X

Enter to win a FREE
SKIN ACTIVE
Tri-Therapy Lifting
Serum from NeoStrata!

*By entering to win, you agree to receive future emails from NeoStrata.

Once And For All: Are Ponytails Really Bad For Your Hair?

Large Editorial Image


January 9, 2016

Ponytails may be classic, but if you’re relying too heavily on this cute ‘do, you may be unknowingly doing severe damage to your scalp and hair. “The current trend of tight ponytails worn all day in our exercise/gym-oriented culture can definitely contribute to hair thinning and hair loss,” says Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, a dermatologist at Rapaport Dermatology of Beverly Hills.

The culprit behind ponytail damage is one you may have heard of: traction alopecia, which refers to hair loss as a result of prolonged tension on the hair follicles. When you pull your hair back into a pony and tie that hair band around it so tight that you fear actually breaking the elastic? Yeah, that’s not so great.

But ponytails aren’t flying solo in this too-tight-for-its-own-good category: you can add tight buns, braids, hair extensions, and any style that calls for you to pull hard with a brush, tease, or wrap your hair in constricting hot rollers to the list, as well.

Traction alopecia hair loss and thinning can occur anywhere on the scalp, but Shainhouse says with tight buns and ponytails, the hair loss is most common along the sides of the scalp, including the frontal, temporal areas, and especially the temples and above the ears.

How can you tell whether you’re damaging your scalp and hair? Simple: “If your scalp hurts from your styling, then your hair is being pulled too tight,” Shainhouse says. “That feeling of scalp tenderness after taking out your ponytail at the end of the day means that your hair was pulled too tight.”

What’s worse is that the damage isn’t always 100 percent reversible, especially if you’re committed to one specific tight hairstyle. “Continual pulling or traction of the hair roots results in changes known as ‘follicular degeneration syndrome’, which can eventually scar and cause permanent hair loss,” Shainhouse says. “With tight hair styling, the hairs get pulled, the follicles get traumatized and eventually the hair shafts become deformed and can be pulled out. If this occurs once in a while, the hairs will grow back. With persistent tension and trauma to the follicles, however, the follicle can be destroyed because fibrous scar tissue can develop around and within the old hair follicle. Hair cannot grow back.”

Now that we’re all thoroughly terrified, it’s important to remember that treatment is all about prevention. Shainhouse provides three tips to avoid traction alopecia:

1. Wear looser hair styles. “Buns and ponytails are okay, as long as your give your hair a break once in a while.” Shainhouse says. “Don’t wear them every day. Your scalp should not hurt when your take them out.”

2. Be nice to your hair while styling it. “Avoid pulling your hair too hard while styling; don’t tug with round brushes while straightening and be careful with any back-teasing,” Shainhouse says.

3. Rethink hair extensions. “Hair extensions are heavy,” Shainhouse says. “They are often used to mask thinning hair, but this is exactly who is most prone to traction alopecia–the tension and traction from the extension can traumatize the follicle and lead to scarring and more hair loss. Be very careful and consider using clip-in extensions for short periods only like special occasions. And of course, don’t sleep in them!”

For more beauty tips, check out how to erase a scar and Target’s new nail care line.

 

Tags:

Beauty, hair

Shop hair serum

More hair serum | 3 of 571 »

Josie Maran Cosmetics Argan Oil Hair Serum

Buy Now

Valery Joseph Long Cure Split End Hair Serum with 2 oz. Hairspray

Buy Now

Velvet Mesquite Hair Serum 2 oz. by

Nick Chavez

Buy Now




  • FYI, These Are The Thanksgiving Sales Of 2017 That You Shouldn't Miss

    FYI, These Are The Thanksgiving Sales Of 2017 That You Shouldn't Miss

    Style

    today

  • The One Natural Anti-Aging Product You Should Use To Look 10 Years Younger

    The One Natural Anti-Aging Product You Should Use To Look 10 Years Younger

    Beauty

    today

  • What Should You Wear With Velvet? Here's Some Amazing Ways You Can Incorporate It Into Your Wardrobe!

    What Should You Wear With Velvet? Here's Some Amazing Ways You Can Incorporate It Into Your Wardrobe!

    today

  • When Is Super Saturday 2017? (A.K.A. The Protagonist's Dream Shopping Day)

    When Is Super Saturday 2017? (A.K.A. The Protagonist's Dream Shopping Day)

    Style

    today

  • This Is The One Top You Need To Buy During Nordstrom's Black Friday Sale--Go!

    This Is The One Top You Need To Buy During Nordstrom's Black Friday Sale--Go!

    Style

    today

  • Here's How To Enjoy Thanksgiving Without Feeling Guilty Afterwards #WellnessWednesday

    Here's How To Enjoy Thanksgiving Without Feeling Guilty Afterwards #WellnessWednesday

    1 day

  • These Bestselling Moto Leggings Are Back At Nordstrom--Grab A Pair Before They Sell Out Again!

    These Bestselling Moto Leggings Are Back At Nordstrom--Grab A Pair Before They Sell Out Again!

    Style

    1 day

  • Nordstrom Shoppers <em>Love</em> This Flattering Asymmetrical Tunic--Get One While It's On Sale

    Nordstrom Shoppers Love This Flattering Asymmetrical Tunic--Get One While It's On Sale

    Style

    1 day

  • Beauty Bakerie's Coffee & Cocoa Palette Is Here--And We've Got Swatches!

    Beauty Bakerie's Coffee & Cocoa Palette Is Here--And We've Got Swatches!

    Beauty

    1 day

  • The Old Navy Black Friday Sale 2017 Is 50% Off EVERYTHING!

    The Old Navy Black Friday Sale 2017 Is 50% Off EVERYTHING!

    Style

    1 day

  • Huge H&M News: Sale Items Are An Extra 20% Off Today Only Which Means $10 Leggings!

    Huge H&M News: Sale Items Are An Extra 20% Off Today Only Which Means $10 Leggings!

    Style

    1 day

  • 5 Cheap Natural Products Dermatologists Swear By To Look 10 Years Younger

    5 Cheap Natural Products Dermatologists Swear By To Look 10 Years Younger

    Beauty

    1 day

  • Once And For All, Here's How To Make Stiff Jeans Softer #SHEfindsSolutions

    Once And For All, Here's How To Make Stiff Jeans Softer #SHEfindsSolutions

    Style

    1 day

  • Bell Sleeves Are In This Season And Here's How to Wear Them

    Bell Sleeves Are In This Season And Here's How to Wear Them

    1 day

  • If You Have Curly Hair, You Need Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner In Your Life

    If You Have Curly Hair, You Need Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner In Your Life

    Beauty

    1 day

  • These Swatches From The Gigi Hadid x Maybelline Collection Are AMAZING

    These Swatches From The Gigi Hadid x Maybelline Collection Are AMAZING

    Beauty

    1 day

  • When Is Free Shipping Day 2017? AKA, The Best Online Shopping Day Of The Year!

    When Is Free Shipping Day 2017? AKA, The Best Online Shopping Day Of The Year!

    Style

    1 day

  • Yes, You Should Definitely Splurge On A Samsung Galaxy S8 Active On Black Friday

    Yes, You Should Definitely Splurge On A Samsung Galaxy S8 Active On Black Friday

    Shop

    1 day

  • Here's What to Expect From H&M's Cyber Monday Sale

    Here's What to Expect From H&M's Cyber Monday Sale

    Style

    1 day

  • Here's Everything You Need to Know About MAC Cosmetics' 2017 Black Friday Deals

    Here's Everything You Need to Know About MAC Cosmetics' 2017 Black Friday Deals

    1 day

  • These Are Our Favorite Velvet Dresses Of The Season

    These Are Our Favorite Velvet Dresses Of The Season

    Style

    1 day

  • The Net-A-Porter Black Friday Sale 2017 Is Here--And It Is Everything!

    The Net-A-Porter Black Friday Sale 2017 Is Here--And It Is Everything!

    Style

    2 days

  • The One Drugstore Face Mask You Should Start Using, According To A Dermatologist

    The One Drugstore Face Mask You Should Start Using, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    2 days

  • The J.Crew 2017 Black Friday Deal Is AMAZING

    The J.Crew 2017 Black Friday Deal Is AMAZING

    Style

    2 days

  • The ASOS Black Friday Sale 2017 Is Coming, Are You Ready For It?

    The ASOS Black Friday Sale 2017 Is Coming, Are You Ready For It?

    Style

    2 days

  • These Warm, Stylish Puffer Coats Are All Under $200 #YoureWelcome

    These Warm, Stylish Puffer Coats Are All Under $200 #YoureWelcome

    Style

    2 days

  • Sorel's 2017 Black Friday Deals Are Going To Be AMAZING

    Sorel's 2017 Black Friday Deals Are Going To Be AMAZING

    2 days

  • The Kate Spade 2017 Black Friday Deals Are AMAZING

    The Kate Spade 2017 Black Friday Deals Are AMAZING

    Style

    2 days

  • Deal Alert! Get The ProX By Olay Advanced Facial Cleansing System For Just $13.99 With This Promo Code

    Deal Alert! Get The ProX By Olay Advanced Facial Cleansing System For Just $13.99 With This Promo Code

    Beauty

    2 days

  • 50 New Year's Eve Dresses Under $50 — Shop Now

    50 New Year's Eve Dresses Under $50 — Shop Now

    Style

    3 days

  • What Are Ulta's Black Friday Deals? Here's Everything You Need To Know (& Buy!)

    What Are Ulta's Black Friday Deals? Here's Everything You Need To Know (& Buy!)

    Beauty

    3 days

  • 3 Kat Von D Tattoo Liner Dupes That Are Just As Great As The Original

    3 Kat Von D Tattoo Liner Dupes That Are Just As Great As The Original

    Beauty

    today

  • 4 Foods You Should Eat This Week For Your Hair, Skin & Nails, According To A Dermatologist

    4 Foods You Should Eat This Week For Your Hair, Skin & Nails, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    today

  • Um, Did Kris Jenner Just Confirm That Khloe & Kylie Are Pregnant?!

    Um, Did Kris Jenner Just Confirm That Khloe & Kylie Are Pregnant?!

    Celebrity

    1 day

  • Um, Did Kim Kardashian Not Realize Her Outfit Was Completely See-Through?

    Um, Did Kim Kardashian Not Realize Her Outfit Was Completely See-Through?

    Celebrity

    1 day

  • The One Drugstore Eyeliner You Should Stop Using, According To A Dermatologist

    The One Drugstore Eyeliner You Should Stop Using, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    1 day

  • Chrissy Teigen Just Made The Most Amazing Announcement Ever & We're Freaking Out!

    Chrissy Teigen Just Made The Most Amazing Announcement Ever & We're Freaking Out!

    Celebrity

    1 day

  • What Is Halle Berry Wearing? She's Practically Naked!

    What Is Halle Berry Wearing? She's Practically Naked!

    Celebrity

    2 days

  • The One Drugstore Concealer You Should Stop Using, According to a Dermatologist

    The One Drugstore Concealer You Should Stop Using, According to a Dermatologist

    Beauty

    2 days

  • The One Anti-Aging Drugstore Product You Should Use To Look 10 Years Younger

    The One Anti-Aging Drugstore Product You Should Use To Look 10 Years Younger

    Beauty

    2 days

  • 5 Benefit They're Real Lengthening Mascara Dupes You Need Right Now

    5 Benefit They're Real Lengthening Mascara Dupes You Need Right Now

    Beauty

    2 days

  • Here Are The Best Dressed Celebs At The 2017 American Music Awards

    Here Are The Best Dressed Celebs At The 2017 American Music Awards

    Celebrity

    2 days

  • What Is Selena Gomez Wearing? She's Practically Naked!

    What Is Selena Gomez Wearing? She's Practically Naked!

    Celebrity

    3 days

  • The One Drugstore Perfecting Concealer You Should Use To Look 10 Years Younger

    The One Drugstore Perfecting Concealer You Should Use To Look 10 Years Younger

    Beauty

    3 days

  • These Lucky Brand Jeans Are Crazy Flattering--Get A Pair On Sale For $29 (Down from $80!) Today Only

    These Lucky Brand Jeans Are Crazy Flattering--Get A Pair On Sale For $29 (Down from $80!) Today Only

    Style

    4 days

  • We're Giving Away 100 SKIN ACTIVE Tri-Therapy Lifting Serums From NeoStrata #SampleSaturday

    We're Giving Away 100 SKIN ACTIVE Tri-Therapy Lifting Serums From NeoStrata #SampleSaturday

    Beauty

    5 days

  • Weekend Project: Make Your Own Solid Perfume

    Weekend Project: Make Your Own Solid Perfume

    Beauty

    5 days

  • Serena Williams Just Got Married And Her Wedding Was Magical!

    Serena Williams Just Got Married And Her Wedding Was Magical!

    Celebrity

    5 days

  • These Are The Boots Every Editor Wants This Year

    These Are The Boots Every Editor Wants This Year

    Style

    5 days

  • These Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals On Urban Decay Makeup Are Too Good To Pass Up

    These Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals On Urban Decay Makeup Are Too Good To Pass Up

    Beauty

    5 days

  • 4 MAC Prep + Prime Setting Spray Dupes You Need to Try

    4 MAC Prep + Prime Setting Spray Dupes You Need to Try

    Beauty

    5 days

  • What is Jennifer Lopez Wearing?! She's Practically Naked!

    What is Jennifer Lopez Wearing?! She's Practically Naked!

    Celebrity

    5 days

  • Drop Everything: Sephora's Black Friday Deals Just Leaked & They're Amazing

    Drop Everything: Sephora's Black Friday Deals Just Leaked & They're Amazing

    Beauty

    5 days