Got Thinning Hair from Ponytails?

By: | Last Updated: October 19, 2023

Have you recently noticed that your hairline is receding and your hair is severely thinning? Now, you’re at a loss as to what’s going on? Do not despair. 

Firstly, it is essential to answer this question: Do you wear tight ponytail hairstyles frequently? If yes, then it’s the constant strain on the hair follicles that is causing hair thinning. 

The way you wear your hair regularly is critical. Ponytails place a high amount of stress on the hair follicles that surround the hairline. 

This is particularly true when you pack your ponytail to the crown of your head, and you have a long and weighty hair. 

I know it can be hard to accept that your favorite hairstyle is having a hazardous effect, but acknowledging this is crucial to effecting the repair. 

Do ponytails cause hair thinning?

Yes. The answer to this question is a big YES!

The ponytail is a hairstyle that is loved by many women as it keeps the hair off the face. 

It is a practical hairstyle that is most often associated with work, gym, bar, school, sports and several other activities. However, it is also linked to hair thinning

Does the ponytail hairstyle cause hair thinning?

As bizarre as this might sound, some women actually suffer a condition called traction alopecia as a result of wearing ponytails. Ponytails cause the hair to pull tightly towards the vortex of the scalp, causing hair loss, general discomfort and even scarring. 

Traction Alopecia

Now, the question is “What is traction alopecia?”

Alopecia, as a term, refers to hair loss. Traction alopecia is a medical hair loss condition experienced by women who constantly pull on their hair. 

Anything that pulls on the hair causes traction alopecia as it damages the hair root and leads to hair loss. If you tend to scrape your hair into a tight ponytail regularly, then you need to stop. 

Traction alopecia is especially common in women with weighty hair who still enjoy carrying a ponytail hairstyle frequently. 

Even more terrible, traction alopecia can take hold of your hairline and other hair parts of your crown, leading to your hair thinning out in clumps. 

Like a nightmare, the affected lady will suddenly notice that her wonderful edges go from laid to bald. 

Symptoms of Traction Alopecia

At the start, ladies who experience traction alopecia first notice little bumps on their scalp that seem like pimples.

However, as this terrible condition progresses, the key symptom is broken and missing hairs. 

The hairs along the sides and front of the scalp are usually the most affected by this condition. What’s more, in addition to hair loss, the traction alopecia condition also causes symptoms such as:

  • Itching
  • Redness of the scalp
  • Scaling
  • Bumps
  • Inflammation of the hair follicles (folliculitis)
  • Blisters filled with pus on the scalp

If the condition is not treated on time, the hair follicles can eventually become so scarred and damaged that they won’t be able to produce new hair. 

Hair thinning

Also, for traction alopecia, it is only the hair that is constantly being pulled that is affected. Although constantly pulling your hair into a tight ponytail is a major cause of traction alopecia, there are still other factors such as:

  • frequently wearing dreadlocks, cornrows or tight braids;
  • putting your hair up into rollers overnight and;
  • using weaves or hair extensions.

Are you experiencing symptoms of traction alopecia?

If you recently started noticing any of the symptoms of traction alopecia, do not despair or panic. If you’ve already got thinning hair from ponytails, know that there’s still hope.

Quite several top female celebrities are thought to have experienced this condition as a result of their regular hairstyles. Naomi Campbell, Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, Serena Williams, Jessie J, Britney Spears and Ariana Grande fall under this list.

So, there is no need to panic; you can still treat it early on. 

Firstly, the condition can be reversed if you stop pulling her hair back. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms of traction alopecia, you compulsorily have to change your hairstyle. 

Got Thinning Hair From Ponytails?

Hair loss caused by ponytails can be reversed if the stress placed on the hair follicle is reduced and completely stopped before permanent damage of the follicles. Also, if your hair is very long, you might need to cut it. 

If you need a little more help in treating this condition, there are other treatments to use, and they include:

  • Using antibiotics on open sores to prevent infection.
  • Using antifungal shampoos.
  • Utilizing topical steroids to reduce the scalp swelling.
  • Applying hair regrowth substances such as minoxidil.
  • Strengthening your hair with biotin supplements.

Failure to quickly intervene will lead to permanent hair loss. If this is the case, and you’ve noticed that your hair isn’t growing back, you have to consult your doctor as a hair transplant procedure might be the only alternative. 

READ: How To Repair Hair Breakage From Ponytails

How to Prevent Hair Thinning

ballerinas in high ponytails – Curling Diva
Ballerinas often put their hair in a high ponytail

If you are fond of pulling your hair into a ponytail every day, but you haven’t noticed any sign of hair thinning, then you’re lucky. You can still prevent it from ever happening to you. 

Change your hairstyle. Stop wearing a ponytail daily, wear your hair down and keep it loose more often. If you must pack your hair up in a ponytail, make the ponytail loose not tight.

So you don’t get bored, you can alternate between wearing your hair down and braids. There are also different ways to make your ponytail look cute.

Do not use an elastic or rubber band to secure it in place as they can pull out your hair. Even men can experience symptoms of traction alopecia in their beard if they twist it too tightly. 

Traction alopecia can occur to a woman of any ethnicity and profession, but it is more common among gymnasts and ballerinas whose profession requires them to put their hair up as a tight bun. 


Having read this post, you should now realize that constantly wearing a ponytail or other hairstyles that pull on the hair is very dangerous. 

It can result in hair thinning, and even more extreme cases of traction alopecia. Hence, it is recommended that you put your hair down more often. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Thinning Hair from Ponytails:

1. What causes hair thinning from ponytails?

Hair thinning from ponytails, often referred to as “ponytail hair loss,” occurs due to the repeated tension and stress placed on the hair follicles from tightly pulled hairstyles like ponytails, braids, or buns.

Is wearing a ponytail always bad for my hair?

Not necessarily. Wearing a ponytail occasionally or loosely can be fine. The issue arises when ponytails are styled too tightly or frequently, leading to hair follicle damage and potential thinning.

How do I know if my ponytail is causing hair thinning?

Signs of ponytail-induced hair thinning include a receding hairline, widened part, and increased hair shedding. If you notice these signs, it’s essential to modify your hairstyle and hair care routine.

Can hair thinning from ponytails be reversed?

In many cases, hair thinning from ponytails can be reversed by changing your hairstyle, avoiding tight hairstyles, and adopting a gentle hair care routine. Consult a dermatologist or trichologist for personalized advice.

What are some alternatives to tight ponytails?

Opt for looser hairstyles, like low ponytails or loose braids, to reduce tension on the hair follicles. Using hair accessories like soft scrunchies or fabric hair ties can also help.

Are there specific hair care products that can help prevent ponytail-induced hair thinning?

Look for hair care products that promote hair strength and scalp health. Ingredients like biotin, keratin, and oils can be beneficial. However, avoiding tight hairstyles is crucial for prevention.

Can I still style my hair in ponytails occasionally without causing thinning?

Yes, you can wear ponytails occasionally as long as you avoid tight styles and give your hair breaks between these hairstyles. Proper care and gentle styling are key.

Can dietary changes or supplements help prevent ponytail-induced hair thinning?

A balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can support hair health. However, dietary changes alone may not prevent hair thinning from ponytails. It’s essential to prioritize gentle hairstyling.

How long does it take for hair to recover from ponytail-induced thinning?

Hair recovery time varies from person to person. It depends on the extent of damage and how well you care for your hair. With proper care and avoiding tight hairstyles, you can expect to see improvements over several months.

When should I seek professional help for hair thinning concerns?

If you notice significant hair thinning, hair loss, or scalp issues, it’s advisable to consult a dermatologist or trichologist. They can provide a thorough assessment and recommend appropriate treatments or solutions.

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

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