Although attitudes to hair loss have come a long way, it can still be a difficult topic to talk about. One artist is trying to change that with a new exhibition focused on the issue of traction alopecia amongst women with Afro-hair.

Discover Curl Codes

Elizabeth Joseph’s Curl Codes is an ongoing project based at Chisenhale Studios in East London, UK. The exhibition features Afro hairstyles, wigs and accessories, and is aimed at educating women about traction alopecia and how to prevent it. The designer was inspired to create the exhibition having experienced the condition herself during her teens, and noticing that many other women with Afro-hair had the same problem. Ms Joseph hopes that the project will stimulate conversation about Afro-hair concerns and encourage hairdressers and stylists to develop new, less damaging techniques.

Traction Alopecia & Afro-Hair

Although traction alopecia can be experienced by people of any ethnicity, it is particularly prevalent amongst women of colour. In the United States alone, around 1/3 of Afro-American women suffer from this type of hair loss – amongst them, actress Jada Pinkett Smith and model Tyra Banks. The condition develops when hair is put under stress by pulling, for example when it is worn in tight braids or ponytails. Specialists say that the reason that Afro-hair seems particularly susceptible to hair loss is due to pressure that popular styling techniques can put on the follicles. Weaves, relaxers and edge products can all strain the hair and over time, cause it to be pulled out. This results in thinning and/or bald patches usually around the hairline.

Preventing and Treating Traction Alopecia

The best way to avoid developing traction alopecia is to vary your hairstyle regularly, choosing looser, lighter options that put less strain on the follicles. However, if your hair is thinning and you think traction alopecia is to blame, it is not too late to do something about it. Vinci Hair Clinics offer a variety of products and services that can help including vitamin and mineral supplements, LLLT (Laser Cap treatment), PRP and Mesotherapy. Another option is Micro Scalp Pigmentation for Long Hair, a non-surgical treatment in which pigments are applied to the scalp to create a look of improved hair density.

Traction Alopecia in the Spotlight at London Exhibition