Thinning hair results from gradual, non-genetic hair loss that can be brought on by numerous reasons including hormonal changes within the body as experienced by pregnant women and post menopausal women, to poor nutrition on account of a period of ill health.
Apart from these causes, a quite common and sometimes overlooked cause of thinning hair is continuously wearing the hair in tight hairstyles, placing undue tension and pressure on the hair roots eventually weakening them over time and causing them to fall out prematurely. As hairs reach the end of their normal growth phase, they fall out and ideally after going through the rest phase, should regrow and undergo the whole cycle again. However, constantly pulling, or placing pressure on the hair damages the follicles and may lead to them becoming inflamed. Inflammation inhibits circulation thereby restricting the follicles access to vital nutrients required for healthy hair to grow.
Here’s a list of the most typical hairstyles, that when worn excessively can lead to thinning hair or traction alopecia.
1. Drawstring ponytails
These hair pieces have a comb and drawstring to secure them on top of the pinnacle. Drawstring ponytails are attached to the hair after the hair has been pulled back into a tight bun. Hair gel is sometimes applied to realize a sleek and smooth finish to the natural hair that is held in a bun. The drawstring ponytail is then attached by pinning it in place with the comb and using the drawstring to secure it. Although they are a convenient way to style your hair, frequent and constant use could cause thinning hair and bald patches, particularly in the realm where the ponytail is attached.
2. Tight buns
The hair is twisted, rolled tightly after which fastened with pins or ties. The continuous effect of twisting and rolling the hair can weaken the strands and damage the follicles, resulting in thin hair.
That is a mode very popular (but not restricted to) among black women and involves human or synthetic hair wefts being attached to natural hair, often sewing it on to cornrowed tracks. Wefts are sometimes also attached through the use of an anti fungus adhesive called bonding glue. Weaving is usually used to stop the appearance of thinning hair, but unfortunately it can even cause thinning and hair loss itself, as the cornrows the extensions are attached to are very tight to make the weave last longer. Bonding glue also can cause hair loss when a correct remover is not used to interrupt the glue’s bond completely before removal.
Hair is braided into thin, tight braids, sometimes with the addition of decorative items or with hair extensions braided into the hair (remember Brandy’s signature braids?). Apart from the pulling action caused by the tight braid, the hair line suffers because the hairs the extensions are attached to are usually weak and never able to cope with the load of the additional hair.
These are a type of braids where the hair is braided close to the scalp. This style is favoured for being a low maintenance, aesthetic hairstyle, but can lead to traction alopecia if the cornrows are too tight as they place undue pressure on the hair, especially around the hairline.
6. Clip on hair extensions
These hair extensions are made by cutting machine made hair wefts into different lengths and attaching clips to each piece. They can be clipped onto the natural hair in various places, including the back, the sides of the face, etc.. They’re commonly used to add colour to the hair or to give the appearance of fuller hair. Improper application by clipping the extensions too tightly or allowing the clips to dig into your scalp constantly when applied can lead to traction alopecia.