An alarming new study suggests that you might be putting your hair at risk, and not even know it.
A new study has found that a certain type of hair style could result in significant hair loss.
The study found that black women who wear their hair pulled back tightly are at a disproportionate risk of hair loss based on 19 studies that found a strong association between scalp-pulling hair styles and a condition known as “traction alopecia,” according to a Johns Hopkins University statement.
Traction alopecia is the gradual loss of hair due to damage from the hair follicle, and the study found that the scalp-pulling hair style does a lot more damage than the women who wear them realize.
Any woman who wears their hair tightly, whether it be braids, tight ponytails, weaves, or dreadlocks, is at risk of having their follicles damaged, especially in the case of chemically straightened hair, the study found.
The best way to prevent traction alopecia is to switch to a less stressful hairstyle.
“Hair is a cornerstone of self-esteem and identity for many people,” Crystal Aguh, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in the statement. “But ironically, some hairstyles meant to improve our self-confidence actually lead to hair and scalp damage. … We have to do better as care providers to offer our patients proper guidance to keep them healthy from head to toe.”
The statement added: “In the more moderate risk category are thermal straightening, permanent waving and use of wigs. Temporary thermal or heat-related straightening of the hair, such as the use of flat irons and blow drying the hair — while not by itself significantly associated with traction alopecia — can weaken shafts, leading to “significant” hair loss when traction is applied, the researchers conclude. Permanent waves made with ammonium thioglycolate to create or alter curl pattern, together with added tension from chemical treatment, do the same. And wigs attached with clips and adhesives to keep them in place can cause significant breakage.”