It is true that weaves and braids are protective styles and can help your hair to grow, but they can also cause severe hair damage, and can even result in balding when done incorrectly. I have seen clients of mine who have come to me to do their hair after they have taken braids down, where I notice extensive hair loss, particularly around the edges. This is called traction alopecia and it is 100% PREVENTABLE!
Traction alopecia is the thinning or balding of hair due to too much stress on the hair. It can come from incorrectly wearing extensions, ponytails being too tight, and the ultimate culprit: braids. Again, it is 100% preventable by simply taking care of your hair. If you constantly wear these styles that pull on the edges or any part of your hair, you are putting your hair at risk. Many people get their hair braided tightly in order to make it last longer. This is the worst thing you can do because it is that continuous extra tension weakens the hair follicle and can result in extreme thinning and/or actual hair loss.
In order for your hair to actually grow while you wear protective styles, you have to make sure your hairstyles are not too tight and are not pulling or straining the hair. It's simple, if you feel any discomfort while wearing these styles, that is your sign that it is too tight and needs to be re-done or adjusted. Always listen to your body.
I once had a client that went and got braids and knew that they felt too tight around the edges. Instead of speaking up or immediately having the braider take them down, she allowed the braids to stay in with the hopes that they would eventually loosen up. Well they did more than that. The braids around the edges began to fall completely out of her head, with her real hair still attached, leaving bald spots. SHE WAS COMPLETELY BALD AROUND HER EDGES!! She finally took the braids completely down and saw a complete picture of the damage. This is a cautionary tale for you. Please don't let this happen to you. You can have beautiful braids without tension AND allow your hair to grow at the same dang time!
It ALWAYS cost you more money to fix a mistake. Trust your instincts when it comes to your hair. If you have that feeling telling you something isn't right, trust your gut. Luckily this client has enough hair to cover up her sides so that no one will be able to tell. However, this isn't always the case. Never sacrifice the health of your hair for a style.
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