Warning: Your Topknot Is Making Your Hairline Recede

Beware of other hair-loss culprits like braids, ponytails and cornrows.

So pretty and yet so damaging. | Image via Pinterest.

If you’re a grade-A student in the school of Lazy Person Hair – as in, it’s either down or swirled up in a topknot – there’s something heartbreaking you need to know. This message also goes out to women who favor tight braids and to you hipster dudes who have hopped on the man-bun train: Wearing your hair in a pulled back hairstyle repeatedly can lead to premature hair loss and baldness. EEK.

It’s something that’s been rumored for a while, but the topknot-to-baldness news has reached a fever pitch lately, and for good reason: There’s actually some truth to it. Tight hairstyles can cause major hair loss or, in scientific terms, traction alopecia – a receding hairline due to constant pulling on the hair follicles.

GQ explained it like this: The constant, if gentle, tugging on your strands inflames the roots of your hair; these roots than “ditch the follicle like a bad boyfriend.” The good news? The solution is pretty easy. Swap out a tight pony or topknot for a more natural, relaxed style that won’t hurt your scalp at the end of the day.

For women of color especially, the threat of traction alopecia is very real for hair that’s styled in cornrows or the ever-popular Senegalese twist top knot. The easiest way to save your hairline and prevent balding, according to Knekeya Payn, owner and stylist La Pearl Beauty Emporium in Powelton Village, is to listen to your stylist.

“Sometimes clients leave hair in longer then suggested, which can lead to thinning,” she says. But just because you don’t see any change in your hairline doesn’t mean it isn’t being damaged: “It doesn’t always start right away,” Payn says. “You need to change up braiding and weave patterns, so that one area won’t be more concentrated on all the time.” A good hairstylist knows how to treat all types of hair, but be sure to ask anyway.

The bottom line is this: Give your hair a little bit of a breather from super-taut styles every now and then. Your edges will thank you.