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How to Avoid Traction Alopecia

Stop Hair Loss in the Black Community

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Traction alopecia, unlike other forms of this hair loss condition, is not the result of age or genetics. No one has to suffer from traction alopecia. Too many black women and children have severely reduced hairlines as a result of poor hair care. Unfortunately, the condition seems to affect younger and younger people. Good hair care does take time, but the final results are often worth it. You'll maintain a full head of healthy hair, free of damage.

These four tips can help you avoid the trauma of traction alopecia before the hair loss becomes permanent.

1. Apply Chemicals Wisely

The rise in the number of sparse hairlines seemed to coincide roughly with the advent of home relaxer kits. This is especially true and tragic in the number of children who approach their teen years with nearly bald hairlines. Although relaxers are easy and affordable to buy, it's preferable to have a professional apply these straightening chemicals. People don't always follow the directions on the box, or they use a stronger formula than they need. Leaving relaxers on longer than the recommended time is also a surefire way to eventual damage.

2. Switch Hairstyles Frequently

Ponytails are convenient, yes, but they can also do a number on the hairline. Protective styles such as ponytails and buns are good for your hair's ends, but not always so good for the delicate hair around your temples. It's fine to wear these styles, but switch them up by changing where you part your hair and by loosening your hair at night before bed.

Plus, who wants to wear ponytails all the time? Find several styles you like and that work with your face shape; rotate them based on the seasons or your mood. Not only will you enjoy a style switch, you'll also take care of your hairline in the process.

3. Avoid Tight Hairstyles

No hairstyle should hurt. Buns, ponytails, weaves and braids are just several examples of how much versatility you can enjoy, but you should never feel pain due to your style. If it hurts, it's an indication that your follicles are being pulled beyond what's safe for them. Once follicles are dead, there's no bringing them back to life.

4. Find Gentle Styles for Children

Those elastic ponytail holders (often with metal pieces) are huge culprits in damaging children's hair. Too often, the hair is pulled too tightly in order to create a "neat" style. Year after year of tight ponytails, and possible relaxer use, leads to damage and hair loss in the very young. Instead of relying on these damaging elastics, try styles such as French braids and twists, with pulled-back ponytails being more of an exception instead of the norm.

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