Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: What You Need to Know About Traction Alopecia
Losing your hair to look good isn't something any woman wants to do. But the desire to change their image and a hairstyle that requires less maintenance drives many women to wigs and weaves.
Without proper knowledge, hair extensions may lead to a condition called traction alopecia, a devastating but avoidable hair condition.
You may have seen pictures and wondered what may be the cause of bad hair days. As a Trichologist, or someone who treats hair and scalp disorders, Claudia Marable says the answer may be traction alopecia.
Claudia Marable says “Hair loss is an epidemic across the board for any race, I think African Americans do the most mechanical damage. They do a lot more tight braids, weaves, glue, that type of thing.”
Traction alopecia is seen mostly in African American women, with the hair loss occurring around the front hairline and over the ears. In her clients, Claudia has seen a lot of damage over the years.
“I have seen a lot of perimeter thinning, where the braids have been too tight, or a ponytail has been worn for a number of years, that is the most common.”
Gloria Marable , the owner of the full service wig Salon Shhh! It's a Wig says many women reach for real or synthetic hair to replace or supplement their own hair.
“ Some ladies feel that they are not quite comfortable with their own hair. They feel that they need a little oomph . So they go in that direction. They don't know how to style their own hair and make it look attractive to them. “
Portia Lake: “Despite the damage that can come from the wigs weaves and extensions being done improperly, many women turn to them for the versatility, convenience and creativity. “
Loyal weave wearers at Macon's Pretty Girl Beauty Supply on Eisenhower Parkway believe bad hair days like Naomi Cambell's can easily be avoided.
Sister Koco says: “Glue doesn't take your hair out. It is the way you take the glue out. You can't snatch it out. “
Sister Koco and Lenesha Calloway both regularly use hair extensions to drastically change their look in just a few hours.
Lenesha Calloway says: “ I am actually shopping for long hair. It is the season for it. In the winter time i go long and in the summer time I go short.”
Sister Koco says: “I think it is easy because you can avoid burning your hair out and if you want to go short, you can go short, if you want to go long, you can be long. Long and fabulous. “
Claudia Marable says there are healthier ways to wear extensions and avoid hairline damage:
“There is not a one hundred percent healthy way to have a weave... but it is good to keep maintenance on it. Don’t leave it in over two months. When you take it out, don't go back and get another one. Let your hair breathe. Try another style between weaving. “
But the allure is there to look like the next Beyonce, Nicki Minaj or Gabrielle Union.
Gloria Marable: “ A lot of women will come to us with pictures out of magazines to say this is what I want my hair to look like. Then you have your stars that have long hair one week, short the next, red hair brown hair. We want to look like our stars.”
Early warning signs and symptoms of traction alopecia can be red bumps, pimples or scalp infections on the scalp and or the hairline.
If you decide to wear a wig, Gloria Marable of Shhh! It's a Wig recommends the use of a wig cap or net.
If you decide to wear extensions, consider leaving you edges out when getting a weave or not getting the braids done as tightly.