Skin of Color

Traction Folliculitis: An Underreported Entity

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Traction folliculitis is a component of traction alopecia syndrome and has received minimal attention in primary source medical literature. The popularity of hairstyles that produce hair traction and the knowledge that early intervention improves prognosis amplify the importance of recognizing this entity. Traction folliculitis presents as perifollicular erythema and pustules on the scalp in areas where hairstyles produce traction on the hair shaft. In addition to the traction, concurrent hair care practices may play a facilitatory role in the development of traction folliculitis. Treatment involves immediate removal of traction on hair and temporary alteration of the facilitatory hair care practices. In more severe cases, topical or systemic antibacterial therapy and, occasionally, topical corticosteroid therapy may be necessary. Failure to discontinue traction-producing hairstyles can lead to traction alopecia and irreversible hair loss. Cultural considerations often are paramount in hairstyle choices and hair care practices that cause predisposition to traction disorders. Thus, culturally competent counseling requires understanding the significance of the hairstyle and hair care practices to the patient (or caregivers), discussing the recommendations in a culturally sensitive manner, and negotiating mutually acceptable alternative practices.


 

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