As curly girls, we all understand the power of a good protective style. From box braids and cornrows to a sleek bun or sew-in, these styles can protect our hair and make us look amazing. But what happens when a protective style turns destructive? Although these styles can be gorgeous, they can also cause permanent hair loss and scarring if you're not careful. This unfortunate loss of hair is called: traction alopecia.
So let's talk about what traction alopecia is, what causes it, and most importantly, how your PuffCuff helps you to prevent it.
What is Traction Alopecia?
Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by excessive pulling of the hair, which can lead to permanent damage to the follicles. This condition is common in African-American women, but it can affect people of any ethnicity. Those of us in professions like the service and medical industry that tend to put our hair up frequently are more at risk.
The most common areas affected are the temples and the crown of your head. The condition can be diagnosed with a dermatologist's help by looking at patches of the balding scalp around these areas that don't grow back even after you stop wearing the styles that were pulling at your hair.
What causes traction alopecia?
Wearing any hairstyle where you are tightly pulling at the hair could put you at risk for traction alopecia. These styles include:
- Ponytails or buns
- Braids, cornrows or locs
- Extensions such as weaves or wigs
How to Prevent Traction Alopecia
The best way to protect your hair is to wear loose hairstyles that don’t pull on the hair and cause breakage. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your look, it simply means you need to choose the right hair tool. The PuffCuff was designed specifically for this purpose. The one-of-a-kind design lets you style your hair in your desired updo while leaving room for your curls to expand, helping you avoid pulling and breakage.
In addition to choosing tools that don’t put tension on your hair, there are other ways to avoid not only Traction Alopecia but hair damage in general. Some things you can do to protect your curls include:
- Switch it up by changing your hairstyle every couple of weeks. For example, if you have your hair in box braids for a few weeks, alternate to wearing your curls in two-strand twists the next weeks.
- Avoid chemically processing your hair. The chemicals can damage your hair, making it more likely to break, especially when you are wearing your processed hair in braids or weaves,
- Avoid heat damage by keeping the heat setting low on your styling tools and using a high-quality heat protectant.
- Protect your hair by wrapping it while you sleep and using silk or satin products.
- Keep your hair well moisturized with quality natural products to avoid breakage.
Ultimately, the thing to keep in mind is that although a “snatched” style may look good for a while, it’s not worth sacrificing the health of your hair. You don’t have to choose between having beautiful hair and having healthy hair. With the help of The PuffCuff, you can create styles that compliment your curls while keeping them healthy at the same time.
By Raeah Carrol