Traction Alopecia vs. Other Types of Hair Loss: What’s the Difference?

Traction Alopecia

What is Traction Alopecia?

Traction alopecia is a form of hair loss caused by repetitive tension or pulling on the scalp. It generally affects people who put their hair in tight hairstyles, such as cornrows or ponytails, and is more common in African Americans. Traction alopecia can also be caused by other activities such as overly vigorous brushing, tight headbands, hair extensions, or wearing a wig. The loss of hair is usually localized to the front and sides of the scalp, and is typically seen as areas of balding in a band-like pattern.

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What are the Symptoms of Traction Alopecia?

The symptoms of traction alopecia include hair thinning, receding hairlines, and bald patches. It is usually confined to specific areas of the scalp where tension is being continually applied, and can lead to permanent hair loss unless the person stops pulling on their hair. Other symptoms may include itching, flaking, and breakage along the hairline.

How is Traction Alopecia Different from Other Types of Hair Loss?

Traction alopecia is different from other types of hair loss because it is caused by tension on the scalp and is localized. Other types of hair loss such as male pattern baldness or alopecia areata are caused by other factors such as hormonal changes or autoimmune conditions. Additionally, hair loss from male pattern baldness or alopecia areata is typically more widespread than traction alopecia.

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What Can be Done About Traction Alopecia?

The best treatment for traction alopecia is to stop any activities that are causing tension on the scalp. This includes any tight hairstyles such as cornrows, ponytails, and hair extensions. Additionally, a person should reduce the use of heated styling tools and avoid, or at least reduce, the use of hairsprays, gels, and other styling products.

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How Can Traction Alopecia Affect a Person’s Health?

Traction alopecia, like other forms of hair loss, can have a significant impact on a person’s emotional wellbeing and overall health. Hair loss can cause low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, if it goes untreated, it can lead to permanent hair loss and in severe cases, permanent scarring of the scalp. In order to protect their mental and physical health, it is important for people with traction alopecia to treat it as soon as possible.


Traction Alopecia, Hair Loss, Hair Loss Treatment, Hair Loss Causes, Symptoms, Traction Alopecia Treatment, Mental Health, Physical Health