Can Dreadlocks Cause Hair Loss?

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Dreadlocks on the right people can look unbelievably slick, whether you go for waist length thin cords or short statement ones, but ever heard of the saying 'beauty is pain'? Well, when your hair is being ripped out from the roots by constant pressure, dreads can really sum up the phrase. In this short piece, we'll go over some of the dangers of dreadlocked hair, and what to look out for. 

Read more Men’s Health features.

Male dreadlocks are one of those looks that can really work with a lot of people's style and personality. It's important that you create them properly, and not through the neglect method, but if they're made the right way and cared for, you can get manageable, clean dreads that look great.

However, there can be a downside to these classic braids, and if you're not careful with how much pressure you're putting on your scalp, you can end up with hair loss as well as bald patches.

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Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is a form of hair loss that's caused by force being applied to the roots of the hair. The hair weakens over time and can either snap off or be pulled out and usually affects the hair around the temples or behind the ears, however, dreadlocks can damage the crown and sides of the head as well.

At its worst, traction alopecia can cause scarring and permanent damage to the hair follicles, resulting in bald patches where the hair never grows back. Thin hair and dreads is never a good combination, and you're more likely to end up with weakened follicles or patches as you're adding stress to already delicate hair. And in extreme cases this could lead to a visit to a hair transplant clinic!

How to Tell if you Have Traction Alopecia

It's not always easy to know if you're actually suffering from traction alopecia until it's too late. If you answer yes to any of the questions below it might be time to bite the bullet and cut off those dreads.

  • Does your scalp feel sensitive to the touch?
  • Is your scalp itchy?
  • Are you getting frequent headaches?
  • Noticing any spots or blisters on your hairline?

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Although thick dreads can cause more damage because of the weight of them, even thin dreads can become an issue, especially if they're twisted in or kept in for too long. If your dreadlocks are falling out or they're starting to feel loose, it's best to just cut them off and give your hair time to heal. Dreads can lead to an early receding hairline, so don't take the risk. 

Cutting Dreadlocks

If you think your dreadlocks might be causing damage and you're ready to chop them off, it's always a good idea to get a trusted barber to do it for you. Chances are they'll know how to dreadlock hair properly, as well as how to get rid of them the right way.

It's possible to save a good inch of hair, so don't assume you have to go for the balding look. Dreadlocks take time to make, and it can be hard to let them go, but think about it - do you want damaging dreads for a little bit longer or bald patches?

On That Note

Dreadlocks can be a great style to work with, and there're various looks you can go for. However it's important that you take care of them, don't overload your hair with too much weight, and ensure that they're created properly to ensure the least amount of damage to your hair follicles. Don't let dreadlocks mess up your hairline, and if you feel like they're starting to, cut them off and try them out again when your hair has recovered.


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