You've been growing out and taking care of your locs (regular retwisting, conditioning, and so on), and then one day, one falls out. Or maybe you can see that some of them are very thin at the roots and barely hanging on. After growing out your locs for years, you don't want all of them to fall out. Find out what's going wrong and how to stop your locs from falling out.
Why Are Your Locs Falling Out?
Locs may fall for several reasons, including:
- Tight styling
- Overzealous retwisting
- Poor scalp health
We'll break each of these reasons down further.
This is the easiest condition to fix as long as it's the only issue. You may need to increase the number of deep conditioning treatments you perform while making sure that your product isn't so thick that it's hard to rinse out of your hair. Also, apply lightweight, natural oils like jojoba or coconut to the length of your locs and your scalp. Take time for yourself and indulge in a scalp massage, which is both relaxing and can stimulate your scalp as well. If your dryness is caused by dying your hair, particularly bleaching, then you may need to stay away from color until your hair's health improves.
Tension along the hairline or anywhere else on the scalp is, unfortunately, a big contributor to hair thinning and loss. It's important to vary your hairstyles. If you wear a tight ponytail each day, it can eventually lead to your locs thinning along the hairline, and even at the base of the ponytail.
To avoid tightness on the hairline, loosen your locs before going to sleep.
When retwisting at the roots, take care not to twist too tightly; this goes for whether you retwist yourself or you visit a professional. Also, don't get overzealous with retwisting. Some people begin twisting at the slightest hint of new growth instead of waiting it out. The frequency with which you twist your roots will depend on the texture of your hair and how quickly it grows, but twisting every week is usually too often. Once a month is highly recommend.
Sometimes, locs just get old, like any hair on the head that's been around for several years. Age itself isn't usually the culprit, but it may go hand-in-hand with dryness and/or the weight of your individual locs.
Going along with age, the older your locs, the longer they are unless you routinely trim them back. In some cases, they become too heavy for the roots to support, which can lead to thinning and eventual falling. The thinner the roots, the more likely this is to happen, especially if the locs themselves are thick. Creating a thicker base by joining the thinner locs into the thicker ones can help support the weight and length.
Poor Scalp Health
Good hair growth begins with a clean, healthy scalp. Most people get by fine as long as they shampoo and condition regularly. However, scalp issues sometimes crop up, which you can't control. If you suspect a medical condition is causing hair to fall, it's important to visit your doctor, who may refer you to a dermatologist.
While most medications are beneficial when it comes to solving problems, side effects are common. Some prescription meds may have negative effects like hair thinning. Again, this is a time to see your doctor. If you only have to take the medication temporarily, your hair ca eventually grow back. However, if it's something you need long-term, you'll need to discuss possible options with your physician.
What Else Can You Do for Falling Locs?
The best suggestion is to visit an experienced loctition, who may be able to save any thinning locs by joining them to adjacent locs. This isn't always feasible, which is why you should consult with a professional who can better advise you.
What you shouldn't do right now is retwist your locs, or create any hairstyles that place more stress on the thinning areas until you find out precisely what is causing the falling. It can be distressing to suffer such a loss after successfully growing your hair. The sooner you identify the cause, the sooner you can find a solution.
Tanus A, Oliveira CC, Villarreal DJ, Sanchez FA, Dias MF. Black women's hair: The main scalp dermatoses and aesthetic practices in women of African ethnicity. An Bras Dermatol. 2015;90(4):450-465. doi:10.1590/abd1806-4841.20152845