Edges Falling Out – The Causes and Cures

Thinning edges, the causes and cures for traction alopecia


Edges falling out and thinning hair lines are an ever increasing problem amongst black women and men. African American women's dependence on weaves, dreadlocks, braids and tightly pulled hair styling, means that they are more likely to suffer from edges falling out and thinning hair lines which is medically identified as Traction Alopecia.

Black men on are also suffering from thinning hair lines and edges due to hair styling practices including dreadlocks, click here for more information, and the use of curling sponges, click here for more information. Consequently increasing numbers of African American men are being afflicted with Traction Alopecia.

It is important to note that Traction Alopecia will not go away by itself and can get worse over time if not treated. If your edges have fallen out, or other parts of your scalp are experiencing hair loss and you want re-establish hair growth, do not despair because there is effective treatment available which will restore your edges and hair to its former glory, click here to get treatment or read on to find out why your edges have fallen out and how they can be restored.


Thinning edges can be caused for a variety to reasons, however, the most common cause is hair styling techniques. Hair styling techniques such as tight ponytails, cornrows, braids and weaves can cause a mechanical loosening of the hair follicle form the hair bulb causing hair loss, known as Traction Alopecia.

A thinning hair line might also be caused by Male Pattern Baldness, click here to learn more. Male Pattern Baldness is genetic and symptoms include thinning along the hair line and temples. The spread of thinning and hair loss can be prevented if treated as soon as symptoms are identified.

Thinning edges can also be caused through the application of relaxer, stress and bereavement, dehydration and the improper use of natural oils. We will address the possible causes of a thinning hair line in turn.


1) Traction Alopecia

Traction Alopecia is a form of Alopecia which is one of the main causes of hair loss for African American men and women. Because Afro hair is fine, it is more susceptible to hair breakage if styled in a way that puts excessive and repetitive pressure or pulling on the hair and the outcome over time will be gradual hair loss and thinning or receding hair line.

The constant pulling and tugging on the hair due to various hair styling techniques causes a habitual loosening of the hairs from the hair follicle which can also trigger perifollicultis. Perifollicultis is presence of inflammatory cells in the scalp and around the hair follicle, which causes further hair thinning and hair loss.

hair follicle separating from hair bulb due to strain causing hair loss and breakage

Sustained tension around the scalp due to hair styling which adds pressure to the hair and scalp can cause the hair follicles to waste away, becoming atrophied. When hair become atrophied, it becomes so fine it is barely noticeable and gives the appearance of a receding hair line.

The following types of hair styling can cause Traction Alopecia:

  • Tight ponytails

  • Hair pulled tightly in a repetitive style

  • Weaves which are sewn, braided, glued or clipped

  • Dreadlocks

  • Tight Cornrows or braids

  • Tight wigs

  • Wigs that are glued along the hair line

  • Hair extensions

  • Using hair straighteners

If you style your hair using any of the techniques mentioned above and have noticed thinning around your hair line (edges fallen out), or are noticing thinning or bald patches around your scalp, then there is a possibility that you are currently suffering from Traction Alopecia.

Why Are Black Men and Women More Likely to Suffer from Traction Alopecia?

African American men and women are more likely to suffer from Traction Alopecia because of our hair type. Firstly, Afro hair is fine, making it more sensitive to tugging and pulling. Secondly Afro hair is kinky which means that the cuticles do not lay flat because of the curved nature of the shaft.

curved hair shaft

Hairstyles which defy the natural curls/kink of afro hair through straightening, pulling and braiding can cause the hair bulb to gradually separate from the hair follicle, causing sustained hair loss.

Repetitive and sustained pulling of your hair causes tension around the hair follicles can result in inflammation which can cause scarring around the scalp and permanent hair loss or balding.

Other Causes of Edges Falling Out

Traction Alopecia is not the sole cause of thinning edges. Below is an explanation of other causes of thinning edges including Male Pattern Baldness, relaxer, stress and bereavement, dehydration and an unhealthy diet and improper use of natural oils. Keep reading to learn more.

  • Male Pattern Baldness

Male Pattern Baldness, also known as Androgenetic (genetic) Alopecia which causes hair to thin. Male Pattern Baldness can be identified through a thinning and receding hair line that starts at the temples, gradually working its way backwards to form a distinctive ‘M’ shape.

Male Pattern Baldness happens when hair follicles become minimised to the point of extinction because of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is an unfortunate by product of testosterone.

DHT causes the reduction of hair follicles, making hair thin, fragile and more prone to fall, resulting in balding. DHT also shortens the growth (anagen) stage of the hair growth cycle, which means that hair lost is not quickly replaced. To learn more about your hair growth cycle, click here.

  • Application of Relaxer

Hair is a collection of protein cells which are held together by three types of hair bonds: disulfide bonds, hydrogen bonds and ionic bonds. Hair bonds have a glue-like effect on protein cells, maintaining the shape formed by the hair cuticle, whether that be straight, curly or coily. For a relaxer to transform the shape of hair from curly/coily to straight, it the glue-like hair bonds which hold protein cells together, maintaining hair shape and structure must be broken. When hair bonds are broken or weakened hair becomes damages, weak and vulnerable to breaking.

  • Stress and Bereavement

Stress and bereavement create a chemical reaction within the body which can cause hair loss. Stress and bereavement can cause hair loss because it has a reductive impact on the circulation of blood around the scalp. Hair grows when blood circulates around the scalp and passes essential nutrients to the hair bulb, so, when the flow of blood is disrupted, it has an impact on hair growth and strength, potentially making hair thin and prone to breakage. Hair breakage along the edges is more likely because pressure is usually applied more acutely along the hair line when styling hair, which has already been weakened as a by-product of stress. Hair loss conditions such as Areata Alopecia and Telogen Effluvium can all be triggered by stress.

  • Dehydration and Unhealthy Diet

Our bodies are composed of between 50%-70% of water. Therefore, insufficient consumption of water denies your hair follicles water required to create healthy strong hair. Consequently, hair can become thin and brittle whilst growth slows, allowing the scalp to become more visible.

Hair is predominantly formed of protein cells. A diet which is lacking in protein can hinder hair thickness, health and growth because protein is the essential nutrient for hair formation.

  • Improper Use of Natural Oils

Applying heavy oils such as those mentioned above or cleansing oils such as peppermint or rosemary, directly to the scalp, without rinsing, can block sebaceous glands and cause scalp irritation. When sebaceous glands become blocked, sebum (the natural lubricant and anti-bacterial agents produced by the body to protect the hair and scalp), are hindered from secreting on the scalp. The consequences of this can be scalp infection and dryness which can also cause hair breakage and hair loss.


The best action you can take to stop your edges from thinning is to identify the cause and take the appropriate measures to minimise the damage caused. Below are a few tips to stop your edges from thinning:

  • If your edges were thinning because of Traction Alopecia, it is advisable to style your hair loosely and to avoid styling which involves putting consistent, intense pressure on your hair and scalp.

  • If you have recognised symptoms of Male Pattern Baldness, it is advisable to seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid further hair loss. Remember, hair loss caused by Male Pattern Baldness is permanent, so the quicker you seek treatment, the more likely the possibility of being to maintain the hair you have.

  • Should a chemical relaxer be the cause of your thinning edges, try to avoid putting your hair under additional stress. Avoid tight hairstyles. Try not to colour your hair, because this can cause your hair to become overly processed making it even weaker and prone to breakage. Click here for more information on how to prevent relaxed hair from breaking.

  • Drink plenty of water and have a healthy protein filled diet because water and protein and the essential ingredients for hair formation.

  • Ensure natural oils and being used correctly. Natural oils are usually required to be washed out of hair after use within 20-30mins of application to avoid damage to hair and scalp.


As long as hair follicles have been sufficiently damages to point of extinction thinning or missing edges can be regrown. Here are a few tips for how this can be done:

  • Gently massage the effected area. Massages helps to stimulate blood flow around the scalp. When blood circulates around the scalp, it allows vital nutrients required to create hair to be passed to the hair bulb. This action will stimulate hair regrowth.

  • Wash hair frequently. To assist your scalp in maintaining follicular activity, it must be clear of product build up and bacteria. One way to stop product build up and bacteria from festering on your scalp is to wash your hair at least once a week. Washing your hair weekly ensure the pathway through which hair follicles sprout at not clogged, allowing hair to grow and sebum to secrete along the scalp and flow along the hair shaft. Sebum is a natural protector and lubricant for the hair and scalp and also has anti-bacterial properties which keeps bacteria at bay, all of which facilitates healthy hair regrowth.

  • Condition your hair. Hair conditioner should improve the condition of your hair by flattening raised hair cuticles. Raised hair cuticles make hair dry and brittle and prone to breakage. When cuticles are flattened by a good hair conditioner, moisture is sealed into the hair follicle, improving hair strength and elasticity. Strong hair with a high level of elasticity is healthy and thicker in appearance and more likely to gain length.

  • Get treatment. If your edges have been extremely damaged you might require treatment to facilitate hair regrowth. If you recognise symptoms of Traction Alopecia and have thinning, dry or brittle hair, then the hair products you are using and the hair care regimes you are following are not working for you, so why not try ProTress? Changing your hair style (i.e. styling your hair in a looser style) combined with effective treatment can prevent the perpetuation of Traction Alopecia and restore your edges. ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Lotion facilitates recovery from Traction Alopecia because it contains the patented Si MATRIX PF, a revolutionary treatment for the connective tissue recovery and revitalising hair follicles which will re-establish hair growth. Once the ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Lotion is applied to the scalp, the peripheral micro circulation (flow of blood around the scalp) is reactivated causing the scalp to tingle as the lotion massages the scalp, improving the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the hair bulbs, which improves hair growth, restoring hair lost from the damage caused by Traction Alopecia. So if you want your edges back, ProTress is the answer. Check out the results below:

edges falling out, the causes and cures

dreadlocks cause traction alopecia
Nor shall foreigners drink the new wine For which you have laboured, (without my permission), says YHVH
Association of Registered Trichologists


  • I have finally received the package of the Protress hair formula. When I finished washing my hair with the shampoo, do I leave my hair still in a wet state then apply the lotion, or make sure that I am pretty dry to apply it?

    Alvin Miller
  • Dear Temitope,
    We are sorry to hear you are suffering from Traction Alopecia. We understand hair loss is traumatic and want to congratulate you on having the courage to seek solutions and treatment.
    Please read our blog which details practical steps to minimise the condition and restore hair growth.https://www.protresshaircare.co.uk/blogs/news/thinning-afro-hair-lines-the-causes-and-cures ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo and Lotion is an effective form of treatment for restoring receding hairlines. We recommend seeking treatment as soon as possible to avoid permanent balding.
    Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@protresshaircare.co.uk

    ProTress Hair Care
  • I’m 22years old, my edges have been bald for 2years now and I have really soft hair so small tension on the hair cuts it. I’ve used different creams and it still hasn’t come up. I’m scared I’ll be bald for life. please help me.

  • My edges need help.

  • The main thing I like about this product is it works and it shows my natural curl pattern. I never had that before. The feel of my hair after I wash it and add the lotion is so good, it makes my scalp feel clean and my hair really soft.


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