Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Traction Alopecia in Sikh Male Patients

The current edition of The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine has a piece on Traction Alopecia in Sikh Men. It's a short piece describing the impact to the hair shaft by continuously wearing a turban. Here's an excerpt:
Traction alopecia is a form of nonpermanent alopecia which is the result of physical damage to the hair shaft. The frontal scalp region is where the alopecia will usually occur [in Sikh men] given that it experiences the bulk of the trauma. Traction alopecia can also arise in the submandibular area because the majority of the followers of Sikhism will also practice a similar method of knotting their beard.

It's very interesting to me that this phenomenon, which I'm sure is known all too well by most turban-wearing Sikh men, is being discussed in a major medical journal. It seems clear to me that the prevalence of this in our community is quite high. But I wonder if this article speaks to the fact that more Sikh men are obtaining treatment for it? The article goes on to talk about treatment of this type of hair loss:
Treatment of traction alopecia in Sikh patients can be a difficult process. Religious laws forbid the cutting of hair and require the wearing of the turban. Therefore cutting the hair is not an option. Patients can be advised to allow their hair to be tied loosely and free of a turban for as long as possible during the day. At night they should refrain from wearing the turban and tie their hair in a loose ponytail without the knot. When wearing the turban, the hair should be tied loosely at the scalp to decrease the tension. Patients can be treated with topical steroids, however, unless the tension is relieved, these treatments will prove ineffective. Patients should also be advised that traction alopecia may lead to permanent alopecia, which is progressive if the traction is not removed.

This is what a google search for "Traction Alopecia Sikh" found. I must read more about it. It makes me wonder how many Sikh men are dealing with this (and to what severity) and more interesting, the likelihood that they seek out treatment for it...

1 comment:

Inderjeet Singh (RICKY) said...

hey nice doc. i was also suffering from the same, the reason for this was that i was not allowing my hair to be tension free. i mean i was opening my hair only when i wash it. but now i have started opening my hair daily night. i think other sikhs can also open the hair while they sleep. it helps.