Over the decades, dreadlocks have become an iconic statement look. Although it serves its purpose as an effective protective style for thick, unruly, coarse hair, it’s undeniable that dreads are incredibly stylish and demand a double-take for anyone sporting them.
But putting your hair in dreadlocks isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. If you don’t care for your hair well enough, you could experience hair loss and shedding.
Not only will this ruin your beautifully styled locs, but it can be very bad for your hair and scalp’s overall health.
In this article, we’ll tackle why putting your hair in locs will make it more vulnerable to hair loss.
We’ll also look at how to prevent hair loss with dreadlocks.
Dreads Can Make You Susceptible To Hair Loss
Even if you’ve worn your hair in dreads for years, there’s always a possibility of seeing hair shedding and thinning at some point.
Signs Of Hair Loss
There are lots of signs of hair loss while wearing dreads.
You’ll notice that the locs aren’t as properly anchored to your roots.
You might experience inflammation and blisters on the scalp.
It’s also possible that your hair part will get wider and expose more of your scalp skin.
But the worst is when you actually witness your beloved hair strands falling out – whether on your shower floor or your pillow – when you wake up in the morning.
If this is happening to you, calm down.
Don’t be so quick to blame your dreads for all of it.
Sometimes, hair loss is simply a part of aging and genetics.
If male or female pattern hair loss runs in the family, that may be the culprit.
If that sounds like you, seek help from a medical professional.
When Dreads Are The Culprit
Of course, sometimes, it really is your dreads that might be the cause of hair loss.
Even if you think you’re taking good care of your locs, one wrong move is all it takes for it to lead to shedding.
For example, if your dreads are too tight, it could lead to traction alopecia – the condition of losing hair because of too much tension on the scalp.
Tight twists can pull on your roots and break the hairs from the scalp.
It’s even worse when you put your locks in tight buns or high ponytails, where the tension at the roots can get intense.
And it’s not just the tightness of your locs that can lead to breakage and hair loss.
It’s also how heavy they get.
If your hair is super long and heavy, the weight can be too much for a sensitive scalp.
The strain on your roots can lead to inflammation of the scalp, as well as strands snapping off and breaking.
How To Prevent Hair Loss With Dreadlocks
Suffering from hair loss because of dreadlocks can be scary.
Here are a few tips on how to prevent this from happening to you:
Avoid Tight Twists And Hairstyles
As mentioned earlier, traction alopecia is one of the most common reasons for hair loss associated with dreadlocks.
This occurs when there’s too much tension on the roots and scalp, which leads to strands breaking off or being pulled out.
So, you must discipline yourself to avoid tight hairstyles.
People with dreadlocks are susceptible to traction alopecia because of the constant need to retwist the locs.
Retwisting tightens your locs, so doing it too frequently can cause a lot of tension on the scalp, which leads to breakage.
Even if retwisting makes your dreads look fresh and glamorous, resist the urge to get them done every single week.
Go as long as possible without retwists to ensure that your roots aren’t stressed out by too much tension and strain.
Aside from retwists, the hairstyle you casually put your dreadlocks in matters a lot as well.
Wear your dreads down as much as possible.
Avoid tight, high ponytails or buns.
These styles can pull on your hair, adding pressure to the roots, and making it possible to easily rip your hair out of the scalp.
Be extra gentle on your dreads when you sleep as well.
Tossing and turning at night can pull at your strands.
Try wrapping your hair in a satin bonnet when you go to sleep.
This protects your dreads from the extra friction that can cause them to snag on your pillowcase and end in breakage.
Scalp Massage With Hair-Growing Oils
Another way to prevent hair loss with dreadlocks is to promote the opposite: hair growth.
You can do that by doing a lot of little changes in your lifestyle habits, like eating more protein in your diet or ingesting more supplements for hair-loving vitamins and minerals.
But one of the best ways to encourage growth naturally is to regularly give yourself a scalp massage with stimulating oils.
Scalp massages can boost blood flow and circulation on the scalp, where your hair follicles are.
This can promote the healthy growth of strands that are strong and resilient (not prone to breakage).
However, you must be careful with the oil you use to massage your scalp.
Don’t pick anything too rich and creamy, lest you get stuck with product build-up that will clog your follicles and hinder new growth.
Jamaican black castor oil
Go for oils known for growing long, beautiful hair.
One of these oils is Jamaican black castor oil.
My favorite is the one from Tropic Isle Living.
JBCO is known for its ability to encourage hair growth.
It’s rich in omega fatty acids, which nourish the hair deeply, making it stronger.
Massaging it into your roots won’t just fortify your hair, but will also moisturize it.
This is a must for dreads if you want to prevent hair shedding.
This formula specifically also has ingredients like aloe vera juice, neem oil, and vitamins A and C to strengthen and grow your hair even more.
Tea tree oil
If you want extra detoxifying power when giving your scalp a massage, include a few drops of tea tree oil with your carrier oil.
For scalp massages, I love using Maple Holistics Pure Tea Tree Essential Oil.
Tea tree is known to purify the hair follicles, stimulating them just enough to encourage growth.
It also has antibacterial properties that can help get rid of fungi and bacteria that can clog the follicles and inhibit growth.
It’s also awesome for refreshing your senses because of its cool, calming aroma!
Wash Your Hair To Cleanse And Detoxify The Scalp
The best way to prevent hair loss is by caring for your scalp.
Part of that is to ensure that your scalp is always clean.
Many people think that you can’t shampoo your hair that often if you have dreads.
But it’s quite the contrary.
It’s important to wash your hair once every week or two to get rid of oil and product build-up that might be clogging your hair follicles.
Washing your hair is a must for proper hygiene.
The fact that it helps with hair growth is merely a bonus.
The Jamaican Mango & Lime Tingle Shampoo is well-loved by those who sport dreads.
But it’s also effective at deeply cleansing the scalp and roots.
The shampoo is infused with natural ingredients that hydrate the hair, like moringa seed oil, manuka honey, tea tree oil, and more.
It also has essential oils such as tangerine, mandarin, and lime oil to give your hair a fresh and sweet scent.
When washing your hair, make sure you’re gentle when you rub your scalp.
And when you rinse the shampoo out, make sure the suds run through the lengths of your dreadlocks to give them a thorough cleanse as well.
Keep Your Dreads Short And Thick
There’s no denying that long dreadlocks are absolutely beautiful.
Not only are they visually appealing, but they’re a tell-tale sign that the person rocking them takes good care of their hair.
However, long dreads aren’t always ideal.
Long dreadlocks can be more vulnerable to hair loss because of how heavy they get.
The heavier the physical weight of your dreads, the bigger the strain on your roots.
And we already know that tension on the scalp can lead to breakage and balding in the long run.
Thin locs are also an issue when it comes to tension on the roots.
The thinner your locs, the tighter the pull on your scalp will be when your hair is pulled.
When your dreads are a bit thicker, there’s a lot less pressure.
So, if you have the option, try to make your dreadlocks short and thick.
Although they may not look as “sexy” as thin and long braids, they’ll be less prone to hair loss while still looking fab.
Dreadlocks have tons of benefits for thick and coarse curls.
It keeps the hair neat and tidy while protecting it from the elements.
So, it makes sense for anyone sporting them to want to extend their lifespan for as long as possible.
You can only do that if you care for your hair enough to prevent hair loss and shedding.
To ensure that your locs won’t go through shedding and thinning, make sure you pamper your scalp and roots.
All the deets on how to prevent hair loss with dreadlocks are covered in this post.
Detoxify your hair with thoroughly cleansing shampoos.
Keep your locks as thick and strong.
And above all else, avoid putting tension on your roots through unnecessary retwists and tight styles.
When you remember to do all this, you’ll be able to enjoy your gorgeous locs without fear of hair loss.