I love styling natural hair and am a proud advocate for it. Over the years I have witnessed and helped transition so many beautiful women into their natural hair. They were all at different points in their journeys and all had different reasons for wanting to go natural. One of the most reoccurring factors was abnormal hair loss. Certain types of hair loss is what encouraged me to develop the Hair Garden products that I had been using on them.
Alopecia, pronounced “ah-lo-pee-she-ah”, is generally defined as abnormal hair loss that can be caused by a variety of reasons. There are so many different types of alopecia that affect people. Some can be treated and cured while there are others simply cannot and will proceed until there is complete hair loss. There are several different types of alopecia affecting people but there is one in particular that I would like to discuss today.
Traction Alopecia – This is caused by excessive and repeated stress on the scalp and follicles. Things like tight ponytails and braids, rough combing, impatiently removing hairstyles like braids and extensions. Even frequent friction from things like caps, headbands and headrests can accelerate hair loss.
When the hair strand is prematurely forced from the follicle you feel pain, right? Maybe even see a drop of blood? This is because the strand is attached to a dermal papilla where there is blood flow and nerve endings. This is where the physical hair growth starts. Right above that is where your sebaceous glands and follicle opening are. When the hair is forced out of the follicle, it becomes inflamed. The area swells from the trauma and to aid in protecting against infection. This irritation causes us to scratch which opens the area and exposes it to infection. This is when you get the small pus bumps that resemble whiteheads. This type of constant trauma and infection to the follicles is not healthy and does not provide a good environment for healthy growth. This sometimes can lead to the follicle shutting down completely and skin growing over it leading to permanent hair loss.
The hair can be completely restored from this type of alopecia IF the trauma being placed on the scalp and follicle stops!
Before I go any further, I want to stress how important it is not to style children’s hair in very tight hairstyles! This type of trauma on the follicles while they are still developing (see insert article) can cause irreversible damage and even resulting in permanent hair loss! Just imagine how that could affect their self-esteem in their adolescent and adult years! Simply tame that developing hair, don’t restrain it!!
This type of alopecia can be avoided by going to an experienced braider that can properly apply the correct tension and/or use the right amount of hair extensions for your hair type and texture. Proper style maintenance can definitely help. This includes wearing the style for a reasonable amount of time, properly cleansing, and adequately lubricating and moisturizing the hair!
I personally feel that it is important to keep the scalp clean when wearing protective styles for an extended amount of time. The follicles are under stress when they are in a pulled hairstyle and you don’t want all types of external debris invading and possibly clogging it. If you would rather not shampoo/cleanse, opt for a dry shampoo, witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera gel or some type of gentle astringent to clean the scalp.
Also, stimulation to the scalp is greatly beneficial. This includes steaming, massage and exfoliation. This helps with growth because it stimulates blood flow to the scalp, helps regulate sebum flow, aids in removing dead and excess skin from the scalp and opening follicles. Including these things in your regimen can definitely help restore growth and aid in accelerating slow growth!
This is why a developed my Hair Garden “Herbal Tea” Tree-tment Oil. I combined a blend of strengthening, healing and stimulating herbs infused in a blend of balancing, rich and lubricating oils. Many have found this oil very effective with regular use. Especially when used in combination with the Hair Garden Cleanser.
I will go over the other common types of alopecia in future posts! I hope you found this one beneficial! Thanks for stopping by!