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Does a Durag Cause Hair Loss? | & Other Myths

Does a Durag Cause Hair Loss? | & Other Myths

The durag isn’t just a trendy fashion item but a hair accessory men use to preserve the wave effect on hair. But does a durag cause hair loss? Read on to find out if this is true or just a myth to scare you into not wearing one.

Does a Durag Cause Hair Loss?

The durag helps keep hair neat and attractive after hours of grooming. However, you may have heard that wearing it for an extended period can cause hair loss and probably have some questions:

  • What does a durag do to your hair?
  • How does a durag cause hair loss?
  • Ways to avoid durag-induced Traction Alopecia
  • How to wear a durag 
  • Do you have to wear a durag?
  • How long should you wear a durag?

Regardless of which question you’re asking, you’re in the right place. We’ll answer each of these in detail below, and much more.

The Short Answer

Yes, durags can cause hair loss. When wearing a durag, it has to be firmly tied to the scalp to prevent it from coming off. Unfortunately, many people assume a firm fit should be tight.

As a result, they pull the ties hard when wearing the durag. The excessive pull mounts pressure on the hair follicles, pulling hair strands from the roots.

What Does a Durag Do to Hair?

Image for a piece on what is a durag


Apart from being a fashion statement, durags provide some benefits.

Maintains Waves

Waves can be challenging to maintain as they need extra effort and attention to groom them. You need to brush and moisturize them constantly.

A durag keeps the waves hydrated by preventing the roughness and frizz that develop when not covered. It also helps the waves maintain the desired direction, so you don’t have to groom them every time.

Keeps the Hair Clean

Durags stick firmly to the head, preventing dirt and grime from getting into the hair. It comes in handy when working out, during hot, dusty weather, or when riding a bike by keeping your hairstyle intact.

Sun Protection

Spending too much time in the sun without covering your hair can be destructive. Light headwear like a durag protects the hair from the sun’s rays. Be sure to buy a light-colored durag for sun protection because dark-colored ones absorb heat, causing your scalp to sweat.

Straightens Hair

Forget the perms you apply to keep your hair straight and use a durag. The headwear keeps the ends of the hair straight, allowing you to prolong treatment. For men wearing 360-degree waves, durags help the hair lie flat on the head instead of growing outwards.

Other Benefits of Wearing a Durag

  • To prevent tangling: Hair tangles easily at night. Wearing a durag prevents tangling as it keeps your brushed hair from forming knots
  • To prevent frizzes on curly hair: Curly hair is notorious for frizzing up if not wrapped when sleeping. A durag keeps the curls intact, preventing the frizz
  • Wrapped after treatment: Wrapping your hair overnight after treatment helps the hair absorb the essential oils better and prevent the greasy creams from staining your sheets and pillows

How Does a Durag Cause Hair Loss?

Even with so many benefits, durags have harmful effects. Typically, a durag clogs hair pores, weakens the hair follicles, causing the hair to break. Similarly, tightly tying a durag pulls the hair from the scalp causing hair loss.

Sometimes the durag is so tight it causes traction alopecia and a receding hairline. Traction alopecia is a condition that causes the hair to develop bald patches due to excessive pulling or tugging. Wearing braids, ponytails, and constant use of tight headwear like the durag can lead to this condition. 

The hairstyles strain hair follicles, pulling strands of hair from the scalp. On the other hand, when the headwear is worn tightly around the base of the head, excessive force is applied constantly, leading to traction alopecia. Some signs of durag-induced traction alopecia include:

  • Redness, ulcers, and itchy scalp
  • Wide hair parting
  • Patches of broken or thin hair where the hair is under strain
  • Receding hairline around the temples, forehead, or nape
  • Patches of scarred and shiny skin in more severe cases

A durag can also exacerbate some scalp conditions that cause hair loss. People with alopecia areata, for example, can worsen the situation when they wear durags. This hair condition causes the cells in the immune system to attack the hair follicles, leading to hair loss.

The more the immune system attacks hair follicles, the more hair is lost. Alopecia areata can go unnoticed for a long time, and wearing durags frequently causes irritation and friction, leading to baldness.

Ways to Avoid Durag-induced Traction Alopecia

Black guy happy because he learned if a durag causes hair loss

Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

One way to avoid durag-induced traction alopecia is to avoid wearing the headgear too tight. Here are other ways to prevent the condition:

  • Avoid wrapping it too tight around the base of the head. Leave adequate room for movement
  • While do-rags made from silk and satin are the best for retaining moisture, velvet durags provide a firm hold, so you don’t have to wear the durag tightly
  • Shampoo the hair regularly to remove dust and sweat. Deep condition the hair to ensure it’s clean when wearing the durag. Not washing the hair frequently causes dirt build-up, which clogs the hair follicles and affects hair growth
  • Massage the base of the hair with essential oils to facilitate blood flow and hair growth
  • Moisturize the base of the hair before and after wearing the headwear 
  • Avoid wearing tight hairstyles beneath the headwear to reduce friction between the hairline and traction. Relaxed hairstyles are best when wearing a durag 

Sometimes the damage caused by durag-induced traction alopecia is so severe, it’s irreversible. The only way to treat such an injury is through a hair transplant, laser treatment, or anti-inflammatory injections. 

How to Wear a Durag 

Be sure to complete the hair treatment routine before wearing the durag. Here’s how to wear the headwear:

  • Place the durag on the head with the seam facing downwards, surrounding the center of your face
  • Shift the fabric so it covers the hair (just above the eyebrows)
  • Pull the strings backward to form an ‘X.’ Take one piece and place it on the side of the head, just above the ear and over the forehead. Ensure the fabric lies flat to avoid leaving marks on the skin. Tuck the other piece on the other side of the ear to secure the durag
  • When both sides are wrapped and secured behind the ear, tie them together to make a bow or knot. Ensure its tight enough to lock in the hair without straining the hair 
  • Assess the alignment of all the parts and give the loose fabric a tug to secure the tightness 

Do You Have to Wear a Durag?

No, you don’t have to wear a durag, but if you’re keen on fashion, you should consider adding it to your wardrobe. Men of color can agree that it symbolizes strength and pride in their natural black hair.

The confidence to rock the durag with swag is a big part of their appearance. Hip-hop artists and African American rappers initiated its popularity as they wore durags every day, making it appear as a way of expressing their sense of fashion.

The Black community has since taken on the trend, and in no time, sportspeople and other celebrities embraced it, increasing its popularity among youths. Other reasons why the durag is popular include:

Symbol of Creativity and Artistry

The durag symbolizes creativity and artistry used to pay tribute to black history and tradition. In fact, there’s an annual durag celebration to celebrate durags. Famous artists like LL Cool J have rocked durags for more than 30 years. 

Wide Variety of Durags

Durags recently reemerged as a fashion trend causing massive sales of durags. And this time, durags are reserved not just for men but also for women and kids who want to show personality and character. 

It explains the wide variety of durags available in the market today. Durags are now available in different fabrics to enhance comfort, class, appearance, and stylishness. 

  • Silk durags: They are the trendiest and offer the most benefit to the hair. The soft fabric is considered the best option for compressing and maintaining waves and braids. Silk durags are available in different colors and styles and have a reliable stitch seam that keeps them from ripping easily
  • Mesh durag: This kind is lightweight, breathable, and stylish. It’s a more comfortable option when working out or during hot weather, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of preserving one’s hairstyle
  • Satin durag: This durag is as good as the silk on when compressing 360 waves, but it provides a snug fit. It also comes in different colors and designs
  • Velvet durag: It’s the most aesthetically appealing durag, but it doesn’t offer much compression and protection to the hair. Its texture and firm hold makes it an excellent choice for people looking for a durag they can pair with a suit

Popularity Among Fans and Celebrities

Fans love imitating celebrities’ fashion sense, and the durag is one trend some stars hang on to. Celebrity fans and supporters are seen adorning the headwear during tours and shows to identify with their icon.

50 Cent, Rihanna, Eminem, Davis Beckham, among other celebrities, have been seen wearing do-rags. Consequently, such headwear is regarded as a high-end fashion piece fans should wear.

How Long Should You Wear a Durag?

Some people wear the durag all the time. However, wearing the headwear for such a long time stresses the hair and the hairline, causing hair to break out. It’s best to wear the durag for thirty minutes after brushing and remove it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Durags Cause Receding Hairlines?

A durag can’t cause a receding hairline unless the strings are too tight for a long time. However, people wearing durags rarely develop receding hairlines.

Do Durags Stop Hair Growth?

Durags don’t stop hair growth; on the contrary, they minimize hair loss by eliminating friction between the hair and the pillow. Wearing a durag to sleep is helpful for people trying to grow hair back after extreme hair loss due to chemotherapy treatment, abrasion, or hereditary pattern baldness.

How Often Should You Wash Durags?

Wash the durag every day to prevent bacteria build-up, which causes breakouts and scalp irritation. Oil and dirt also transfer to the durag, hence the need to wash it regularly.

Can You Wear A Durag To Sleep?

Sleeping with the hair wrapped prevents hair oils from getting smeared on the pillows, which causes acne and skin breakouts. You can also sleep in a durag to protect a hairdo and keep hair moisturized.

How Should You Wear A Durag When Sleeping?

It should be firm enough to remain wrapped around your head all night without feeling too tight. You can tuck the durag below a headband to avoid leaving lines on your face or sleep in a durag only. Be sure to choose a comfortable durag material too. Silk durags, for example, have longer tails and wide headwraps to provide more hold and compression, which is essential when looking for a durag to wear when sleeping.

So, Does a Durag Cause Hair Loss?

A durag hardly causes hair loss, baldness, or other hair conditions. Hair loss results from poor hair practices like wearing a durag too tight, failure to wash the hair, and the durag regularly. Some hair conditions also worsen by wearing a durag if left untreated.