Ponytails & Hairline Recession

Young woman wearing her hair in a long ponytail
Photo: Depositphotos
Q: Is it true that tying your hair in tight ponytails can lead to recession of the hairline?
A: Actually, yes. It is true. The condition created is called Traction Alopecia (or Tension Alopecia) and results from the fact that the hair gathered into a ponytail ends up putting a disproportionate amount of tension on the hair at the outer edge of the gathered hair section.
So, a ponytail that pulls all the hair into a tail centered at the crown area ends up resting with the majority of the weight of the hair being placed on the leading edge of the hairline. The tighter the hair is pulled into the ponytail (and more specifically, the tighter the hair is HELD) the more tension is placed on the forward edge of the hairline.
People who regularly wear ponytails have reported receding hairlines and excessive breakage in the forehead area. This can be a temporary loss of the hair or could be permanent if the tension causes the hair to pull from the scalp and damage the follicle in the process. The difference depends on how lucky or unlucky you are.
If you enjoy wearing ponytails, or need to wear your hair in such a way as to keep it out of the way as a ponytail does, I recommend adapting your ponytail methods as follows:
• Use a fabric covered ponytail elastic that offers a gentle grip to the hair. Avoid pulling the ponytail tight inside the holder.
• Try pinning the hanging length of the hair to the elastic with bob pins, or use a barrette or clip to hold the weightier portions of the tail up so that there is less tension on the hair.
• If you don't HAVE to wear a ponytail as part of your dress code, try other styles that keep the hair up and out of the way: French Twist, Chignon, a simple bun.
These tips should help you have more comfortable ponytails and help to avoid the problems of Traction Alopecia.
See also:
Hair loss
Ponytails and hair damage
How to see the difference between broken hairs and new growth
How to fix hair that is damaged by wearing it in a tight ponytail