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Home > Health Hub > Article > Traction Alopecia – Hair Loss Caused By Wearing Helmet

Traction Alopecia – Hair Loss Caused By Wearing Helmet

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 12, 2017

   5 min     



In India, it’s compulsory to wear a helmet across most of the states for people riding two-wheelers. While this rule has helped thousands of people by increasing their safety, it has also led to an uncomfortable and embarrassing hair loss situation known as traction alopecia.

When you wear a helmet for longer periods of time, it creates consistent pressure on the head, causing a lack of blood flow. Both of these situations lead to excessive hair loss and ultimately cause traction alopecia.

What is traction alopecia?

Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by excessive force being applied or by the hair tightly being pulled in the same way for a long time. It can occur to anyone who wears their hair tightly pulled back, whether in ponytail, dreadlocks, or braids. It can also happen when tight headwear like a helmet is used in the same way every day.

Reoccurred strain on the hair follicles can uproot strands of your hair and can even damage your follicles. This can cause itching, redness, and can even pus-producing ulcers and infections.

Symptoms of traction alopecia

  • A gradually diminishing hairline usually around the forehead, nape or temples.

  • Tiny pimples develop at the base of braids or on the scalp 

  • Itching, redness, and even ulcers on the scalp

  • The hair parting widens over time

  • Patches of broken or thin hair in places where your hair has been under strain

  • Patches of scarred, shiny skin in more progressive cases

Causes of traction alopecia

  • Particular hairstyles, including tight ponytails, braids, dreadlocks, and cornrows.

  • Hair extensions or weaves are fixed and glued, or tightly tied to the base of the hair, that may lead to tension at your hair roots.

  • Hair relaxers and additional chemical treatments. These relaxers tend to modify the structure of your hair shaft in a method which makes hair loss more likely.

  • Hair accessories, like hair grips or slides which are worn in a similar way every day.

  • Headwear, including tight elastic headbands or sports helmets, may cause the hair to thin where the headwear makes contact with the hair.

  • Using relaxers and extensions together. According to a study, using both of these together was the most notable risk factor for causing traction alopecia.

  • Very long hair can be heavy on your head and pull on your hair follicles. Very long and tightly tied beards may also lead to traction alopecia.

Treatment for traction alopecia

  • Avoid tight hairstyles as much as possible. In case a person’s profession or religion requires them wearing tight hairstyles, they should tie their hair as loosely as they can and try wearing their hair down or loose whenever possible.

  • Limit or avoid chemicals, including relaxers. Avoid putting relaxer onto your hair if they are already relaxed.

  • Change hairstyles every other week to prevent strain on a particular area of the scalp.

  • Try hair growth products. Around 40 per cent of people using a minoxidil product grow some hair again after 3-6 months.

  • Use anti-inflammatories. Steroid creams can help reduce the swelling on your scalp caused by traction alopecia.

Is there a permanent cure for traction alopecia?

Traction alopecia does have a permanent cure in the form of hair transplantation treatment. Hair transplant is a procedure where a hair transplant surgeon attempts to restore hair in the balding areas. In this process, hair follicles are extracted from a donor patch with healthy hair growth and transplanted to the desired areas.

Choose the right hair transplantation treatment for you

Follicular unit transplantation or FUT is a type of hair transplantation treatment where small strips of hair are extracted from the donor areas of patients and transplanted to their balding areas. This method is comparatively more painful to the FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) treatment. With Follicular Unit Extraction hair transplants, the probability of a person suffering from linear scarring is high, which may not even heal after the procedure is done.

Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE, on the other hand, is a hair transplantation procedure where each of the hair follicles is separately removed and transplanted to various areas on the scalp where traction alopecia exists. This procedure is performed under the careful supervision of experts. The scars left after the treatment is completed, heal naturally.

Why choose FUT treatment over FUE or vice versa?

Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) has proved to be possible and more feasible for somebody with larger areas of baldness who don't mind having scars which may heal over a longer time frame. 

Follicular Unit Extraction treatment, on the other hand, is rather suitable for people who are suffering from smaller areas or patches of baldness. There is less scarring and have fewer side effects occurring because of this treatment. However, FUT is more time consuming and may even require two or even three sittings to complete.

Preventing traction alopecia

  • keep the hair loose as often possible

  • change hairstyles every few weeks

  • loosen or change any hairstyle that is painful

  • choose fabric hair ties instead of elastics

  • wear thick, loose braids instead of small, tight braids

Importance of wearing a helmet

No matter what happens, your first and foremost priority must be safety. Every day, thousands of people all around the world, lose grip of their own lives because of being reckless about their own safety. Even if you are encountering hair loss because of your helmet, you can be preventive but not give up wearing a helmet. It is imperative that you protect yourself from any potential accidents and injuries that could even end up taking your life.

Wearing a helmet not only minimises your chances of injuries but also prevent from causing any trauma to your head. As much as it is important to wear one, it is also important that you choose that correct helmet for your head. You need to carefully try an check the size of your helmet and make sure it's not loose or too tight on you.

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Tags:  Alopecia, traction alopecia,Hair Treatments, hair transplant,traction alopecia, hair loss, what is traction alopecia, hair loss caused by wearing helmet, hair follicles, grow hair, hair growth products

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