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Turban Alopecia

Updated July 2020

Turban Alopeica due to chronic use of turban and knotting hair – Bottom: hair line design before hair transplant surgery

Turban Alopecia is a type of traction alopecia that is seen in people who wear tight turbans such as Sikhs. In addition, Turban Alopecia can be the result of knotting and braiding long hair which results in hair being pulled continuously for long periods of time. This can cause hair loss with the same mechanisms as many other types of traction alopecia AKA a chronic pull on hair follicles that can destroy them permanently.

The overall prognosis of Turban Alopecia is similar to other types of traction alopecia. It might be reversible to some degree but this is only true in some patients. If re-growth of the hair is not seen a year after stopping the use of the turban and tight hair braiding, it is unlikely new growth will occur at all and this will leave the impacted areas of the scalp with permanent hair loss.

Turban Alopecia is generally seen in the frontal area of the scalp and, in some cases, the temple areas of the scalp. These are the areas that are directly affected by the traction effect of the turban and hair braiding that can mostly be seen in members of a Sikh family. Unlike the more common androgentic alopecia condition, which is a genetic predisposition to hair loss, Turban Alopecia is predisposed to familial male patterned baldness. It can be seen as an accelerator factor and can cause the occurrence of premature male patterned hair loss.

The risk of traction alopecia in Turban Alopecia cases could be reduced by not knotting or braiding the hair and by wearing turbans more loosely. For those who have experienced permanent hair loss due to Turban Alopecia, there is a natural and proven treatment option available through surgical hair transplantation. (It will be important to control hair braiding and tight turbans following hair transplantation to insure continued hair growth in these areas.)