The Bermuda Triangle… why your ex still follows you on Instagram? Some mysteries will never be explained. But finding out why your hair inexplicably falls out like crazy after you put a bun hairstyle down? Our detective work has got you covered. This super common phenomena never ceases to perplex us and a few pros will help us dig into this hair loss mystery.
It all starts innocently enough, we put our hair up in a messy bun come morning, only to realize that by the time bedtime rolls around our hair tie has more loose strands than Chewbacca. Dr. Harold Lancer (yes! THE Harold Lancer, derm to stars like Beyoncé, Kim K and Victoria Beckham) says that we shouldn’t blame just one factor for hair loss. Reasons for this phenomena include “but are not limited to stress, diet, medication, and the natural aging process,” he tells us. In his opinion, tight buns can lead to hair loss too, “especially if there is consistent tension on the roots over time. If you’re wearing a bun that’s fastened tightly for an extended period, daily at that, you might experience some hair loss as a result; and a more serious condition can arise, such as traction alopecia,” he continues.
Dr. Sejal Shah, Dermatologist and RealSelf contributor echoes that sentiment, “the primary issue that happens with frequently wearing a bun, especially if the hair is pulled back tightly, is traction alopecia. This is due to excess pulling in the hair shafts, ultimately damaging and scarring the hair follicle.” Dr. Shah thinks there may be additional culprits, “clips that may be used to secure the bun can also cause hair loss, either by repeatedly rubbing the same areas of the scalp or pulling on the hair.”
Not all Hope Is Lost
Before you get too scared, Dr. Lancer does want you to know that some shedding is a normal part of the process. We tend to lose strands every day as part of our natural hair growth cycle. He comforts us by saying “it could also be a matter of perception – if your hair is up and you take it down at the end of the day, you may notice the volume shed in one go versus gradually throughout the day if your hair was worn down.” In order to gauge what is normal vs. what isn’t, he advocates keeping your eyes peeled for unusual hair loss when combing or washing your hair. If you have suspicions of higher than usual shedding, Dr. Lancer recommends you consult with your board-certified dermatologist “because sudden, excessive hair loss may signal an underlying medical condition,” he concludes.
If you do feel your bun is to blame for excessive hair loss, Dr. Lancer asks that you try wearing your hair down, “or opt for looser styles to offer your roots and scalp some relief.” He adds that watching your diet could also help alleviate the problem, “consuming proper nutrients can also promote hair health.”
Board-certified physician Dr. Carol Ann Goodman offers up additional solutions. “To avoid breakage of hair and excess traction on the hair follicle, [wear] hairstyles lower on the scalp, no higher than the ears,” She believes changing your style up (even if its only once a week) can help prevent the same pattern of traction and breakage from developing. Next time you put your hair up, she suggests you “be sure [that] hairstyle is worn loose enough to be comfortable. Her rule of thumb is “if too tight, it’s causing damage!”