A former English ballerina has spoken out about traction alopecia. 22-year-old dancer Diva Hollands has warned others about what might happen when you wear your hair styled too tightly, as she did, leaving her with a receding hairline at the tender age of 13 and eventually leading to a hair transplant.
Hollands has now had a follicular hair transplant, but during her school years she was at the receiving end of years of bullying because of her thinning hair, which gradually became worse after she had her child.
This type of hair loss is known as traction alopecia. It is caused by a gentle but prolonged tugging at the roots of the hair follicles. It is usually caused by hairstyles such as wearing the same, tight, hairstyle every day (a bun or ponytail), extensions or weaves.
It can also be caused by vigorous brushing or combing of the hair. It often goes unnoticed until bald patches or a receding hairline/parting appear.
Don’t fancy a hair transplant?
Mostly, traction alopecia damage can be reversed but there are ways to avoid getting it to begin with:
- Changing your hairstyle from time to time. If you wear your hair in a ponytail or a bun often, try to switch it up by wearing it loose for a day or in a different style
- Tie your hair styles loosely, preventing too much tension on the roots
- If you wear headbands or clips, change their positioning on your scalp
- Take ‘break days’ if you regularly wear clip-in hair extensions
- Try to comb or brush your hair gently
- Make sure your hair is kept in good condition to avoid breakage (e.g. less heat appliances, good conditioner)
While Diva Hollands’ case was extreme, traction alopecia does happen and it is important to know the signs and more important, how to prevent it happening to you.