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So, What Causes Traction Alopecia?

Updated: Sep 10, 2022

Traction alopecia is caused by inflammation of the follicle when the hair is being pulled too tight for too long. “It’s probably the most common form of hair loss we see in the black community.



Hair that is naturally curly is also fragile. Because of bends in the hair, sebum from the scalp, a natural protectant, can’t travel down the length of the shaft. The bends themselves also make curly hair prone to breakage.


Hair loss happens in phases. Pain and little bumps around the follicle, called traction folliculitis, are the first signs that a style is too tight. Subsequent thinning, traction alopecia, can still be reversed. After that, when the follicle is put under repeated tension, it scars over and hair stops growing permanently. This is called scarring alopecia.



Braids, wigs and extensions can be worn safely and are not the direct cause of hair loss. But when they put too much tension on the hair or are worn constantly, the follicles inflame and hair breaks. Women may notice hair loss but feel trapped in a cycle of wearing extensions to cover it.

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