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It’s no secret that most people go to extreme lengths to look their best. However, new research suggests that some of the most common and popular hairstyles worn by millions of women are actually causing them to lose their hair.
Approximately one in every three African American women suffer traction alopecia, with the primary cause being aggressive hair styling. That’s the conclusion reached by a team of Johns Hopkins University, having carried out a study into the cumulative long-term effects of scalp-pulling hairstyles.
Analyzing data from 19 previous studies, the researchers found a direct correlation between traction alopecia and certain hair styling technique. The condition occurs when tension at the hair root causes damage to the follicle, ultimately resulting in hair loss.
Traction alopecia is extremely common among African American women, affected up to a third of adults.
“Hair is a cornerstone of self-esteem and identity for many people but ironically, some hair styles meant to improve our self-confidence actually lead to hair and scalp damage,” wrote Dr. Crystal Aguh, assistant professor of dermatology at Hopkins and the study’s lead author.
While the researchers accepted that the study’s findings didn’t prove a direct connection between traction alopecia and hair styling, they spoke of several hair styles linked with hair loss. Extensions, weaves, dreadlocks, braids and ponytails were found to increase hair loss risk – particularly performed on chemically straightened hair.
The authors urged those in the healthcare and beauty communities alike to play a more active role in advising clients/patients on such matters. It is possible to prevent, treats and even reverse traction alopecia when it is addressed early, though the condition is often not brought to the attention of professionals until it is fairly advanced.
“We have to do better as care providers