PYNK Health

#PynkHealth: Do you know if you have Traction Alopecia?

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If you are one that loves to wear braids, or has your hair braided to wear extensions, wigs, weaves, etc., then this article is for you.

If your braids begin to feel tender and painful, that is your head warning you that your hair is in trauma which can lead to Traction Alopecia.

Traction Alopecia is a form of gradual hair loss, caused primarily by the hair being constantly pulled into tight ponytails, tight braids, and tight dreadlocks. Also weaves and wigs with glue, repeated use of hair rollers, braid extensions, fabric headbands, and constant brushing.

“There are different types of Alopecia,” says Gina Conwell, owner of Desired Extensions. “Some are hereditary and others are caused from chemicals or braiding. Traction Alopecia can start at any age or with any gender. Hair loss can be all over or it can target certain areas such as your edges or the very top of your head in patches.”

Gina offered a few great tips on preventing Traction Alopecia. “When using any chemicals such as hair dyes, relaxers or perms please do a test strand to identify an allergic reaction to chemicals.”


Are you the type of person who likes to wear ponytails everyday?

“I recommend you change up the location of the ponytail on your head,” informs Gina. “This will eventually cause Traction Alopecia in that area and create a bald spot in that area only.” It is also recommended that you rest from ponytails and try new styles.

“If you do a lot of sew-ins, make sure your braiding pattern is being changed up at least every 3 months,” Gina recommends.  “If your stylist braids your hair straight back, then in the next three months have him/her do a circular braid pattern.” You should also make sure your braids are not tight as they will destroy your hair follicles over time.


So what can you do if you are already in the developing stages of Alopecia?

“At least once a month do a soft exfoliation on your scalp and hair by using a detoxifying shampoo,” Gina shares. “The detoxifying shampoo removes toxins out your scalp and hair from buildup of smoke, air pollution, etc. Removing the buildup can help sooth your scalp from inflammation and irritation from Traction Alopecia.”

She also recommends finding a local Dermatologist in your area for scalp and hair treatment to prevent further damage or irritation. “Once you’ve found a great Doctor, follow up with a professional hair stylist or a Trichologist who specializes in hair loss.”

To learn more about Traction Alopecia and Gina Conwell, visit


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