Scarring alopecia / Traction alopecia (from Tight Cornrows, Braids, Weaves or Ponytails)

Could cornrows, braids or ponytails be causing your traction alopecia? Watch this short video to see some examples of hair loss from cornrows, braids, ponytails or weaves. If you see the video and think you are suffering from traction alopecia, read on and find out some more about this affliction.

Or check out our gallery “What does Traction Alopecia Look Like,” and see examples of different types (from weaves, braids, etc.)

How does is traction alopecia look?

Hair is thinning and balding mostly in the front. Sometimes the sides.  Check out our gallery.

What are the Causes of Traction Alopecia?

Frequent use of tight braiding, cornrows, plaits, extensions or tight ponytails damages the scalp.  Can also happen to older women due to inflammation. You know how it feels like the hair is being pulled off your head when you get cornrows or pull hair tight? Well guess what? It is being pulled off your head!

Who gets traction alopecia?

Women (or men) who keep their hair in cornrows, women who use braided-in hair extensions (tracks) or weaves, female athletes who pull their hair back tight for long periods of time and women in menopause. While it used to affect mostly African American women, plenty of women of all races, colors, creeds and hair-types are getting weaves (or as they call them now, “hair extensions”). Not only does it pull on the hair to have it braided in, it also weighs down the already fragile hair you have!

Can I reverse the damage from traction alopecia?

Right this minute, stop putting your hair in tight braids, get your extension out and stop your ponytails!  Studies suggest that hair can grow back, so with some oil and time you might get your hair back.  However, your hair could be permanently damaged.  One recent clinical study related to permanent hair damage showed that hair grafting followed by minoxidil (….) is also a good treatment.

Weleda makes awesome oils (I actually buy this stuff) and though I’ve not tried the Rosemary Hair Oil, if it’s as nice as the other Weleda stuff, I’m sure it’s great. And priced reasonably. Rosemary also prevents flakiness!

Growing hair back from traction alopecia is possible!

Biotin as a supplement is also a great help for someone trying to grow weak hair and so are shampoos, conditioners and serums can help.

Image: Tina Phillips /

  • What does traction alopecia look like?
  • Will hair grow back from traction alopecia?