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Tension Alopecia: How to Prevent It and Can It be Reversed?


Doctors in Greenland first identified tension alopecia in the early 1900s when they discovered that women who styled their hair into tight ponytails had lost hair along their hairline. 

Although not a medical concern, hair loss due to it can cause adverse psychological effects such as emotional suffering, anxiety, and depression. 

This article will respond to all your questions about tension alopecia.

Table of Contents:

  • Causes and physical symptoms of tension alopecia
  • Is the hair fall due to tension alopecia reversible?
  • What products can be safely used to combat hair fall caused due to tension alopecia?

Causes and physical symptoms of tension alopecia

Tension alopecia can happen to anyone who wears their hair pulled back tightly, be it in dreadlocks, cornrows, braids, or a ponytail. 

It can also occur if you regularly wear tight headwear like helmets or headbands, or subject your hair frequently to chemical and heat treatment. Other factors like using extensions and keeping your hair very long can also cause unnecessary stress to hair follicles.

Occasionally wearing tight hairstyles is not a concern, and some regular hair loss is natural. Per the American Academy of Dermatology, we tend to lose between 50 and 200 hairs every day, which get replaced by new hair.

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Tension alopecia usually starts with excessive hair fall followed by soreness or tightness on the scalp. If left unchecked, signs become more severe with itchiness, swelling at the hair follicle, broken hairs, follicular ulcers, and balding patches. 

Scarring can also be present in advanced cases. It is important to see a doctor or hair loss specialist before such symptoms arise and seek treatment to avoid permanent hair loss.

Symptoms of tension alopecia include:

  • A receding hairline around the temple, forehead, or nape.
  • Pimples on your scalp or at the base of braids.
  • Patches of thin and broken hair in places where the hair has been under strain.
  • Damaged hair follicles result in redness, itching, ulcers, or infections.
  • Patches of shiny, scarred skin in more extreme cases.

Is the hair fall due to tension alopecia reversible?

Tension alopecia is reversible, but only if treated quickly. Ignoring symptoms can cause permanent hair loss. Simple lifestyle changes can help you prevent and manage tension alopecia:

  • Change your hairstyle every few weeks. Alternate between tight hairstyles and wearing your hair down.
  • Don’t use elastic or rubber bands to hold your hair in place. 
  • Wear weaves and extensions only for a short period of time if you must. Take sufficient breaks between each use.
  • Avoid chemically processing your hair if you braid your hair or use weaves. The chemicals will damage your hair, making it more likely to break.
  • Don’t use hair relaxers, heat driers, and rollers. If you wear a wig, pick one with a satin cap that won’t pull hard on your hair or scalp.

In advanced cases, it is advisable to see a dermatologist. The doctor will examine your scalp and take a sample of tissue to look for other possible causes of hair loss. 

You might be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection in any open sores and topical steroids to bring down swelling on your scalp. 

Minoxidil, biotin supplements, and hair oils are recommended to help re-grow and strengthen your hair.

Injectable medications also show promise. Patients given intralesional triamcinolone acetonide injections showed hair growth after one or two treatments, with no severe adverse effects observed or reported.

Other injectable treatment options like platelet-rich plasma can also be checked out. If you have too much damage, a hair replacement procedure may be the only option.

What products can be safely used to combat hair fall caused due to tension alopecia?

The following are some products you can look into if you are suffering from hair loss due to tension alopecia:

  • The WOW Onion Hair Oil With Black Seed Oil Extracts is a great choice to manage your hair fall and keep your hair healthy. Specially formulated with a blend of 7 cold-pressed oils like sweet almond, extra virgin olive oil, jojoba, castor, Moroccan argan, and coconut, it is completely natural and free of silicones as well as synthetic fragrances. 

    Onion Black Seed Hair Oil With Almond, Castor, Jojoba, Olive & Coconut Oils

  • The cold-pressed formula of the WOW Castor Oil ensures holistic care for your hair. Naturally rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids, it is a complete package delivering natural nourishment to your hair, scalp, skin, eyelashes, eyebrows, lips, and nails. 
  • WOW’s moisturizing 10-in-1 hair oil goes a long way during each application - just a few drops can cover your entire head, leaving it soft and supple after every use. Its non-sticky formula is proven to boost circulation to the scalp and stimulate natural hair growth.
  • The Moroccan Argan Hair Oil from WOW is your best bet to deep-condition thin, dry, and damaged locks. This premium, cold-pressed oil blend helps tackle thin, brittle, and dry hair and prevents itchy irritation, split ends, and frizz. 

The sooner you address hair loss symptoms, the more likely you are to prevent permanent damage. WOW products are clinically-proven and patented. They contain no sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicones, oils, alcohol, or gluten. Browse through our wide range of natural and cruelty-free hair and skincare products today.

Radhika Bhatia

I'm a content writer, copywriter, and blogger with a background in marketing, planning, and eCommerce. I specialize in beauty writing, including skincare, cosmetics, wellness, aesthetics, and health. Classically trained and idea-savvy, I love living in the present.

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