View Full Version : braiding related to shedding?

August 27th, 2009, 08:36 PM
Today is the third time I have read something linking braiding to thinning or damaged hair. I had previously thought that braiding hair *kept* it from getting damaged.

So, weigh in - which is it? Does braiding your hair help or harm it in terms of both shedding and damage?

August 27th, 2009, 08:39 PM
From what I read about braiding (which, I'll admit, isn't much) the shedding/damage has to do with the tightness of the braids. You do your braid so tight that your nose pulls up to your hairline, it's going to cause some loss.

August 27th, 2009, 08:45 PM
I have read that tight cornrow braiding can lead to traction alopecia, but I have come across anything that talked about just a simple single braid causing this.

Where did you come across your information, and was it mentioning traction alopecia or just plain old shedding? Just curious because I do think braids in general would help protect hair, provided they were not pulled really tightly.

August 27th, 2009, 09:09 PM
Part of it may be due to the fact that braiding contains the hair very effectively. When one takes the braid out and then combs or brushes; the hairs that normally would have shed quietly on their own that day and been unnoticed (~100 a day is considered normal) become more apparent.

There's been a few times in which I had a scared moment thinking I was shedding like a fiend when it was just the hairs that had shed throughout the day but been unable to 'release' because they were trapped in the braid or bun.

August 30th, 2009, 02:27 AM
I braid mine all the time and have not had any of this. But I braid loosely, and not too tight. It could be because of braiding too tightly.

August 30th, 2009, 03:52 AM
I agree with Eboshi, if you wear a braid for long enough and won't comb your hair in between it may seem like you shedding too much and it's the braid's fault, when in fact it's just the mandatory 100 hairs a day that stay in the braid, when usually they slide out or get combed out.
Any tight updo that pulls on the hairs and hurts the scalp can lead to traction alopecia, whether it's a braid or a bun. So as long as you don't make it too tight you have nothing to worry about.

August 30th, 2009, 05:59 AM
Since I just did some hours of research on Traction Alopecia in the medical journals, here's a brief description.

Any hairstyle worn too tight for too long may cause Traction Alopecia, which is bald or thinning patches of hair. Damage is usually on the hairline and temples, but it can occur all over the scalp and also on the beard. But it's reversible if caught early.
Here is a good article on Traction Alopecia with notes on medical research: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1073559-overview

Traction Alopecia has been noted in the medical journals regarding the following:

ponytails (Greenland women)
buns (Sik men with tight buns on head and beard, and old ladies who've worn the same bun for years - Chignon Alopecia)
nurses pinning their cap in place with bobby pins
hair extensions
hair relaxing with strong chemicals
tight braiding (cornrow, mini braids etc)
even excessive brushing and combing have been mentioned
Most often Traction Alopecia is found with African females who both braid and relax their hair and sometimes also attach hair extensions to the braids.

All examples above deal with prolonged use of the same tight hairstyle, mostly years of follicle abuse. When it comes to our hair styles it is good to keep it varied. Buns and braids should be loose. In addition to this you can change your part, vary your hair toys, vary your updos. Generally, anything that causes the scalp discomfort is a sign to look out for.

To answer your question, I don't think that you're in danger of this when making a plain English braid or French braid, just don't braid it so tightly that it feels like a face lift :)

August 30th, 2009, 08:21 AM
Pretty much what's said above. Very tight braids, just like very tight other styles, can cause traction alopecia. Plus, braiding can make it look like you're shedding a lot because the hair doesn't fall out - it's held in the braid, so that when you take it down, you end up with lots of shed hairs at once.

akka naeda
August 30th, 2009, 08:36 AM
I think it might cause slight hairline damage. I can't tell though because I have an area damaged by bleach right at the front anyway, and my hairline be naturally thinning slightly, but unless you have excessively long (I'm talking classic or longer here) and thick hair I doubt there'll be a problem - the problem is not caused by having the hair in a tight plait or in a bun, but by the weight of the hair, so I think the longer and thicker the hair the more likely you are to need to wear it loose to counteract the effect. I also expect there are people here with iii hair longer than classic who don't have even slight thinning at the hairline despite wearing their hair up all day and plaited at night:)

August 30th, 2009, 01:48 PM
I wear braid everyday and night and never experienced any hair loss cause of it.