Certain hairstyles such as braids and weaves may increase the risk of a irreversible type of baldness called Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA) that starts at the central part of the scalp and spreads out toward the edge of the hairline.

Traction alopecia (baldness) is caused by chronic traction (pulling) on the hair follicle and is seen most commonly in African-American females associated with tight braiding or cornrow hair styles. It is generally present along the hairline. Men who attach hairpieces to their existing hair can experience this type of permanent hair loss if the hairpiece is attached in the same location over a long period of time.

According to a study published in the Archives of Dermatology, "Any style that causes too much tension and traction on the hair....can possibly lead to scarring hair loss."   The study included 326 African American women who completed a questionnaire about hair care methods and health status.

Nearly 60% of the women showed signs of advanced central hair loss with scarring.  Many of these women also had Type 2 diabetes and bacterial infections, suggesting that the hair loss may be related to underlying metabolic irregularities.  Women with hair loss should be given an extensive medical workup, especially for diabetes which can be controlled.

Because braiding and weaves are expensive to do, many women keep these styles for an extended period of time adding to the risk of infection.  While I personally think these hairdos are often stunning and quite beautiful, most professionals dealing with hair loss advise against them, especially over long periods of time.   Braiding for a special event may be okay, but release them in a few days and let your hair rest!

 

 

 

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Comments

I always knew that these styles were damaging to the hair. I have seen them done first hand. There is a lot of pulling and hair breakage involved. It is not very comfortable either. I've heard that men and women who get cornrows and different weaves and braids of some sort often have headaches afterwards. But I had no idea that this could actually result in baldness. People say that there is always a price to pay for fashion- but is this really worth it?

Although I agree that braids can cause problems, I don't believe they are the problem. People can and should ensure that they are not done too tight and just like any hairstyle treat their braids regularly.

Women especially need to be careful with their hair. Constant pulling, tugging, dying, curling, will cause hair loss.

I would hope that this is kind of obvious with all that the hair strands go through to be put into braids

I didn't know this. Thanks for the info. I might consider resting my hair for awhile before going to more elaborate hairstyles in the future

Scarring alopecia disease occurs symmetrically at the entrance of surface scarring, which leads to the centrifugal expansion of the lesion. Finally, the disease burns. The so-called follicular degeneration syndrome and folliculitis decalvans are both conditions that result in CCCA.

It does not surprise me, having had my hair braided on holiday it is very tight and does pull on your hair follicles, it was so sore I could only stand it for a few days so for those who keep these styles in for months on end I'm sure it is doing a lot of damage!

not to mention the massive headaches that come along with braiding and weaves!

I heard about this before, but I had no idea it was a permanent form of hair loss. That is interesting. I'd like to see more studies on this and how it works over the long term.

My hair started thinning. How do you fix this! I've stopped getting my hair braided.

This is a great article. So many people lose their hair because they just don't know how to take care of their scalp. Permanent hair loss can be devastating to a woman, and its probably not something most men would be OK with either.

I am a hair stylist. I have met a couple of women who have had this problem, and suspected that the braids were the problem. I'm glad that a study was done.

This is very useful information you're sharing. Many women don't realize the potential drawbacks of certain styling techniques. We're often contacted by women after they've begun experiencing hair loss, looking for advice and suggestions on how to improve their hair quality and growth using natural methods. Like one of your other commenters mentioned, the first thing we do is ask them to talk to their health care provider to rule out possible underlying medical conditions such as thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, or systemic yeast overgrowth. Then we point them towards things they can do to remove or reduce bacteria on the scalp, improve blood circulation to the scalp and nourish hair follicles.

I'm experiencing scalp pain, burning, itching, and sometime tingling sensations that impact my physical and psychological health

Certain hair styles can contribute to hair loss.
You have confirmed my suspicions.
Since certain medical conditions such as anemia, diabetes, thyroidism, and genetics can cause hair loss, people with these conditions are best not to have braids and weaves.

It is more difficult to manage very curly hair and is often socially acceptable not to wear their hair in its natural form of these women. And the hair loss is permanent.

Customize long hairstyles should consider their hair health. Of course its no big problem what style they wanna make for best appearance.

I really hope this article to be a eye-opener for woman who rely excessively on these styling techniques, which are known to be very stressful for the scalp; don't forget that even an intensive use of hair coloring causes the follicles to weaken and may result in loss over time in women. Very good article, btw !

This is very worrying,many hairdressers do not realize this is a possibility when creating braids and weaves,excellent article, hopefully more awareness will be made now on this problem.

baldness on every person can also be caused by GENE factors, such as expressed by the A team of researchers from the University of Columbia, United States, which had found eight genes that support alopecia areata, one of the most significant cause of hair loss.

i think this make sense, since if you always put pressure and strain your hair by braiding it, then it follows that hair loss could be possible in the long run.

is this kind of hair loss reversible? I should put this information to my website.
EDITOR'S NOTE: It depends on the amount of scarring. Excessive scarring or infection can lead to permanent hair loss.

I personally had a feeling about how being too rough with hair can cause extra damage. This article just proves it. Thanks, and great article

I’m still learning from you, as I’m trying to achieve my goals. I absolutely love reading all that is posted on your site.Keep the posts coming. I loved it!

I truly believe that bacterial overgrowth can contribute to hair loss. I was a victim of hair loss do to recurring thrush. Once I got on a proper diet my entire life turned around.

Great article. Many black women are "serial weave wearers" and never give their hair a break. What's even worse is relaxing the hair and fixing and weave straight away. Hair roots are left weak and it doesn't take a lot of extra weight on them to make them fall out.
Too many black women ignore the problem and keep wearing weaves when there are simple ways of incorporating traction alopecia treatments into their hair care regimes.

found your article very interesting and agree braided hair does look stunning at times but would worry about not being able to wash it out as nothing feels more refreshing than giving your hair a good wash

Many people do not realize how bad it can be for your hair to have tight braids like this. Sometimes an appearance isn't worth losing your hair! This is a very informative article.

Hi Hair loss is the major problem nowadays but nothing proven to be effective to stop hair loss as such the reason why hair transplant is getting popularity day by day.

Hair weaves can be dangerous because of the pulling at the roots when they are done. It's a catch 22 because the tighter the roots are pulled the better the hairstyle looks because it creates less fly-aways. Just remember to keep conditioning the scalp and give it a rest sometimes.

Thanks for the info. I never knew hair braiding could cause hair loss. I always thought it looked cool.

Sometimes I was confused why it is I always have hair fall.And now I know the reason why it is happen.Thanks for posting.

I heard about this before, but I had no idea it was a permanent form of hair loss. That is interesting. I’d like to see more studies on this and how it works over the long term.

Their are many things that we do to our hair that causes hair loss. There are also many other things such as blow drying, wearing hats etc. which people think is responsible for hair loss which is not true.

Any heat or harsh chemicals will always lead to hair breakage or hair loss, especially in black people as our hair is more sensitive. The myth of blac hair won't grow is certainly not true, just take a look at dreadlocks!

I agree with you that pulling hair in an extended period of time will definitely lead to some sort of hair loss. And that's what braiding and weaves exactly do.

Some women have more sensitive scalp and they should take care of their hair by leaving it in its natural state and using natural oils rich in vitamin E. And avoid as much as possible the chemically harmful hair straighters for african american women.

It doesn't hurt styling your hair for special events. But, after that, give it some love !

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The article is really informative, and it treats a subject which many of us neglect commonly. It is obvious that pulling of the hair causes hair loss, but for the sake of beauty we often forget that. Good to see that an author has taken time to present the problem and explain the need for caution. Hope there will be more information soon. Many other advisors state all sorts of different reasons for hair loss, but most of them fail to remember that this one is of essential value. Thank you for the wonderful post

All of these harsh treatments and hair styling techniques lead to damaged hair. This is a great article that proves one needs to treat their hair with care or risk permanent damage. I avoid using all harsh chemicals and instead opt for natural hair remedies.

I think anything that you do unnatural with your hair has a propensity to cause damage and this includes not only weaving but practices such as colouring or dying hair.

With practices like weaving, you weaken the hair roots and follicles and thus this study comes as no surprise

Braiding in long time periods is not good for our hairs, since it can cause a strong traction on our hair roots, and even could make hair loss in large quantities and hairs difficult

I do not have a lot of African American clients, however I have many friends in the industry who do.

I will have to share this article with them. I wasn't aware of the effects of hair braiding to this degree.

Thanks for sharing!

Hi,

Thank you very much for sharing this, I've got a friend who has been suffering with this.

Very helpful.

Thanks xx

very useful information. Many women who neglect to hair health for hair style trendy. Thank you this is great info.

I'm hoping that this post reaches many more African-American women who braid their hair. In an attempt to have every hair in place, we experience a lot of unnecessary pain and toil styling our hair. knowledge is growing and will definitely liberate a lot of our sisters from hair bondage!

Very informative, black woman do have a higher potential of suffering from these causes.

Great post.
It's incredible what folks nowadays do to themselves in the name of beauty in addition to the actual environmental stress factors.
Women simply should realize that they're beautiful EXACTLY how they are ;)

I wasn’t aware of the effects of hair braiding to this degree.

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