Living in a culture eternally obsessed with braids, extensions and ’catching up the hair’ so tightly that the temples bulge, we are sometimes not aware there are consequences, until our hair starts protesting.

Repetitive use of these procedures, unbeknownst to many Jamaican women, can lead to traction alopecia, a form of hair loss caused by excessive tension being exerted on the hair shaft.

“The area where it is most noticeable is along the hairline,” said dermatologist Bridgette Ffrench from Apex Skin Care Centre. “This is the area where most of the pulling occurs.”

Traction alopecia is not an infectious disease, nor is it caused by a dietary deficiency. The condition is also not restricted to any particular race. “It is common in black women because of their haircombing practices,” Ffrench explained. Blame the cane rows, braids and weaves. The condition is not only unsightly but it can become severe and may even result in permanent hair loss, doctors warn.