When long hair goes wrong - why yours is falling outMan buns are a major topic of disagreement these days. Everyone from Chris Hemsworth, Gareth Bale and Jared Leto have all been seen sporting their own interpretations of the look. Although some men manage to truly rock the man bun, others just can’t seem to pull it off no matter how hard they try. It is all down to personal taste in the end, but now this controversial hairstyle has a serious disadvantage against it. It appears that regularly making a tight man bun or ponytail actually causes tension on the scalp which can lead to thinning hair or a receding hairline – this phenomenon is referred to traction alopecia.

What causes traction alopecia?

Traction alopecia is an entirely preventable form of hair loss. It happens over time and is a result of putting hair under consistent strain and tension usually due to one or more of the following;
  • Tight hairstyles, such as ponytails or buns
  • Tight cornrows, dreadlocks
  • Hair extensions, weaves or wigs especially ones which are attached with glue or clips
  • Hair accessories such as barrettes or headbands when worn daily long term, in the same position
  • Tight headgear such as cycling helmets or swim caps which can rub or pull on the same area of hair repeatedly
This constant tension can cause hair loss or thinning, usually around the temples and the forehead. Traction alopecia can pull out hair from the roots or cause inflammation of the hair follicles. If the condition is not prevented and is left untreated for a long time, the hair follicles will cease to produce hair altogether. In some extreme conditions, hair follicles which are consistently under a lot of tension can become open to infections leading to skin and scalp problems.

Can traction alopecia be reversed or treated?

Thankfully as traction alopecia is a preventable condition, you can easily avoid it altogether by changing up your hairstyle regularly and staying away from tight styles. If the signs of traction alopecia are spotted early enough, then hair fall should stop and healthy hair growth will resume as normal in time. Otherwise, if the hair follicles are badly traumatised, the hair will not grow back. The only option in this case is to speak to a hair loss expert, and possibly think about a surgical restoration procedure.

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By Ian Watson

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