Traction Alopecia: The Basics of the Condition

Sourav Gupta
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Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
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A man found early symptoms of Traction Alopecia from hairline

Repetitive pulling of hair follicles can lead to Traction Alopecia (TA).

You can have this condition if you keep your hair in tight ponytails, buns, or braids.

Hair starts losing from the part of the scalp having greater tension on follicles.

Hair loss commonly starts from the hairline in Traction Alopecia.

Using chemicals and electric appliances such as hair straighteners and dryers may lead to faster hair loss.

Starting natural remedies and stopping pulling hairs can prevent Traction Alopecia in the early stages.

Continue reading to know more about Traction Alopecia, its potential side effects, symptoms, and different treatments.

Symptoms of Traction Alopecia

The starting stage of Traction Alopecia shows little bumps on the scalp. 

As the condition worsens, symptoms like thinning and broken hair may appear. 

The hair loss depends on the scalp areas and varies per your hairstyle.

Other than hair loss, there are some other symptoms of Traction Alopecia:

  • Itching on the scalp
  • Scaling
  • Pus-filled pimples
  • Redness on scalp
  • Scalp pain
  • Folliculitis (Swelling of hair follicles)
  • Thin hair

This condition can be treated naturally at home in the early stage. 


Frequent use of hair dryers, straighteners, and hot combs can damage your hair and promote Traction Alopecia.Source: SeventyFour_from_Getty_Images
Using hair dryers and hot combs can cause Traction Alopecia

The use of hair dryers, hot combs, and tight hairstyles are the leading causes of Traction Alopecia.

Continuous or sudden pulling of the hair causes hair to loosen from follicles.

This causes itchiness, swelling, and redness of the scalp.

This repetitive pulling also damages hair follicles.

Swelling and repeated hair tension may result in faster hair loss.

Some of the hairstyles causing Traction Alopecia are

  • Dreadlocks
  • Braided hair
  • Heavy hair extensions
  • Repetitive use of hot combs
  • Wigs
  • Tight ponytails
  • Putting hairs in rollers for more extended periods

Other reasons include tight head covers such as

  • Wearing tight helmets
  • Wearing turbans
  • Tight winter caps

This hair loss is common in professions such as gymnasts, ballerinas, military personnel, etc. 

This condition can affect people of any age group. 

But, it is more likely to occur as you age because hair becomes more damaged.

As per PubMed
“The odds ratio for Traction Alopecia was higher in adults than in children (<18 years) and was higher with braiding-related than chemical-related symptoms.
The highest risk of TA, compared with natural hair, occurred when traction was added to relaxed hair. 

Only 18.9% of patients with TA had never had symptoms related to hairdressing. TA severity was associated with age group, current hairstyle, and hairdressing symptoms”.

Traction Alopecia treatment

Traction Alopecia is permanently curable, and you must start treatment as soon as possible.

You might not need any treatment if you take care of your hair in the early stages of Traction Alopecia.

There are different types of Traction Alopecia treatments.

Treatments for Traction Alopecia include medication, hair transplant, and natural care. 

Symptoms of the early stage, like itching and swelling, can be treated with topical corticosteroids and antibiotics.

“Our hair was not evolutionarily meant to be pulled tightly, so do whatever you can to avoid that.”

Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist at the Skin and Laser Center at Mount Sinai in New York.

But when more hair follicles are damaged, then treatment is done using oral antibiotics and corticosteroid injections.

In case of severe or permanent hair loss, hair transplant surgery is the only option.

It is advised to request your doctor for a prescription as per the severity of your hair loss.


Two types of salts help in promoting hair growth, Minoxidil, and Finasteride.

Your trichologist may prescribe the salt according to the severity of your condition.

Reduced size and damaged follicles lead to lesser hair growth.

Minoxidil helps in increasing the size of hair follicles and boosts hair growth.

Some medicines containing Minoxidil as the main ingredient are

Medicines (with Minoxidil)Approx. Cost
Coverit 2% 60ml$8.40
Tugain Solution 10 (60 ml)$87.30
Mintop Solution 2% (60 ml)$9.20
Tugain 5% 60ml$20.54

Finasteride works by stopping the conversion of Testosterone into Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

DHT prevents the faster growth of your hair,

Finasteride helps in blocking DHT production and helps in promoting hair growth.

Some medicines containing Finasteride are

Medicines (with Finasteride)Approx. Cost
Finpecia 1mg$6.27
Finalo 1mg$19.00

With great discounts, you can buy these medications from WOWRxPharmacy at the best prices.

Not all medicines are FDA approved, consult your doctor about the best treatment for Traction Alopecia.

Hair Transplant

The last option in case of permanent Traction Alopecia is hair transplant surgery.

The two common hair transplants are 

  • Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
  • Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)

In FUT, the surgeon takes the part of the skin having healthy follicles.

The donor site is the back of the head or part of the scalp having good hair density.

The surgeon uses a local anesthetic to numb the area so the patient doesn’t feel pain.

Then the skin sample is separated into 1500 to 2000 different follicles.

But in FUE, the surgeon marks the areas which are having no hair. 

Local anesthesia removes the skin so the patient doesn’t feel any pain.

Follicular Units are extracted from a healthy part of the scalp using a punch incision. 

Then the follicles are transplanted in the area having damaged hair follicles.

FUE doesn’t include cutting the scalp skin.

FUE takes longer time than FUT but has many advantages. FUE has many benefits, like lesser pain and few side effects.

Natural Treatment

Traction Alopecia can be treated naturally if diagnosed in time.

Some of the natural home treatments are

  • Applying warm oils (coconut oil, castor oil, almond oil) can help moisturize the scalp and promotes hair growth
  • Taking vitamins and minerals like vitamin B7 (Biotin), zinc and iron can help in growing new hair
  • Avoid accidental pulls and damage to your scalp

Taking these precautions into your daily routine can reverse Traction Alopecia. 

These things may increase the size of hair follicles and increase hair growth.

Recommended reading :
To learn more about different treatments for Traction Alopecia, read Traction Alopecia treatments.


Massaging your scalp with castor and coconut oil may help in promoting hair growth in Traction Alopecia.Source: Pixelshot
Massaging scalp with Castor oil and Coconut oil may promote hair growth

Traction Alopecia is a reversible hair condition.

If treated at early stages, hairs can start growing naturally.

Some preventive methods must be followed to avoid Traction Alopecia.

  • Avoid tight hairstyles
  • Avoid using chemicals for straightening your hair
  • Change your hairstyle after a couple of days
  • Keep massaging your scalp using coconut oil, and almond oil
  • Try different hair growth products
  • Use wigs that cause less friction with the scalp
  • Avoid using dryers and straighteners
  • Use soft pillow covers made of satin or silk

It is possible to recover completely from Traction Alopecia.

In the early stage, hair follicles are affected less, and the damage is not severe.

With some changes in hair styling, taking hair growth medicines like Minoxidil can help reverse Alopecia.

Giving up tight hairstyles can also help in stopping hair loss.

“Hairstyles should be changed regularly to avoid strain on any area of the scalp. Chemicals such as relaxers may contribute as well and should be limited as much as possible.”

Hadley King, MD, a dermatologist in New York.


Traction Alopecia is caused due to excessive pulling of hair follicles.

Avoiding certain hairstyles can help prevent hair loss.

 If you continue styling your hair the same way, the hair loss will be permanent.

But, in case you stop winding your hair in a tight hairstyle, your hair will start growing normally. 

Traction Alopecia is curable. If you stop wearing your hair in the tight hairstyle that caused it, your hair will grow back normally.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to grow my edges back from Traction Alopecia?

Traction Alopecia can be reversed in the early stages or hair loss. Stop pulling your hair and have loose hairstyles. By doing so, your hair will start growing naturally. Some of the medicine which may promote hair growth contains Minoxidil and Finasteride salts.

What does Traction Alopecia look like?

In Traction Alopecia, hair starts falling from the hairline. You can see small bumps on your scalp in the early stages. As the condition worsens, you will start losing hair from the front and side of your scalp.

How to prevent Traction Alopecia?

Avoiding hairstyles like braids and dreadlocks can help in preventing Traction Alopecia. Keep changing hairstyles within a couple of days to get better results and good hair growth.

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