Do Braids Cause Hair Thinning: Know The Signs And Solutions

Historically, braids have been a traditional hairstyle worn by many cultures. They can be worn as a protective style, to keep hair out of the way, or as a fashion statement. 

However, there remains one major concern. Do braids cause hair thinning? 

Braids can cause hair thinning if they’re too tight, worn for too long, or done too frequently. Moreover, if the braids aren’t cleaned and maintained properly, it can lead to scalp irritation and hair loss. 

Stick to the end to learn more about the reasons behind braids causing hair thinning and how to prevent it. 

Can You Get Braids If Your Hair Is Thinning

Can You Get Braids If Your Hair Is Thinning

It’s possible to get braids even if you have thinning hair. However, you have to be mindful of a few things.

Firstly, thinning hair is more prone to splitting and damage, so you must be gentle when braiding and not pull the hair too tight because if they’re done too tightly or left in for too long, it pulls on the scalp and causes further hair loss. 

If you’re experiencing hair thinning, avoid tight braids and opt for looser, bigger ones.

When braiding, it’s essential to keep the scalp clean and well-moisturized to prevent irritation or infection, which can lead to hair loss. It’s a good idea to consult a hairstylist to determine the best braiding style for your hair type and condition.

Identifying The Cause Of Your Hair Thinning 

Identifying The Cause Of Your Hair Thinning 

A variety of factors can cause hair loss, including- 

1. Genetics

Hair loss of male and female patterns, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is a prevalent cause of hair loss. It’s caused by a combination of genetics and hormones.

The common symptoms of genetically influenced hair loss include a receding hairline from the late 20s and the appearance of bald spots.

2. Hormonal Changes And Medication

Pregnancy, menopause, thyroid imbalances, and other conditions that decrease estrogen production can lead to hair loss. Other hormones like androgen or low iron levels accelerate hair fall.

The side effects of certain medications, including blood thinners, antidepressants, and birth control pills, can cause hair thinning. 

Most often, the shampoo you’re using may not be suitable for your hair or contains harmful chemicals, which weaken the hair and result in hair fall.

3. Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, iron deficiency anemia, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can cause hair loss. Malnourishment or vitamin deficiency is another prime cause of hair thinning. 

4. Lifestyle factors

Poor nutrition, lack of sleep, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to hair loss. Additionally, physical and emotional stress can cause hair loss known as telogen effluvium, which causes the hair to fall out prematurely.

5. Uncomfortable Hairstyles 

Traction alopecia is hair loss caused by pulling on the scalp, which can occur from hairstyles that stress the hair excessively, such as tight ponytails, braids, or extensions. 

On top of that, hairstyles not maintained with proper hygiene causes dandruff and breakage in the hair roots. 

It’s worth noting that hair loss is a natural part of the growth cycle, and everyone loses some hair every day. However, significant hair loss isn’t normal and should get the attention of a hair specialist. 

Why Do Braids Thin Your Hair

Why Do Braids Thin Your Hair

Braids can thin hair if pulled too tightly or worn for an extended period. Tight braids put a lot of tension on the hair roots and hair follicles, which causes hair damage and hair loss. 

Pulling the hair too tightly damages the hair shaft, weakening it and causing hair thinning. Medically, it’s termed traction alopecia.

Also, braids left in for too long can cause matting and hair tangling, leading to breakage and thinning. It also attracts dust and germs, causing irritation to the scalp.

How To Recognize The Sign Of Hair Thinning Caused By Braids

How To Recognize The Sign Of Hair Thinning Caused By Braids

Like any uncomfortable hairstyle, tight braids on fragile hair cause traction alopecia. There’re a few signs to look for recognizing hair thinning caused by braids. The symptoms include:

  • A widening part or balding spots along the hairline
  • Easy visibility of the scalp
  • Loss of volume of the hair
  • Slow or stunted hair growth
  • Scalp hurts when combing or tying the hair
  • An itchy scalp with redness

What Are The Best Braids For Thinning Hair

What Are The Best Braids For Thinning Hair

If you have thinning hair, choosing braids that are gentle on your hair and scalp is vital. Some braids that may be better for thinning hair include:

1. Microbraids

Thinning hair suits well with micro braids as they’re small, thin, and less likely to cause harm to your hair. 

2. Box braids

Another option for thinning hair is box braids. They’re similar to micro braids but larger and may be more comfortable for some people.

3. Single braids

Single braids are made with only one strand of hair which puts less stress on your hair and scalp, making it a good choice for people with thinning hair.

4. Crochet braids

Crochet braids are made by crocheting synthetic hair onto your hair. The hairstyle is fashionable and elegant and suits less voluptuous hair quite well.

5. Loose braids

The best braid style for thinning hair is probably loose braids. They’re comfortable to wear as they reduce the stress and tension between the hair roots and the scalp. 

Regardless of the type of braids you choose, it’s crucial to avoid making them too tight, as they lead to hair breakage. Also, make sure to take out the braids on time and to keep your scalp moisturized.

Why Does My Hair Feel Thin After Braids

Why Does My Hair Feel Thin After Braids

Feeling your hair thinning after braiding is quite common, and it may happen due to the following reasons-

1. Split Ends 

Braids that are too tight or left in for too long can cause splitting at the ends, making your hair feel thin.

2. Shedding

Braiding can cause a lot of tension on the scalp, leading to hair shedding. When hair is shed, it can make the hair feel thin.

3. Loss of Volume

If your hair is braided too tightly, it can flatten the hair, making it lose its volume and appear lean.

4. Scalp irritation

If you have a sensitive scalp, and the braids are too tight or not cleaned properly and left on for too long, it causes irritation and inflammation, which leads to hair loss.

It’s best to consult a hair expert if you continue to experience hair thinning after braiding to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment course.

Tips for Reducing Hair Thinning Due to Braiding 

Tips for Reducing Hair Thinning Due to Braiding 

Some helpful tips for reducing hair thinning due to braiding:

1. Hairstyle

Choose a looser braid pattern to stop pulling and decrease the tension on the scalp.

2. Braid Size

Be mindful of the size of your braids. Box braids that are too large can put a lot of tension on your hair, whereas micro braids tied tightly shed a lot of hair. 

3. Taking Braids Off 

Leaving braids in for too long destroys your hair quality and leads to hair thinning. So, ensure that the braids are taken off timely. 

Also, give your hair a break, take out the braids at least every 4-6 weeks, and don’t braid your hair too often.

4. Moisturizing

Keeping your hair and scalp well-moisturized can help to keep your hair healthy, and shiny and prevent hair thinning. 

5. Maintaining A Healthy Diet

Eating a balanced diet with plenty of protein, iron, and other essential vitamins and minerals keeps your hair healthy and prevents hair thinning by generating growth.

6. Consultancy With A Hair Expert

A hair professional can help you choose a braid style that will work best for your hair type and advise you on the best way to take care of your hair. So, try to do regular check-ups for your hair. 

Do Braids Cause Hair Loss

Braids can cause hair loss if they’re too tight or left in for too long. It can result in traction alopecia, a type of hair loss caused by excessive tension on the hair and scalp. 

Traction alopecia causes damage to the hair follicles, making it difficult for hair to grow back. Additionally, if the hair is pulled too tight, it can cause inflammation on the scalp, leading to hair loss.

Do Braids Make You Go Bald

Typically, braids alone don’t cause baldness, as many factors like genetics, hormonal change, and medical and lifestyle conditions are involved. Braids sometimes generate hair fall, which can lead to baldness.  

As long as the braids aren’t extremely tight, moisturized properly, and taken off in time, there’s no risk of a receding hairline, hair loss, or baldness. 

Will Braids Help My Hair Grow Back 

Braids can be a helpful protective hairstyle for hair growth, as they help protect your hair from dust, pollution, and strain. By keeping your hair in braids, you can reduce the amount of manipulation your hair is exposed to, preventing hair loss.

Additionally, braids can help to promote healthy blood flow to the scalp, which promotes hair growth. Good blood circulation provides the necessary nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles. This encourages hair growth and prevents further hair loss.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that braids alone won’t necessarily make your hair grow back if you’re experiencing hair loss due to other factors. Moreover, tight braids or dehydrated ones will have the opposite impact on hair growth. 


In conclusion, braids do cause hair thinning if they’re left in for too long or are too tight, damaging the hair follicles, making it difficult for hair to grow back, and causing hair thinning. 

To avoid the risk of traction alopecia, it’s important to choose a braid pattern that isn’t too tight, take out the braids on time, moisturize your hair and scalp, and maintain a healthy diet. And it’s always best to consult a trichologist to know the best treatment for thinning hair.

By Cindy Mahlangu

Hey there! I'm Cindy Mahlangu, a pro hairstylist with a serious passion for natural hair care. My mission? To inspire and educate others on the beauty and benefits of protective hairstyles. Through my creative writing, aim to empower individuals to embrace their unique hair texture and confidently care for their locks. So, whether you're rocking locs, braids, or twists, join me on this hair journey and let's achieve healthy, fabulous tresses together!

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