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Crochet braids are often considered protective styles, put in to give your hair a break. You’re pregnant, going on vacation, busy with school, work, kids, or all of the above. Maybe you just want a new look.
Sadly, when you take the braids out it sometimes seems to take half of your hair with it. The same can happen with other types of extensions and weaves.
Let’s talk about two reasons shedding happens after crochet braids, and how you can prevent it.
1) Normal Shedding
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s considered normal to shed 50 to 100 hairs per day. You read that right – per day!
Those of us who have kinky hair don’t usually see this hair on our pillows or floors because the shed hairs stay caught up in our ‘fros and twist outs. It’s not until we’re detangling or styling that we see the shed hairs coming out.
When you have crochet braids in, further trapping the shed hairs, that’s 1,500 to 3,000 hairs in a month’s time. This could create a significant ball of hair, but if you’re not seeing thinning or bald patches on your scalp, it may not be indicative of a problem.
2) Traction alopecia
When your hair is pulled tightly for long periods of time, your hair follicles can become damaged.
You can often tell that your braids are too tight when the skin around the braids is pulled taut and/or tiny bumps and redness form. The area may itch as well.
If you have any of these symptoms, there is too much tension on your strands. They are being pulled from the root, and this pulling can damage your hair follicles in the process, leading to hair loss known as traction alopecia.
This condition can be reversed in the short term, but it’s extremely important to remove the source of tension immediately in order to have the highest chance of regrowing your hair. Traction alopecia can become permanent if the tension that caused it is not resolved.
Removing the source of tension should naturally result in hair regrowth. Scalp massage and keeping the area moisturized can help.
If your hair doesn’t return to its original thickness, speak to a board-certified dermatologist or trichologist to explore your options.
The Final Rinse
Shedding hair after removing crotchet braids or other extensions is common, and may be normal.
Always make sure your braids are done with minimal tension and closely monitor the condition of your scalp and hair in order to avoid permanent hair loss.
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