Thursday, February 24, 2011

Surviving Hair Loss | The Cause and Effects of Traction Alopecia


If you read my interview with KisforKinky, you'd know I have traction alopecia.  After years of relaxing, braiding, weaving and repeating the cycle over and over again,  my edges started to thin at the temples. I ignored it (or maybe I didn't even notice because I wore weaves and braids so much) that when I finally went to the dermatologist they told me it was nothing I could do to get my hair back.

What is Traction Alopecia: 
Traction alopecia is caused by pulling at the hair over a long period of time.  It most frequently occurs in our (kinky/coarse) hair, and the area most affected is the front and sides.  The use of thermal or chemical hair straightening, and hair braiding or weaving are examples of styling techniques that place kinky/coarse hair types at high risk for various "traumatic" alopecias. Cornrows, too, can cause this as well as thinning all over the scalp. The first signs are thinner and weaker hairs along the front and over the ears.

The key to stopping traction alopecia is detecting it early; if it has been going on for a long time, the hair follicles decrease in size and do not produce any more hairs. Hair styles that put unnecessary strain on the hair root must be changed for a more gentle hair style. If you suspect you may be vulnerable to traction alopecia please please please immediately to change your hair style or practices  and by all means, GO see a dermatologist NOW.

Hair transplants (or hair grafts) are an option for treating  traction alopecia. This is a surgical procedure that move individual hair follicles from one part of the body (the donor site) to bald or balding parts (the recipient site). Its said to take up to a year for the bald areas to completely fill in and the follicles work like brand new allowing hair to grow the way it does throughout the rest of your head.

As for me and my alopecia:
Contrary to what dermatologists told me, I believe I am making progress... slow, very slow... but progress none the less. I have stopped abusing my hair and now practice healthy hair care. I also massage my temples with Vitamin E oil daily to increase blood circulation in those areas. Since I know better, I do better and I will continue to teach my anyone who will listen to do better so they won't have to experience the lost of their crown and glory at such a young age.


  1. Great Post and such a great reminder. I was just thinking about wearing kinky twists extension, which I don't think I should wear as my hair is fine and fragile. The extension may be too mych for my thin hairline.

  2. wow I've never heard of this. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for sharing. I experienced something similar, but it was due to the hormones from pregnancy - it brings you up and makes your hair awesome, then as soon as you have the baby, it's gone. After 3 kids, it's not the same hair I started out with.

  4. I also have this I use vitamin E as well. But yes could you please do a makeup tutorial on you makeup for this look :)

  5. I spent a summer (literally the whole summer) with my hair in a tight, messy bun and I was never diagnosed by a dermatologist but I think I did the same thing to my hair. My hair has thinned in areas around my hairline and like you, since I've taken notice, I feel there's been SOME re-growth and improvement.

    I wish someone had told me this was a real possibility while I was abusing my hair. It never even occurred to me that I could be doing permanent damage. I think this is a great idea for a post because I feel that many women don't really think about just how bad it can be when you treat your hair badly.

  6. I'm glad you ladies found this info useful ladies. I really saddens me to see ladies younger than me experiencing baldness because of lack of knowledge on how to properly care for their hair.

    @Kandeezie post-partum shedding really sucks (so
    I've heard)

    @ That Tiffany, here's a link

  7. great post and very timely for me. I noticed the hair around my temples was getting thinner a few months ago so I started using a combination of tea tree, olive oil and vitamin E on it everyday and it seems to be helping.
    Theres a youtuber called Akaiyakelly (I think that's how you spell it) she has a lot of videos about caring for your edges.

  8. You should try Jamaican Black Castor Oil. It works wonders for thickening hair. Massage into the thin area twice a day.

    This was a great message. As a newly natural, I make sure I vary my hairstyle and give it breaks so that it doesn't thin out.

    PS: Where did you get those earrings? They are so versatile.

  9. @Tinuke - don't do it. I currently have kinky twists in my hair & a few of them have fallen out & upon examining them they have pulled out my hair at the root. Could you believe the horror on my face when I saw this? OMG I am so ready to take these bad boys out. Not sure if it's because of the synthetic hair or because they were a bit tight when I first got them. Ugh. But either way I'm just so annoyed at what I've been seeing from these kinky twists.
    Sorry Tamara for writing so much. Great post.

  10. I'm sorry to hear about your condition, I'm glad you were able to get it diagnosed and are proactively taking steps to correct it. You're the second person that has mentioned Vitamin E oil, my eyebrow recommended it for a little patch in my brow line; purchasing some immediately. Great info Tamara!

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  12. Doesn't really look like your condition is so bad...head up. Cheers.

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