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Early onset hair loss and balding: Dermatologist shares possible causes and treatment

Dr Sarvjit Kaur Sohal, Sydney based dermatology specialist talks about causes of alopecia and preventive measures. Source: Supplied by Dr Sohal

Tightly pulled hairstyles or tying your hair back in a similar way for a long time can lead to excessive hair loss or receding hairlines at an early age, warns Sydney-based dermatologist Dr Sarvjit Kaur Sohal.

As Australia marks, Alopecia awareness week from 13 to 21 November, Dr Sohal talks about the possible causes, signs and treatment of this medical condition that causes people to lose hair from a single area or multiple areas of their head, face or body. 


  • Dr Sarvjit Kaur Sohal talks about the causes, prevention and treatment of Alopecia
  • Traction Alopecia is a consequence of repeatedly pulling the hair in the same direction for a long time and is common in the community, says Dr Sohal
  • The third week of November is observed as Alopecia Awareness Week in Australia

Dr Sohal, has been an experienced clinical supervisor at Westmead and has taught aspiring dermatologists, besides consulting and operating as a principal dermatologist at Fairfield in New South Wales.

Talking about hair loss and balding, Dr Sohal says 'Traction Alopecia' is one of the most common forms of Alopecia found in our community.

"Many patients from the community seek medical advice about receding hairlines, particularly frontal hair loss around (temples) sides of the head," she says.

traction alopecia
Receding hairline due to traction alopecia.

'Traction Alopecia is self-inflicted and preventive'

Dr Sohal says that there are autoimmune conditions in which your body attacks your hair follicles and causes patchy or complete hair loss, but Traction Alopecia is "self-inflicted hair loss and is preventive."

"Traction Alopecia can happen due to prolonged repetitive tension on the hair scalp, particularly in men or women who usually tie their hair tightly."

It is not caused by nature but by our own habits

"Submandibular Alopecia that affects beard below the chin is also very common in men. The best way to prevent is to keep your beard free-flowing instead of tying it regularly," the dermatologist explains.

'Stop it before it's too late'

Dr Sohal suggests parents must change hairstyle practices in growing kids.

"For example, tying hair in loose ponytails or braids. While it is hard to keep hair loose during the day, try to keep your hair open for some time, maybe at the end of the day," she suggests.

traction alopecia
Dr Sohal suggests loose braids and ponytails to prevent traction alopecia.

According to Dr Sohal, Alopecia also leads to psychological disorders as hair is an integral part of appearance.

"People with Alopecia often feel rejected by society and may suffer from lower self-esteem and poorer body image."

She, however, adds that as long as the hair follicle is still intact, the condition can be easily controlled initially.

"But once the roots are destroyed, it becomes hard to regain or restore the hair," the dermatologist says.


Disclaimer: This article's content and audio are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Click on the player at the top of the page to listen to this interview with Dr Sohal in Punjabi.

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