"Pulling hair into tight ponytails or braids; using hot rollers, curling irons, or straightening irons; and applying chemical relaxers can all lead to structural damage of the hair shaft as well as thermal and chemical damage to the skin of the scalp," Dr. Josephine Quintanilla-Dieck of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said in a statement.
Regular -- and sometimes even occasional -- use of these hair techniques may lead to hair breakage and hair loss from the root, Quintanilla-Dieck said.
Although usually reversible, hair loss occasionally can be permanent with longstanding or severe cases, Quintanilla-Dieck said.
To maintain a healthy scalp and hair, Quintanilla-Dieck advises to:
-- Wash hair regularly to eliminate dirt and oil buildup.
-- Minimize the use of heated devices and chemical relaxers.
-- Use natural hairstyles that put less tension on the root of the hair.
"If you do use chemical relaxers or heating devices, you can reduce the risk of damage by using them infrequently or incorporating 'hair holidays' -- styling-free days that allow for natural recovery," Quintanilla-Dieck said. "Because there are many causes of hair loss, if you have already experienced some hair loss but are unsure of its cause, it is best to seek evaluation by a dermatologist familiar with hair-loss diseases."
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