MRAORAOR/ShutterstockAre you wondering why you hair is thinning? Of all the possible reasons your hair is falling out, the last might be your innocent-seeming purse—but its heavy shoulder strap can trap hair, pulling it out and leading to thinning hair. “Hair breakage due to handbag straps is actually fairly common,” says board-certified dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD.
“Longer hair tends to get trapped under the strap when you throw your bag onto your shoulder,” adds Dr. Shainhouse. “Trapped hair can be pulled out, or it can break mid-shaft. Drier, processed hair may be more susceptible to this breakage. If this hair trapping occurs frequently, the hair follicles can become inflamed and can begin to scar and miniaturize, which can cause the hair to permanently thin or even leave bold areas on the scalp. This is known as traction alopecia. It is similar to when hair pulls out when you wear heavy extensions or tight hairstyles.”
Flora Fuentes, owner of New York-based hair loss and restoration studio Unique Hair Concepts, is familiar with the causes of thinning hair. “There are many times when a client walks into the center and tells us that one side of their hair looks fuller than the other,” she reveals. “Normally the side they carry their tote or shoulder bag is to blame. A simple trick for ladies with medium to long hair length is to move their hair out of the way before throwing their bag over the shoulder.”
Dr. Shainhouse adds that purses with chain link straps or straps with a buckle or metal on them can be more of a danger, as longer hair tends to tangle up in the hardware. The solution? Look for straps with no metal anywhere near the shoulder, where hair might get trapped. Get into the habit of brushing your hair out of the way before throwing your purse onto your shoulder, and consider wearing a ponytail to avoid hair getting trapped. And if you really want to make sure your purse never causes thinning hair, ditch the strap altogether and get yourself a clutch or a tote.
To offer some extra protection to your hair, Dr. Shainhouse recommends using a lightweight leave-in conditioner after every wash, and a deep conditioning mask once a week. While you’re at it, why not try these home remedies for dry and damaged hair?