Those that are fans of the chic, yet convenient topknot (or its male counterpart the, ahem ‘man bun’) may want to think twice before constantly whipping their hair up, as a dermatologist has claimed having one over long periods of time can cause Traction Alopecia.
“Traction Alopecia refers to hair loss secondary to continuous strong, tight, pulling hairstyles,” Francesca Fusco, MD, a dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology told Refinery29. “It is commonly seen around the hairline, but can happen anywhere. It usually appears after months or years of tight hairstyles.” So in other words, don’t panic if you’ve only had the ‘do once or twice.
“The pull or traction traumatises the hair follicle, damaging it irreversibly so it can’t grow hair anymore,” she said.
Buns, “man” or otherwise, aren’t the only style that are cause for concern, Fuso added. She advises that you should take extra hair of your hair and scalp if you wear your hair pulled back in some fashion quite often. This means topknots, braids, ponytails, weaves, and so on. “Wearing ponytails with rubber bands can cause breakage at the site where the band rubs the hair shaft — I see lots of women with this; they say their pony has gotten skimpier,” she explained. “Cornrows and weaves — if too tight and done continuously — can lead to Traction Alopecia as well.” This makes sense, particularly if you have fine hair, as it’s obviously not good to be straining your scalp and mane follicles all the time.
But as mentioned above, just because you throw your hair into a bun or ponytail once in a while does not mean you’re at risk of your hairline receding. The key here is how often you wear these styles, and how tight you’re pulling the hair. On top of topknotting with care, using shampoo and conditioning products that hydrate both the scalp and hair is important. “A healthy scalp provides the base for healthy hair. Ingredients like sunflower oil, almond oil and coconut oil, will nourish the scalp and hair,” Fusco added.
The hair loss is reportedly more common in males than in females, with dermatologist Sabra Sullivan telling Mic that “it’s really, really common,” for men. “I see it probably once or twice a week.” The condition, which causes acute baldness around the forehead and temples, is a direct result of hairstyles that pull the hair over long periods of time.
“They’re putting traction on the hair follicles that the hair is not really meant to take,” Sullivan said, adding the behaviour could lead to follicle death plus permanent scarring. “Traction Alopecia in men is becoming more common,” she said and agreed that man buns were at least partly to blame. We should also note here that some men look amazing with very little hair, just FYI.
This writer had similar issues with her scalp as a result of using too many hair grippers over the last few years which excessively pulled my hair, resulting in my scalp becoming extremely sensitive and painful. So I did find using the right conditioner and shampoo and opting for a loose ponytail or hair band instead worked wonders and allowed my hair and scalp to heal. And while there’s most likely no reason to panic and fear the loss of your hair, it is always a good idea to give your head and hair a break if you constantly use tight bobbins.
This article originally appeared on September 26th,2015.