Thinning edges is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to maintaining all textures of hair, but what about the other fragile area that also experiences a whole bunch of breakage and thinning? Yup, I’m talking about the nape of your neck.
Just like edges, the nape area is always being pulled and tugged on. Ponytails, braids, headscarves, hats—all of them can be a real nightmare for your nape area.
While unsightly balding and thinning may be easier to cover here, it’s still important to remember that damage is damage. And if you don’t hop on it quickly, you may have a permanent problem on your hands.
Like with most hair issues, you can absolutely nurse your hair back to health if you’re vigilant enough. Here are a few steps to fixing and preventing breakage at the nape.
First, identify what is causing the breakage in the first place.
Nape breakage is definitely not a one-cause problem. There are actually a few things you could be doing to cause hair loss. The most common:
- Tension from styles. Tight styles that require the hair at your nape to be gathered into a twist, braid, bun, or ponytail may be subtly pulling your hair out. Traction alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss in this area.
- Tension from styling. If the style itself is not causing hair loss, consider the fact that your styling methods may be too rough for your hair to bear, especially if it requires a lot of manipulation in a short period of time.
- Hair accessories. Wig combs, headbands, bobby pins, elastic bands, and hair clips may be latching themselves to your hair more than you anticipated, causing your hair to break off.
- Improper hair care. If you’re not dialed in to a healthy routine, hair problems are going to be a dime a dozen. This includes nape breakage, since that particular area of your hair is already fragile to begin with.
- Scalp problems. Conditions like dandruff and scalp eczema can cause some serious hair loss. If your problem areas tend to be around the perimeter of your scalp, nape breakage is not a far-fetched outcome.
Then, stop the behavior and monitor your hair closely.
Unless the hair thinning and loss is being caused by medication, you need to stop all the behaviors you think may be exacerbating it. Yup, that means tight styles, regular wig wearing, and your current, potentially harmful hair care habits have to cease for a moment—one by one.
This might inconvenience you a bit, but it’ll ultimately help you figure out what is really damaging your hair the most. If you’re somebody who frequently does the same thing with your hair, you’re an advantage because it’s like some aspect of that one thing that is causing the problem.
Give yourself 4-6 weeks to monitor to your hair. Opt for low manipulation styles and simple routines that only require you to wash, moisturize, and seal while you check things out.
After, build your plan of attack.
If you’re going to tackle this nape breakage the right way, you’ll need a plan of attack. Now, that sounds way more aggressive than it actually is, but girl you need to mean business! So here’s a few ways to do it:
- Leave your hair alone. Yup, you can simply decide to just not touch the hair and allow it to grow back on its own.
- Start a care routine with oils. Try regularly applying JBCO, tea tree oil, and other speciality products that are specifically formulated for this kinda thing. Massaging them into your scalp a few times a day or week will help stimulate growth.
- Shave it off and start fresh. Think of it as a mini chop. Shaving off your nape and allowing it to grow in strong and healthy is an effective, no-nonsense option.
- A combination of the three. It’s possible to do them all, and honestly? If your breakage is severe, it wouldn’t hurt to try.
Finally, let’s figure out how to prevent a repeat.
When dealing with the aftermath of breakage, preventive measures are the key to making sure that 1.) they don’t get worse with time, and 2.) it doesn’t happen again.
Truth be told, sometimes we solve the problem and go right back to the thing that caused it like it can’t be a reoccurring or permanent issue. This is simply not the case. So here’s what you should do:
- Traction alopecia/tension: Adopt low manipulation protective styles; If you plan to wearing weaves and wigs as a protective style, make sure your hair is properly and comfortably braided or twisted down, and that neither glue nor thread are on your nape at any point.
- Hair accessories: Refrain from using clips and combs on your nape. If you must, make sure they are plastic and not metal; If elastic hair ties or headbands are too tight, they’ll restrict blood flow and cause hair loss. Make sure they are a comfortable fit, and consider steering clear of elastic in general.
- Improper hair care: If you don’t have a daily or weekly hair regimen, now is the time to adopt one. Research what it takes to care for your hair type and start your regimen slowly and simply.
- Scalp conditions:
Again, if you feel that the breakage is occuring due to medication, that is something you need to work out with your doctors. Let them know what your issue is and talk about safe, effective solutions and options.
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