Naomi Campbell’s Hair Horror – Traction Alopecia

(Sigh) Naomi Campbell, everywhere I turn I am seeing pictures of her bald patch. In case you missed it, this week she did a photo shoot for Dennis Basso and when the wind blew…..see photo below.  

Photo: Big Pictures
It’s not the first time she has been caught like this and probably not the last, so what is happening to poor Naomi? She is suffering from a condition which affects hundreds of black women called Traction Alopecia.
What is it?
Traction Alopecia is a hair loss condition and black women are the number one sufferers. It is more common around the temples and in the front of our hairline. If you have it, you will start to see thinning and breaking in the affected areas.
What causes it?
The condition is caused by the constant pulling of our hair over a long period, think braids and weaves.  It can also occur due to over processing our hair. Relaxers, dyes even straightens will do it.
Prevention techniques?
I’m tempted to say “go natural” as a sufferer this is what I did, but even natural hair needs a break sometimes. Many natural women wear their hair in weaves over the winter for protection. So you could start by asking your stylist to not braid or pull your hair too tightly and switch to looser more gentle styles. Try to rest your hair between styles, let it out once in a while and I have heard that scalp massages to stimulate the hair follicles do wonders.
Please don’t braid your little one’s hair too tightly either I have seen seven years old girls looking like they had a facelift!
What’s the cure?
Well if you notice your temples are already looking a bit thin or worse they have all gone, you need to remove the source of trauma to your hair today. If you do this you might notice a difference almost straight away, however the process of re-growth can take anywhere from three to six months or even longer so you need to be patient. Many naturals swear by Castor Oil so if you have used this to grow back your edges let me know I would love to profile you.
A visit to the dermatologist is advisable but unfortunately no medical treatment is available to reverse late stage traction alopecia like Naomi Campbell’s. Not when it’s gone completely bald. When it gets to this stage hair transplants are the only option.
Please don’t ever be tempted to paint on your hairline (I have seen it) that is just a big no, if it’s this bad, go with the wig.
If you have any other tips, me (and my readers) would be delighted to hear them. I suffered from alopecia before I went natural but I will save that for another time. 


  1. Heyyy Angel…Me likes your new blog…Thanks for stopping by my spot…I do have to stop by and visit you more.

    (Are you on Facebook?)

  2. Thanks for the tips. My hair is natural and if I pull my hair back in one too often it starts to break or come out completely at the hairline. The most I can do is just relieve the tension by wearing it out most of the time, and just pull it back a couple times a week at most. Our hair tends to be very delicate whether it’s natural, relaxed, weaved, etc. we should try and treat it as gently as possible at all times.

  3. Yes castor oil does work!!

  4. I have or should i say had traction alopecia also. This was a result of doing extensions myself and doing them too tight on and off for a couple of years. My hair (around front and sides) was barely there similar to Naomi’s but am glad to say its growing back nicely. I have one patch that only has a few thiner hairs but i’m keeping my fingers crossed. Since releasing my poor scalp and hair from the extensions May 09 things that have helped the re growth i feel are:

    Leaving it alone!!!
    Headscarf at night-satin
    No tight headscarfs-if i do wear a head scarf with my fro which is occasionally i will put a satin headscarf under it
    Satin scarf under hats
    Stopped using heat on my hair this included my steamer
    Turned down the heat of the shower when i wash my hair
    For me apple cider vinegar rinses bi-weekly and a protein conditioner once a month cleanses and strengthens my hair
    Do not over load my hair with products anymore-Water has become my main moisturizer after wash day
    Daily massaging of my scalp(not hair). But i’ve only been sticking to this properly for the last month or so
    I also drink more water than i used to and more veggies-this includes seaweed which is full of Iodine
    I’m sure there are more little bits but i’d say these are the main changes
    Oh yeah don’t really stress out when i look in the mirror at it anymore.(my fiance helps me with this as well x) Once i stopped doing this i began to notice it was growing
    So, so far so good

  5. @ Keith, thanks for the visiting, you always ask me about facebook and I always reply yes I am on facebook

    @Amanda, you are right we have to be kind to our hair

    @Shona, you will have to tell me how!!!

    @Rach, I am so glad it is growing back and thank you for the fantastic tips!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m not AfAm and am astonished to learn that even if a woman wears her hair the way nature made it, it requires “protection” and “rest.”

    What is going on here? Why is AfAm hair so fragile? What do women in Africa do to maintain their hair?

    I have fine straight hair and have always considered myself to be unfortunate in the hair department, but if I don’t do anything to it, it hangs there without need for protection and rest.

    Thank you for this blog. I am learning a ton of interesting information.

  7. @Anonymous, lol you sound just like my other half, he can’t understand why we want to protect our hair and why we need to rest it lol
    To be honest some of it is a bit overrated but remember our hair can get quite dry so people put it in protective styles to keep in the moisture.

  8. Thank you for the write up. I believe shea butter is also very good and that is used by a lot of women both with relaxed and natural hair here in Nigeria where I live.

  9. Hi everyone,
    If you’ve got hair problems and want
    to use a natural product that really works try, Grow Oil.
    I have been using it for six months now and my thinning hair has grown back healthy and thick.
    Visit Excellent hair oil.
    Afro puffs

  10. I used castor oil with great success to regrow my edges! I blogged my regimen, and result pics here:
    Thanks for bringing attention to this major issue for the black community!