If you’re like most women, chances are you pull your hair back into a ponytail before every workout. You want it controlled and out of your face for that sweat sesh, after all. Sound familiar? We’ve got two words for you: big mistake.
Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, a dermatologist at Rapaport Dermatology of Beverly Hills, warns that the current trend of tight ponytails women wear while exercising and working out can not only lead to hair thinning, but also hair loss.
“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 before you nix regular workouts from your weekly routine for fear that you’ll pull your hair out, there’s another option. After all, ponytails and pilates don’t have to go hand in hand. Enter the good ol’ braid. Turns out a loose braid is actually the perfect hairstyle for working out.
“Before you hit the gym, resist the urge to quickly throw your hair into a reliable tight ponytail,” says Erika Wasser, founder and CEO of Glam&Go express styling bar. “A loose braid is one of the best hairstyles to wear during a workout. It will leave you with tousled waves and no big dents, while still keeping your hair out of your face on the elliptical.”
One note of caution: not just any braid will do. Super tight braids, especially those that cause serious tension between the hair and the scalp, can be just as damaging a tight ponytails. When it comes to working out, low and loose–like this fishtail braid–is the way to go.
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