Popular hairstyles might cause hair loss

17 September 2007

Hair-raising research: Dr Nonhlanhla Khumalo (inset) led a recently published study of the link between trendy scalp-pulling hairstyles and permanent hair loss.

Braiding and brush cuts may be at the root of alopecia and scalp acne, says new research.

Braiding and popular corn rows can lead to permanent hair loss, a new UCT study published in the British Journal of Dermatology has found.

The study of nearly 2 000 adults and children in South Africa found that one in seven schoolgirls and a third of women were suffering from traction alopecia, hair loss, thought to be caused by excessive and prolonged pulling of the hair.

The research, led by Dr Nonhlanhla Khumalo of the Division of Dermatology, set out to find out if corn rows and other styles that pull back on the hair are to blame, particularly if combined with straightening chemicals.

"Traction alopecia is common in women and girls and is significantly linked to hairstyles, particularly when relaxed hair has braids, extensions or weaves attached," said Khumalo. "This can cause unsightly hair loss."

The research also found that very short haircuts, like the "brush cut", made men more prone to developing severe acne on the scalp, thought to be caused by the hair clippers damaging the scalp when pressed hard against the head.

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Monday Monthly

Volume 26 Edition 13

17 Sep 2007

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