06/05/2024 16:52:16

A sleek ponytail, cornrows, or tightly pulled updo can look great. If you wear your hair tightly pulled back often, the constant pulling may eventually lead to hair loss. By making a few changes, you can keep your sense of style without losing your hair.

Changes that help prevent hair loss due to tight hairstyles
Anyone who frequently wears a tightly pulled hairstyle can develop hair loss. In fact, there’s actually a medical term for this type of hair loss. It’s called traction alopecia (al-oh-pee-sha).

You can reduce your risk of developing this type of hair loss by following these dermatologists’ tips.

1. Avoid frequently wearing hairstyles that pull on your hair. 

Every once in a while, it’s OK to wear your hair tightly pulled back, but you want to avoid wearing a tightly pulled hairstyle every day. The constant pulling can cause strands of your hair to break or fall out.

In time, the continuous pulling can damage your hair follicles. If you damage your hair follicles, your hair cannot grow back, so you develop permanent hair loss.

Hairstyles that constantly pull on your hair include:

  • Buns, ponytails, and up-dos that are tightly pulled
  • Cornrows
  • Dreadlocks
  • Hair extensions or weaves
  • Tightly braided hair
    Wearing rollers to bed most of the time can also lead to hair loss, so dermatologists recommend styling your hair this way only on special occasions.


 Woman with hair tightly pulled back

2. Loosen up the hairstyle. 

When you wear your hair pulled back, loosen the hairstyle a bit, especially around your hairline. To reduce the constant pulling, you can:

  • Loosen braids, especially around your hairline
  • Wear a braided style for no longer than two to three months
  • Opt for thicker braids and dreadlocks

3. Change it up. 

Changing hairstyles can also help reduce the pull. Ideally, when you change styles, you want to give your hair a chance to recover. For example, after wearing cornrows, you may want to wear loose braids or go natural for a few months.

A small girl wearing a cornrow hairstyle

Cornrows, which pull at the roots of your hair, can cause hair loss. Wearing looser braids and changing your hairstyle after 2 or 3 months can prevent hair loss.

4. Follow these precautions when wearing a weave. 

Weaves and extensions are great way to add volume and length to your hair. To prevent them from causing hair loss, dermatologists recommend that you:

Wear them for short periods of time, as the pulling can increase your risk of developing traction alopecia
Remove them immediately, if they cause pain or irritate your scalp
Opt for sewn-in weaves rather than ones that use bonding glue

5. Have a professional relax your hair.

 A hairstylist who has training in chemical relaxers can chose the product that will achieve the results you want while minimizing the damage to your hair.

To find out whether your stylist has this training, ask. You should also ask what your stylist will do to help maintain the health of your hair.

6. Look for early signs of hair loss. 

If you wear hairstyles that pull tightly, take time every month to look for these early signs of hair loss:

Broken hairs around your forehead
A receding hairline
Patches of hair loss where your hair is pulled tightly
If you see any of the above, it’s time to stop pulling on your hair so that your hair can regrow.

When the pulling continues, most people eventually notice that their hair stops growing. Where you once had hair, you’ll see shiny, bald skin. When traction alopecia advances to this stage, your hair cannot grow back.
7. Change your hairstyle immediately if you notice any of the following problems. These are signs that your hairstyle or products could cause hair loss:

  • Pain from tightly pulled hair
  • Stinging on your scalp
  • Crusts on your scalp
  • Tenting (sections of your scalp are being pulled up like a tent)

When to see a board-certified dermatologist

If you have hair loss, it’s never too early to see a board-certified dermatologist. People develop hair loss for many reasons. Your hairstyle may be the cause. It’s also possible that something else is causing your hair loss, such as stress or hereditary hair loss. A board-certified dermatologist can get to the root of the problem.

The sooner you find out what’s causing your hair loss and take steps to stop it, the better your results.