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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Traction Alopecia Caused by Wigs and Weaves

Several months ago, I noticed that my hair was getting a little bit thin at my hairline.  The thinning is mostly around the edges of my face and forehead.  My hair is actually natural and seldom wear my hair in natural hairstyles, (Afro, braids, etc).  However, most of the times I have worn wigs.  I guess I am pretty addicted to the versatility of wigs ( I loves myself a bob). 

I believe that the hair loss is due to wearing stocking caps almost every day underneath a wig, for many years.   I went and did some research and discovered that it is possible that I suffer from traction alopecia.  Typically, the disorder results in thinning around the edges and nape of the head.  Sometimes there are patches and hair loss at other places on the scalp.

It comes from continuous tension or pulling on the hair and hair follicles.  The tension may be due to wearing tight braids, weaves, wigs, caps, tightly drawn pony tails, glues, etc.   The first signs of traction alopecia are irritation and bumps on the scalp at the affected area.  If ignored, the disorder may lead to permanent hair loss.  

Many years ago, I did suffer from hair loss due to wearing a weave.  When you get a sew-in type weave, the stylist will braid up your hair and then sew the wefts of weave onto the braid tracks.  Well, if the braids are done too tightly, then it can result is hair breakage and hair loss. 

I went to a hair salon about 10 years, ago to get a sew-in by my stylist.  During the process, I kept telling the hair stylist that she was braiding my hair way too tight.  I mean, it was really painful. At first she made excuses, like the weave is not going to last long, etc.  Then, she said “Okay” and let up some.  But, the end result was that the damage was already done.   I looked Asian after this woman finished the hair style.  I couldn’t lay down to sleep without feeling that tension and pain on my scalp.  And, I had too much pride to go and remove the style after spending so much time and money in the salon (Ah... foolish pride).

Eventually, the crown of my head scalp became really itchy.  The edges around my hairline became itchy and some white tiny bumps started to develop.  Then, slowly the hair around the edges and the crown of my head fell out.  The hair loss was so bad that it looked like someone took a clipper to the top of my head and trimmed a perfect circle.  

Every time I looked at my hair in the mirror, I whimpered like a kid! That experience made me swear off getting weaves and cornrows. Thankfully, the hair loss was not permanent and the hair grew back.

Now that I took note of the more recent hair loss, I am not wearing wigs as much.   I allow my hair to breathe more and usually wear an Afro or cover my hair with a loose cap or head scarf.  I been doing this for about three months and I am beginning to see the difference.  I see some hair regrowth but the process seems kind of slow.

The hair loss doesn't look as bad as other people's because I caught it early on.  Glad I don't look like Norman Osbourne or George Jefferson. My hairline used to be straight across, with no jig jags. 

I am hoping that there is not permanent hair loss.  I been doing some research on products that help with this problem and stumble upon some info on Jamaican Black Castor Oil and other essential oils.  Some people are giving positive testimonials on it.  Perhaps, one day I will give these products a try if my hair growth continues to be slow. 

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