Balding Edges? Traction Alopecia is Treatable

Traction Alopecia is a common cause of hair loss on the edges of the hairline for both men and woman.  This a form of hair loss, caused primarily by the pulling force applied to the hair when wearing hair in a particularly tight ponytail, pigtails, or braids.

Over long periods of time, Traction Alopecia will cause the production of hair to slow down and finally cease. Although treatable when caught early, persistent traction will result in permanent hair loss of the edges where tension is the greatest.

Patient Jasimine discusses her experience

Dr. Boden interviewed on Channel 3 News about Balding Edges.

How is Traction Alopecia treated?

The main treatment for traction alopecia is to change your hairstyle. Avoid wearing your hair in a tight style, especially overnight. You’ll know it’s too tight if it hurts. Remove braids, cornrows, or dreadlocks. Avoid pulling your hair up into a ponytail or bun, or loosen the style.

If your hair is very long, cut it. Minimize the use of chemicals and heat, which can damage your hair.

Dr. Boden may prescribe one of these treatments for traction alopecia:

  • antibiotics to prevent infection in any open sores
  • topical steroids to bring down swelling on your scalp
  • antifungal shampoos
  • minoxidil (Rogaine) to regrow hair
  • biotin supplements to strengthen your hair

If you’ve lost a lot of hair and it’s not growing back, hair transplant surgery may be your best option.

Once the follicles affected by Traction Alopecia have ceased to produce hair, treatment will not be effective. This will be the case if the hair has been under large amounts of strain for many years and the areas of traction alopecia hair loss are completely bald (these areas will appear shiny).