Very tight braiding or weaving may be linked to a permanent type of hair loss that affects many African American women, according to a U.S. study.
Prolonged pulling at the hair strands may cause inflammation of the hair follicle, which has been showed to lead to scarring.
In principle, this could lead to scarring hair loss or central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, a type of balding that starts at the top of the scalp and then spreads slowly to the rest.
The study, published in the Archives of Dermatology, is based on health questionnaires and scalp examinations of 326 African American women.
Nearly all of them straightened their curls chemically and about one in six had scarring hair loss. More than half the women with this condition said they had braids, weaves or hair extensions, as compared to only a third of those with less severe hair loss.
In a previous post I discussed Naomi Campbell's traction alopecia, the use of hair extensions is a known cause of severe hair loss because of traction alopecia.