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Traction alopecia & Greenland

Beautiful view of Greenland from my seat, where traction alopecia first got its name in 1907

Beautiful view of Greenland from my seat, where traction alopecia first got its name in 1907

Traction alopecia refers to a type of hair loss due to pulling forces. Women who wear their hair back tightly in pony tails or those using braids weaves or cornrows are also susceptible to traction alopecia.

Some men are also susceptible to traction alopecia, such as Sikh men who use turbans. 

 

1907: Traction Alopecia introduced to scientific literature

Traction alopecia has probably been seen for thousands of years, but it was first described in 1907 in West Greenland. Hair styles at the time in Greenland resembled the modern 'pony tail' and lead to hair loss.  It was termed "Alopecia Groenlandica" by an Austrian dermatologist. 

Traction alopecia has many different appearances but often appears as an area of hair loss along the frontal scalp.

In the early stages of traction alopecia, hair can regrow to some degree if the hairstyling practices are stopped (pony tails, braids, weaves). If left, and the traction alopecia is present for many years, hair regrowth is not possible with medications. 

 

 

Hair transplantation for traction alopecia

Restoration of the frontal hairline in a woman with traction alopecia. Photo: 12 months post op.

Restoration of the frontal hairline in a woman with traction alopecia. Photo: 12 months post op.

Hair transplantation can be a very good option for treating traction alopecia - provided the pulling forces have been stopped.

The photos on the right show typical before and after photos following hair transplantation. Most patients achieve final results by 12 months following their procedure.






Reference

Hjorth N. Traumatic marginal alopecia; a special type: alopecia groenlandica. Br J Dermatol 1957. 1957; 69: 319-22



Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299



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