Traction Alopecia and Cicatricial Alopecia

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Traction Alopecia

Additionally harsh chemicals for straightening and styling and thermal styling tools can cause significant damage to hair follicles or completely destroy the root at the subcutaneous layer at which point hair may never grow back.Traction Alopecia occurs when too much pressure or tension is placed on the roots of hair. Over time, hairstyles such as tight braids, weaves and extensions will cause noticeable thinning along the periphery of the scalp. This includes the anterior and posterior hairlines, as well as behind the ears. Those who suffer from trichotillomania (hair-pulling disease) may also suffer from this type of hair loss.

In cases of temporary hair loss, patients may not see hair growth for nine to twelve months. Thus it is emphasized that traction alopecia can and should be prevented by completely halting the use of hot styling tools, harsh chemicals, and hair styles that pull the hair tight for long periods of time.

If hair has not grown back within a year, the only definitive cure is hair transplantation which permanently places hair follicles back into the subcutaneous layer.

Two popular methods for transplant exist; Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) and Folicular Unit Extraction (FUE) / NeoGraft. To find out more about these procedures click here.

Although hair transplant surgery can give traction alopecia patients their hair back, they cannot go back to the hair styles and treatments which caused the hair loss in the first place. Transplanted hair is just as vulnerable to the damage caused by certain hair styles, harsh chemicals and hot styling tools as one's natural hair.

Hair Styles and Tools that Cause Traction Alopecia

  • Braiding and Corn Rows
  • Weaving Extensions
  • Ponytails Barrettes
  • Chemical Relaxers
  • Excessive Heat

Cicatricial Alopecia

Cicatricial alopecia, also known as scarring alopecia, refers to a diverse group of rare skin disorders that destroy the hair follicle, replace it with scar tissue, and cause permanent hair loss. Symptoms may range from severe itching, pain and burning, with rapid hair loss to nonexistent and slow gradual hair loss unnoticed for long periods.

The majority of patients are healthy otherwise and have no family history of a similar condition. While it is possible to have more than one type of hair loss condition, non-scarring forms of hair loss do not turn into scarring forms of hair loss.

Treatment strategies are different for each subtype and each patient. Those who feel that they are suffering from Cicatricial Alopecia should talk to their dermatologist before considering surgical treatment. Surgical treatment for cosmetic benefit is an option only in some cases after the disease has been inactive for two or more years. Hair restoration surgery or scalp reduction may be considered in these instances.