Traction Hair Loss

Traction alopecia is a common cause of hair loss due to pulling forces exerted on the scalp hair. This excessive tension leads to breakage in the outermost hairs. This condition is seen in children and adults, but it most commonly affects African American women. The 2 types of traction alopecia are marginal and nonmarginal. Unlike trichotillomania, a psychiatric disorder of compulsive hair pulling that leads to patchy hair loss, traction alopecia is unintentionally induced by various hairstyling practices (eg, use of braids, hair rollers, weaves, twists, locks, or “cornrows”). In the initial stages, this hair loss is reversible. With prolonged traction, alopecia can be permanent.

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