Protective styles are used to protect the hair from environmental and physical stress. With less manipulation to the hair, it gives it a chance to rest and grow. Protective styles also focus on keeping the ends of your hair—which is the oldest part—tucked and healthy.
Although these styles should promote healthy hair, there are things that cause your protective style to go wrong, leading to hair loss.
How Weaves Cause Hair Loss
Sew-in weaves have been a staple for women who want volume, length, or color change to their natural hair. While weaves can be a nice style to have, if you don’t take care of your hair underneath, it could lead to hair loss.
Braids are the base for a sew-in weave. If the braids are too tight, it could lead to things like traction alopecia.
Traction alopecia is hair loss due to the tugging and pulling of the hair. The damage occurs over time but it doesn’t take much for one hairstyle to trigger the problem.
Is Hair Loss from Weaves Reversible?
The great news is that, if caught early on, hair loss like traction alopecia can be reversible. When you notice thinning or balding of your hair, you should immediately see a professional. A professional will be able to tell you if the hair follicles are completely damaged or you are still able to grow hair.
A hair professional can also provide you with treatments, products, and styling that will help grow your hair back. Some individuals are given steroid shots or topical treatments that will lessen balding and eventually give you a full head of hair again.
Essential oils are also key for promoting hair growth. Oils like rosemary and peppermint can do the job as long as they are diluted with a carrier oil.
How to Avoid Hair Loss from Weaves
There are different ways to avoid or heal from hair loss but an individual has to take matters seriously. There aren’t any shortcuts or quick fixes when it comes to healthy hair.
Let Your Hair Breathe
While protective styles help promote healthy hair, many people neglect their natural hair because of it. You must let your hair breathe in between styles. Letting your hair breathe gives it a chance to have less tension and pulling—which is one of the driving factors for hair loss.
Avoid Tight Styling
Weaves are not the only hairstyle that can lead to hair loss. Any style that involves pulling the hair tight and high manipulation can cause balding or traction alopecia. Tight hairstyles include sew-in weaves, wigs, braids, and tight buns.
It is advised to let a professional style your hair but also be open with them. Let your hairstylist know right away when they are styling your hair and it feels uncomfortable.
Focus on using less tension when styling your hair or pulling it back in ways that will cause thinning around the edges.
Keep Your Hair Clean and Moisturized
Certain protective hairstyles can be worn for months but you should still maintain clean hair underneath. When your scalp is dirty and has buildup from sweat and products, it can lead to unnecessary shedding and stunt your hair growth.
Moisturizing your hair is key to maintaining health and strength. If the strands are too dry and weak, they break off with ease. Even when your hair is braided under a sew-in weave, use a braid spray or a DIY mixture that contains moisturizing ingredients for natural hair.
Protective styles like weaves can still be useful and safe, as long as you continue taking care of your natural hair. Every style you choose should be done with caution. Making sure your hair isn’t pulled too tight, is clean, and has moisture can help prevent hair loss.
If you do not feel comfortable letting your hair breathe, your hairstylist should style your hair loosely but neat. Be sure to not leave these styles in for too long because that can lead to hair loss as well.
If you are unsure about the state of your hair, always seek professional advice. Seeing a professional in the early stages of hair loss can prevent permanent damage.