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How Traction Alopecia Is Affected By The Hair Growth CycleDo you know what the term “traction alopecia” means?  The term “alopecia” refers to hair loss or baldness and the term “traction” refers to stress placed on the scalp.  Basically, traction alopecia means hair loss that is caused by scalp stress.

Hair Styling a Major Cause of Scalp Stress

Scalp stress can be caused by the tension placed on the hair follicle when the hair shaft is pulled tightly.  This happens most often when hair styles like cornrows, pigtails and any other hair style that pulls the hair shaft tightly and fastens it are worn by men or women.  The occasional pulled back hair style is not likely to cause enough scalp stress to make your hair fall out but, rather, it is the habitual incorporation of this type of hair style for prolonged periods of time that places sufficient stress on the scalp to cause traction alopecia.

Hair Styling Products are another Major Cause of Scalp Stress

There are many hair products on the market today and many of them are quite safe and healthy for your hair.  However, products like dyes, bleaches, straighteners and permanent wave solutions may not be as safe for your hair as you might want to believe.  Highly alkaline hair relaxers and straighteners as well as acidic permanent wave treatments can trigger hair loss.  If you are a person who uses a great deal of bleaching or coloring agents, you could be setting off a pathologic chain reaction that could result in the type of hair loss called traction alopecia.  When these types of products are used excessively, they can weaken the hair shaft and the result will be breakage and hair loss. Generally, once the product use has been discontinued, the hair growth will resume.

But How Does the Hair Loss Make You Feel?

Women may experience greater emotional distress at hair loss than men, but given the increasing interest in hair loss replacement options by men, I think the statistics will likely reveal that the emotional distress for both genders is pretty equal.  While there are many other causes of hair loss, such as heredity, autoimmune disorders, diseases, nutritional deficiencies, poisons, prescription drugs, chemotherapy, stress, physical trauma to the scalp, childbirth and psychological, there is a great deal of emotional response to the resulting look of the loss of hair.

Our Mental Image of Ourselves

As we grow up, we look at ourselves in the mirror.  We each form our own mental image of what we see in that mirror. This mental image is how we think others see us because that is how we see ourselves.  This is the image that we believe we are projecting to the world as we go through the various stages of our lives.  As we start to lose hair, that mental image that we have carried around throughout our lives begins to change.  The mirror image doesn’t match the internal self-image that we have grown accustomed to over our life time.  This new image is quite disturbing as we feel great physically but look older in the mirror.  This can affect our relationships with spouses, other family members, friends and even business contacts.  Your levels of self-confident will likely begin to deteriorate at home and at work.  How we look is very important to who we are and where we are going – in some careers it is everything.

There Are Options

If you find yourself feeling emotional distress that is caused by traction alopecia or any other type of hair loss, it is important to know that you do have options.  Like any other disease or condition, the sooner the cause for the hair loss is discovered, the more likely there will be an acceptable option to reverse or correct it. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive in your search for options and treatments.

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