I’m sure we have all fallen victim to the dreaded having braids too tight syndrome.
Protective styles are a great way to give your hair a little break and give your hair some time to grow.
Although protective styling is good there are times when protective styling or rather having braids in your hair can actually have a negative effect on you.
Have you ever seen someone who has recently had braids done and it’s obvious to see that the braids are way too tight?
Having braids too tight can lead to headaches, scalp sores and bumps on your edges and neck.
I know people like to have their braids tight because it makes the hair look very neat and can make the hairstyle last longer but pulling braids this tight does more harm than good. Braid bumps are not a good thing.
Let’s explore why having your braids too tight is not a good thing.
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Why Do You Get Bumps From Braids?
One of the problems with having your braids too tight is that it can cause you to get small bumps on your scalp, these are called braid bumps.
These bumps are your hair follicles that have been inflamed caused by the tension that has been put on your hair.
It is extremely painful for the person and almost as painful to look at.
If after getting your hair done you notice such bumps forming it means that your braids are too tight and that you need to take action.
It might be tempting to just leave it a few days in the hope that it will loosen by itself but this is not a course of action that I would advise. I’ll explain why a little further down.
What To Do If Your Braids Are Too Tight
1. Take Them Out
Honestly, this is the best course of action if you notice that you are getting bumps caused by having your braids too tight.
I know many people will be reluctant to do this as you may have paid your hard-earned money to get your braids installed in the first place. I get that.
If taking the braids out is not an option that you want to entertain then perhaps loosening the braids would be better for you.
2. Losen The Braids
Having your braids loosened might be a more practical step for you.
If you don’t know how to loosen the braids yourself then it might be an idea to go back to the place that you got the braids installed and ask them to loosen the ones at the front as that is where most of the strain and tension will be put.
Most hairdressers will be happy to loosen them for you for free especially if you just got them installed a couple of days ago.
If you can’t get the braids loosened by the person who installed them for you please don’t try to loosen them yourself by pulling at the root of your hair.
You are likely to cause yourself more damage than do any good. It could end up causing your hair to break and you don’t want that.
3. Keep Your Hair Down
It’s a known fact that installing braids adds weight to your hair.
Trying to put your hair up in a bun or any other hairstyle that will cause you to have to gather the hair together is likely going to add additional pressure onto your scalp.
I would give that a miss for at least a few days after getting your hair braided even if you don’t have bumps caused by braids that are too tight.
Leaving your hair down is much less stressful on your scalp.
Photo by malcolm garret from Pexels
How To Treat Bumps From Braids
If you already have bumps on your scalp caused by braiding once you take the braids out I would advise that you follow the steps listed below.
1. Allow It To Breathe
As soon as your braids are out you need to treat your natural hair very delicately to give it time to recover.
One of the best things you can do for your hair at this point is to leave it alone and give your hair time to breathe.
2. Massage The Area With Oil
Doing an occasional scalp massage using your favourite oil is a good idea.
When you massage your hair you allow the blood to flow better which stimulates hair growth.
After having had your braids too tight it is likely that you would also have lost some hair in those areas.
A scalp massage could help to encourage regrowth. Just be very gentle as you do it, especially around areas that still feel quite tender to the touch.
3. Give Braids A Break
Braids are a great way to help grow your hair especially if you are in the process of transitioning from relaxed to natural but it would be really smart to give your hair a breather in between braiding sessions.
I would say you should wait at least a few weeks before trying to reinstall your braids again.
Remember that although you want your hair to grow you don’t want to do it at the expense of having lost the health of your hair and scalp too.
Problems Caused By Having Braids Too Tight
We all know that having your braids too tight can be damaging for your hair but there are much more serious implications from this as well.
Below I have listed 3 things that can happen from having continued tight braids.
1. Traction Alopecia
Traction alopecia is hair loss through aggressive pulling and strain on your scalp.
It is not only caused by having braids too tight but if you are fond of putting your hair up into a very tight hair bun as well you can get traction alopecia from that too
Traction alopecia can be managed if you intervene early enough otherwise the damage could end up being permanent.
2. Lost Edges
You must always consider your edges no matter what the hairstyle is that you have.
Your edges are extremely delicate and excessive pulling can cause your edges to be lost forever.
If you don’t want to be one of these people that has to colour in your edges with a pencil to hide the damage then you need to be very careful with them.
3. Damaged Hair
Braids that are too tight not only cause bumps on your scalp but they can also cause hair breakage too.
The density of your natural strands is very different from that of synthetic hair for braiding so it would be easy to cause breakage without realising it.
Once your hair starts breaking if you don’t start to pay it the attention it needs it will only get worse and you will probably have split ends too.
Final Thoughts On Having Braids Too Tight
The best thing to do if you are going to have braids installed is to prepare your hair as best as possible.
Keep an eye on your hairdresser as you are doing braids and make sure that you tell them if the braids are feeling too tight.
Get your hairdresser to leave a few of the baby hairs out to reduce the tension.
If all else fails learn to braid yourself. It’s a really good skill to have and one you will be able to use for your children too.
I don’t often visit a hairdresser myself and I prefer to install my own braids as I know exactly how much tension my hair can cope with.
Do you install your own braids?