Traction Alopecia

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Traction Areata
Traction alopecia is a hair loss condition that is most often seen in young African-American women, however it can affect males or females of any age. If there is a history of this condition in your family, it important to understand what causes traction alopecia and what can be done to prevent it.

Causes of traction alopecia
As the name suggests, traction alopecia is hair loss caused by consistent pulling of hair. Most commonly, the tension associated with tight braids is the sole cause. Alternatively, ponytails, pigtails, cornrows or dreadlocks can be the culprit, especially if the hairstyle is used for a long period of time.
The tight braiding associated with hair weaves are another leading cause of traction alopecia. Even something as simple as using barrettes too often can lead to this condition.

Symptoms of traction alopecia
The main symptom of traction alopecia is hair loss at the sides of the head -- especially around the temples. These areas, known as the temporal and frontal regions, will experience gradually thinning hair over the course of months or years.
However, the hair loss associated with traction alopecia can occur on any area of the scalp. Cornrows, for example, can lead to hair loss in the same pattern as the rows.
Although the condition itself is sometimes painless, there have been reports of burning or itching at the areas of hair loss.

Treatment of traction alopecia
To successfully treat traction alopecia, an early diagnosis is vital. If caught in the early stages, traction alopecia is oftentimes completely reversible. In these cases, no medications or treatments are needed.
By simply changing hairstyles and reducing the tension on the scalp, the hair that was lost due to traction alopecia will regrow.
On the other hand, if symptoms are ignored, the hair loss can become permanent. At that point, the only recourse is a hair loss solution such as a hair replacement system or wig.

Preventing traction alopecia
Avoiding tight hairstyles is the only surefire way to prevent traction alopecia. If you have a family history of this condition, it's best to avoid any type of hairstyle that causes tension on your scalp.
If you currently have a tight hairstyle, it's imperative that you look for any signs of hair loss or the thinning of hair. When in doubt, it's important to see a trichologist who can give you further recommendations.
Since children are especially susceptible to traction alopecia, as a parent you should think twice before deciding on a hairstyle that could cause irreversible damage. That said, as long as you carefully watch for warning signs and react quickly when any are noticed, traction alopecia is a condition that remains treatable in a vast majority of cases.