it off again! We highlight, dip-dye, and chemically straighten our strands. We pull our locks into trendy braids and ponytails, and weave, glue, or clip on extensions for length and volume.
If we're lucky, the damage isn't long-term: some split ends here, some singed strands there, and maybe even a cringe-worthy haircut. But for a growing number of women, those too-tight braids and heavy extensions are leading to actual hair loss. It's a condition known as Traction Alopecia, and the main culprit is stress, or "pulling", on the hair follicle.
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Long-term, that stress can cause permanent damage, meaning your hair won't grow back. The good news? If diagnosed early, Traction Alopecia is reversible. Here are some ways to repair your hair and prevent additional shedding:
Traction Alopecia commonly occurs around the hairline and temples. If you notice thinning, or your scalp feels sore, remove your braids and/or extensions immediately.
If you do want to braid your hair for a night, use only enough tension to keep the style from coming undone.
Use some form of conditioner daily (A "2-in-1" product fits the bill). The American Academy of Dermatology agrees this will "signficantly" improve damaged hair. A weekly deep conditioning treatment is also a must to help improve strength and stimulate hair follicles.
Be gentle to your mane and scalp. Never use a brush on wet hair. Instead, try a wide tooth comb.
Don't be afraid to take a break from the curling or flat iron. When you do use a heat appliance, remember to use a thermal protectant, which will help reduce the likelihood of breakage and damage.
Always use shampoos and conditioners formulated for your hair type. For example, if you highlight your hair, use products made specifically for colo- treated hair. This will not only keep your color fresh, but provide added moisture to help your hair stay strong.
Keep your hair out of your face with headbands or bobby pins, both of which exert less tension on the scalp.
Visit the salon regularly. Your stylist can help keep an eye on your hair loss and let you know if she spies excessive thinning or balding. She can recommend products that promise to repair frayed hair, thicken strands, and improve elasticity.
If you're concerned about your hair loss, make an appointment with a dermatologist. He/she may recommend a topical solution (like Rogaine), oral medication, or even hair transplant surgery, depending on the severity of the problem.
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