What Is Traction Alopecia?

Here are things Cassandra didn’t realize could be contributing to or causing hair loss and hair breakage. Cassandra has been struggling with hair loss from the scalp a little, and while it has gotten so much better, there are a few things like traction alopeciathat she started learning more and educating herself on. 


Traction alopecia from tying the hair back

Photocred: istock 


Cassandra’s hair is naturally curly, and she blows it out to smooth it out. As a child, she was teased for her frizzy hair. But, the habits she uses to manage her hair have caused some damage. For example, she used to use hair ties, and her hairs would wrap themselves around the band. But, when she’d take the hair tie off, she’d accidentally remove hair or rip them. Cassandra would constantly put her hair in top knots or ponytails. But, that caused traction alopecia. Traction alopecia (TA) is hair loss due to repetitive tension on the hair (NIH, 2023).

If you’re pulling your hair back in any way, it can cause tension. Traction alopecia can actually cause little bald patches or areas of hair loss. Pulling back your hair can pull on follicles, and this could contribute to hair loss. 

So,  Instead of tying her hair back, she uses butterfly clips. She used to use


When we swim, our hair is like a sponge. It absorbs water or chlorine. It’s porous, especially if your cuticles are damaged. Your cuticles have multiple layers and that outer layer is called the cuticle. Cuticles are like scales or little flakes. If your hair is healthy, those little scales are smooth, but if your hair is unhealthy the scales might be sticking out, and it’s much easier for water or anything else to penetrate into the hair and cause damage, breakage, or weakness. 

Photocred: Barron’s London Salon


If you have lighter hair, your hair can turn a greenish tinge upon swimming. But, you can prevent damage by hydrating your hair before going swimming in the ocean or pool. You can wet your hair or put on a conditioner before you go in the ocean or pool so your hair absorbs and gets fully saturated with moisture and doesn’t absorb as much of the chlorine or saltwater. Those sodium ions could damage the hair. 

You can put sunscreens in your hair. Specifically, powdered sunscreen works very well.