Can Wigs Cause Traction Alopecia? [ANSWERED]

Many people wear wigs so that they can give their natural hair a break, but could wearing wigs damage your natural hair by causing hair loss?

Wigs that are too tight and restricting or have been worn for an extended time without any breaks can cause traction alopecia as traction alopecia results from repeated excessive tension on hair follicles. If not caught and corrected soon, this hair loss could be permanent. That said, avoid tight wigs that are too small or secured too tightly.

Keep on reading to find out if what you’re dealing with is actually traction alopecia, then we’ll dive into some tips that you can use to treat and prevent it from happening again.

Signs Of Traction Alopecia

You can easily tell if you are developing traction alopecia as you will notice baby (vellus) hairs along your hairline and above or behind your ears. These hairs are generally fine, sparse, and broken and indicate gradual hair loss. Also, if you notice redness or small bumps forming on your scalp where your hair is thinning.

Other signs of traction alopecia include:

  • Irritated and tender scalp. You may be experiencing a painful or itchy sensation on the scalp. This is soreness and stinging is due to inflammation of the hair follicles and can result in redness, bumps, and pimples forming on the scalp and flaking of the scalp.
  • A receding hairline. You may notice that your hairline has become patchy and that you can see more of your scalp coming through. this shows that hair is starting to break off or fall out from the tension being placed on the hair follicles.
  • Widening hair parting. You may also notice that your hair parting is becoming a lot wide and the gap between the two sides of the hair seems a lot bigger. This is due to the weight or tension on the hair follicles causing the hair to break off and fall out.
  • Scarring. The scalp may become more noticeable through the hair and appear shiny and scarred due to the tension on the hair follicles causing damage.
  • Blisters. In more extreme cases you may find pus-filled blisters on the scalp caused by extreme tugging on the hair that has damaged and wounded the hair follicles.

8 Tips for Preventing and Treating Wig Traction Alopecia

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to conditions such as this, however sometimes treatment is also necessary. With that being said, I went ahead and made a list of prevention and treatment tips to help you out.

The main tip for preventing and/or treating wig-related traction alopecia is to avoid wearing wigs that are too small and ensure that the elastic is not tight if you secure your wig with an adjustable elastic. If you experience headaches or neck pains or notice small bumps on your scalp/hairline, you need to remove your wig immediately.

Here are 8 tips for preventing and treating wig traction alopecia:

1. Stop wearing the wig. The best way to prevent further hair loss is to immediately stop wearing the wig that is causing the damage. If you wear wigs that are attached using glue, clips or tape try and take breaks in between each use.

This will give your hair follicles time to heal and recover from all the tugging and pulling and could allow for the hair to regrow naturally before the hair loss becomes permanent.

2. Avoid chemical treatments. It is so important to look after your hair underneath the wig. It is recommended that you avoid chemically treating your hair through colouring, bleaching and relaxing treatments. The chemicals used in these treatments can damage your hair and make it brittle and more prone to breakage when you wear your wig.

3. Get a lace front wig. Try and invest in a lace front wig if you are concerned about hair loss at your hairline specifically. Lace front wigs do not cause such significant hair loss or breakage and are a lot more gentle on your natural hair making them a safer option.

4. Avoid rubber and elastic bands. Avoid using rubber and elastic bands to hold your natural hair up underneath the wig. These bands can easily tangle in your hair and pull it out as well as cause too much strain on the hair follicles. Try and stick to material hair ties that won’t pull on the hair too tightly.

5. Use a wig cap. When wrapping your hair up to go underneath the wig, use a wig cap to keep the hair in place. A cotton or satin wig cap will prevent you from having to use too many clips and bands to hold up you hair and is a more comfortable way of keeping your hair underneath the wig.

Satin and cotton wig caps are gentle on the scalp and won’t pull on the hair as much. Just make sure that you get a wig cap in the correct size so that it isn’t too tight!

6. Switch up your routine. To avoid continuous strain on the same area of your scalp make an extra effort to switch up the way you secure your hair underneath the wig. By changing the way you do this every week or so you will spread out the strain on your scalp and the hair loss in one particular area should be less.

7. Use treatment creams. If your scalp is irritated and sore from the traction alopecia and you have areas that are red, swollen or bumpy use over the counter anti-inflammatory or steroid creams to reduce the swelling and irritation. These creams should soothe the area and give you some relief from the itching and soreness.

8. Stimulate hair growth. Make sure to continuously stimulate hair growth using essential oils on your hairline and in the sparse areas. I would recommend using oils such as castor oil and peppermint oil. These oils are known to stimulate the hair follicles and promote hair growth if used regularly.

If you are not having any luck with these options or the hair loss is extreme, make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist to see what your next options are. There are many different prescription hair growth products available that could help with the hair loss!

Is Traction Alopecia Permanent?

Traction alopecia is not permanent but if you do not address the cause of the hair loss and make changes to your hair habits, the hair loss can actually become irreversible!

If you don’t intervene, the hair follicles can become too damaged and scarred to produce new hair and the hair will likely never grow back. The best treatment for traction alopecia is prevention! Check out the 8 tips below that I have compiled for preventing and treating traction alopecia in wig-wearers.

What Exactly Is Traction Alopecia?

Traction alopecia is a form of alopecia, a gradual type of hair loss. Other forms of alopecia can be caused by genetics, hormones, or immune factors; however, traction alopecia is caused by too much tension and tugging or pulling on the hair follicles.

People that develop this condition usually wear their hair in tight hairstyles, have very heavy and long hair, or use excessive chemical treatments and heat on their hair. As such, sufferers of traction alopecia are commonly ballet dancers, competitive dancers or athletes, and hat-, braid-, weave- or wig- wearers, as they usually have their hair pulled back tightly and in the same way for long periods of time.

Wig-wearers can suffer from traction alopecia as they have to have their hair tightly wrapped or pinned back in order to place the wig on top.

Tight fitting wigs and wig caps can damage the hair follicles and lead to this type of hair loss. Wigs that are secured with hair clips, tape or glue also run the risk of developing traction alopecia as these can also tug at the hair too much and result in hair loss.


While traction alopecia is certainly not something anyone would want to be afflicted with, it is more common than we think for people who regularly wear wigs and live in hotter climates. Fortunately, if you know what to look out for and and how to treat and prevent it, this condition should not be a long-term problem!


Hey, I’m Jodie, the gal behind CraftyHairHacks. I have a deep passion for hair extensions, hairstyles, and almost anything that has to do with hair, which leads me to the writing and research I do for this website daily. Our site is still small, however, we’re pushing to get the best hair hacks out to as many as people as possible. ENJOY!

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