Traction alopecia is a configuration of alopecia; loss of hair gradually from an external pulling source on the roots of our strands. Resulting in two forms, permanent or temporary, traction alopecia regardless of the state can be devastating to the overall condition of our hair.
With all this said I am not just droning well known facts but from experience. About 7 years ago I suffered from a bout of temporary traction alopecia from improper weave hair care, specifically along the hairline. The experience is engraved in my mind and if you have or are suffering from traction alopecia then you know how aggravating this setback can be. The measures I took to remedy this type of temporary alopecia were dealt with not only topically but externally. Below is my how-to-guide in how I combatted temporary traction alopecia.
*food choices noted are not representations of every single produce containing selected nutrients but just the top options.
A diet rich in Protein, Zinc, Biotin, Vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids not only ensure the “health” of your hair but aids in retaining length and the growth process itself.
- Protein: A zebra without stripes is well…not a zebra at all. Hair without protein is much like a zebra without stripes and depriving your diet of protein is asking for dull, weak and “lifeless” strands.
Whole grains are packed with what strands desperately need and there is no shortage of protein with a diet rich in whole grains but for those who may be gluten intolerant, quinoa provides as an excellent and even better source of protein as a super-food. Pronounced KEEN–WAH meaning Mother “grain” in Inca, though technically not a grain but actually a broad leaf non-legume, quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can digest. Containing all nine essential amino acids quinoa protects, strengthens and helps repair the hair shaft from within.
- Biotin: A water soluble vitamin, known as vitamin B7 and H, biotin sufficiently aids in the health of our scalp by preventing dry scalp. Dry scalp leads to flaking that can actually impede growth.
Enriching your daily consumption of swiss chard, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, legumes, avocados, almonds, walnuts, berries, soybeans, kidney beans, halibut, salmon, tuna, yogurt and cooked eggs (yolk) can greatly improve your daily biotin intake.
- Zinc: An essential mineral found in cells throughout the body, needed to make proteins and since hair and since proteins go together like butter and bread then you can understand why zinc is a necessity. This mineral also assists in the production of sebum or natural oils, and healthy oil production helps with distributing lubrication to all of our strands which prevents breakage.
Beans not only carry the same essential properties of whole grains and quinoa regarding protein but also are equipped with biotin, zinc and iron. Egg yolks, meat, oysters, liver, wheat germ, nuts, soy, pumpkin seeds, cocoa powder, fortified breakfast cereals, shrimp, and mussels are also some great additions in implementing more zinc into your diet.
*On the flip side a diet with too much zinc can slow hair growth rate and cause loss of hair, leading to other mineral shortcomings causing deficiencies in iron, copper and magnesium that all are a part of healthy hair growth (8 milligrams for females 19 years and older; 11 milligrams for pregnant females 19 years old and older; and 12 milligrams for lactating females 19 years and older).
- Vitamin E: Another essential nutrient, vitamin E makes a substantial impression regarding the rate in which our hair grows. Proficient and speedier growth circulation translates to a faster growth rate. The reason why vitamin E is so effective in the rate of hair growth is because of improved circulation from the growth of capillary glands vitamin E is able to induce. Many women do not reach the “average” half of inch growth rate a month due to deficiencies in the diet.
Cooked taro and spinach, paprika, red chili powder, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, sage, thyme, cumin, parsley, oregano, parsley, dried apricots, pickled green olives are great additions in supplying vitamin E to your daily diet regimen.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids : These fatty acids are especially essential to our diet since the body is incapable of producing this acid, therefore it is impertinent we suffice this void.
Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), one of the three fatty acids, is the most fundamental fatty acid in omega-3. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) complete the 3 fatty acids and are converted from ALA. Now our bodies require all three omega 3 fatty acids and they must be supplemented into our diet due to the inadequacies of our systems which do not convert ALA into DHA and EPA efficiently, well actually not very well at all!
Flaxseed oil (seeds), fish oil, salmon, mackerel, sardines, cod, chia seeds, walnuts, butternuts and fresh parsley are some of top choices high in all three omega 3 fatty acids.
Healthier you equals healthier hair! Exercise directly correlates to the condition of the sebum (natural oils). When you exercise you release toxins, through the release of these toxins the sebum is purified. Think of is as changing the oil in your car, neglecting the act of change and the car will lose its effectiveness of running properly and the same goes for hair, sebum is strongest when we as a whole are healthiest.
Besides purified sebum your chances of unnecessary hair lost are diminished because of stress reduction through a regular workout regimen.
What you place topically on your strands and scalp can greatly impact the progress of recovering from traction alopecia as watching your diet. Using products that do not allow your pores and strands to “breath” can inhibit growth cause breakage by creating a superficial unhealthy barrier.
- Castor Oil: Containing protein, vitamin E, minerals, anti-fungal/bacterial /insecticidal/ fungicidal and germicidal properties, aiding in eliminating dandruff, improving scalp disorders and clearing your scalp of infections/bacteria/fungus, all while keeping dry scalp at bay due to the fatty omega 6 acids, castor oil can also increase circulation to our hair follicles, stimulating growth.
*Now choosing the right castor oil is as important as building the proper foundation of your home, without it you are asking for a house that looks great on the outside but literally has no function what so ever in providing real protection. If you want the most benefits from your castor than Jamaican Black Castor oil tops the list. Raw and unrefined JMBC oil has sustained most or if not all of its nutrients. The color of this oil visually shows the rich ash content from the roasting process of the beans. The more ash present in castor oil, the darker and more effective the castor on our strands.
- Rosemary Oil: A multi-purpose perennial herb stemmed from the Mediterranean region, known also as Rosmarinus Officinalis not only combats premature greying and dandruff but cleanses the scalp due to its antibacterial properties as well as stimulating blood circulation for hair growth.
- Massage: The act of massaging stimulates blood flow which in returns nourishes your hair follicles. Promoting healthy growth of our strands through daily massages can strengthen hair roots which can decrease unnecessary shedding. When I experienced temporary traction alopecia 7 years ago, I massage the affected areas daily with castor and rosemary oil.
This one word alone can be your strongest defense against traction alopecia.
Eliminate The Root Of The Problem: The focus of traction alopecia focuses on what we previously mentioned “loss of hair gradually from an external pulling source on the roots of our strands.” Any style ranging from weaves (which can induce stress from too much bulk of added hair), braids, twists or a simple updo style as a bun can put you at risk for traction alopecia if not worn properly! What exactly is properly you might ask? Too much tension can cause irreparable damage even in a short span of time and yes that “oh I just need to wait it out” or tapping the stressed area as if you are actually loosening the style is an old wives tale. If you are feeling pain or stress from too much tension, rectify the style immediately, this can mean the difference between permanent and temporary.
Luckily my experience with traction alopecia was temporary but taking preventive measures and dealing with the problem as quickly as possible can increase your chances in recovery.