Traction Alopecia

As someone who has had long hair, I used draw my hair back and tie it in a pony tail or I would wind it up and tie it up in a bun.

I have never ever had the urge to have one of those funky top-of-the-head buns.

Boy, am I glad I was never into those tightly twisted and bounded buns because I would probably have even less hair than I do now 🙂

So, all youse folks out there, don’t tie up your hair too tight.


Traction Alopecia And Top Knots: How Your Man Bun Is Making You Bald

The man bun was one of the hottest trends of the summer, but it could also be one of the most dangerous. While wearing a man bun or top knot won’t get you killed like taking a selfie can, a phenomenon called traction alopecia means that trendy hairstyle may make you go bald.

Traction alopecia is a type of gradual hair loss that is caused by putting constant pressure on hair follicles. The follicles are damaged over time, and the results aren’t pretty.

While traction alopecia has traditionally been a problem most seen in women, the rise in popularity of the top knot and man bun has resulted in men opening themselves up to the condition, as well.

Doctor Sabra Sullivan, a dermatologist from Mississippi, told Mic that she has seen a stunning rise in traction alopecia in her patients.


“It’s really, really common,” Doctor Sullivan told Mic. “I see it probably once or twice a week.”

While hairstyles like the man bun, and its higher and tighter relative, the top knot, aren’t directly responsible for baldness, the way these styles are worn can be a problem.

According to Doctor Sullivan, “They’re putting traction on the hair follicles that the hair is not really meant to take. Traction alopecia in men is becoming more common.”

The man bun was a hot fashion trend this past summer, with everyone from celebrities like Jared Leto and Leonardo DiCaprio to dads at Disneyland rocking some variation on the theme.


The top knot trend wasn’t even limited to the United States. The Huffington Post Australia spoke to the David Salinger, director of the International Association of Trichologists, on the subjects of man buns and hair loss.

“We are seeing an increase here. I would say five years ago I saw women with it but never men, now we’re seeing it in men,” Salinger told The Huffington Post Australia. “It’s a bit early, they might be starting to get some thinning. As time goes on it will get worse and worse.”

The key here is that traction alopecia doesn’t magically happen because you put your hair up in a man bun, top knot, or even ponytail one day. It’s the result of constant, long-term traction on your hair follicles, which only happens if the man bun is especially tight and worn as a go-to hairstyle.

According to David Sullivan, things will only get worse for men who continue to wear tight top knots.

“Men don’t realize in the future they’re asking for trouble.”

Other experts are less convinced that we’re looking at an epidemic of traction alopecia in men who wear man buns.

Anthony Pearce, a hair and scalp specialist from New South Wales, Australia, told The Huffington Post Australia that he hasn’t seen an increase in traction alopecia caused by man buns.

“I haven’t seen too much of it,” Pearce told The Huffington Post Australia. “I’ve seen one or two [cases], but it’s not too much here.”

Most of the cases of male traction alopecia that Pearce has seen have been caused by other hairstyles, like dreadlocks.

“Young surfers who like to dreadlock their hair, you see the traction alopecia through their scalp, not just along the frontal hairline margin.”

Unlike man buns, dreadlocks weigh down hair follicles with added weight as the hair grows. Other hairstyles, like tight braids, can also cause traction alopecia. So, if you were thinking about moving on from a man bun to man braids, you might want to think twice.

The good news is that if you’re particularly attached to your man bun, top knot, or even man braids, you can keep the style without suffering from traction alopecia if you’re careful.

The secret to keeping both your hair and your man bun, or top knot, or whatever, is to keep it loose. Don’t put pressure on the follicles, and traction alopecia is much less likely to leave you prematurely bald.

[Photo via Getty Images Entertainment]

6 comments for “Traction Alopecia

  1. Mercy
    September 27, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    Some Malaysian guys wearing a man bun or top knot to show that they are artistic:)

    • moses
      September 27, 2015 at 11:48 pm

      Well, they will become old botak artistic men 🙂

  2. Mercy
    September 28, 2015 at 12:00 am

    I will encourage one of my artistic friend think twice before wearing his big man bun 🙂

    • moses
      September 28, 2015 at 12:04 am

      Nurses also tend to suffer from this as well. They have to tie up their hair for health reasons.

      In fact, I first came across traction alopecia because I knew a few nurses.

  3. Mercy
    September 28, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    This is a very good information. to help people to know about traction alopecia. Ladies tied up their hair for tidiness and never know that this action caused gradual hair loss.

    • moses
      September 28, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      Yupe, tie it up BUT do not pull it tight.

      If you want that tight look, use hair gel 🙂

      Courtesy of someone who used to have long hair 🙂

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