Bumps from braids is one of the reasons why most of people dislike braids as a protective style. But what really causes them and do braid bumps go away?
Can you actually prevent the bumps from appearing in the first place?
In this article we are answering all these questions so you can rock your braided protective style without too much worry.
Braids are a great protective style however, a braid installation done the wrong way could lead to pain and tension on your hair resulting in little bumps appearing on the hairline or around areas where braids are installed. Other than the pain and discomfort, tight braids can lead to hair loss. (1)
What are braid bumps and what causes them to appear?
Braid bumps are small swellings that result from inflamed hair follicles called folliculitis. (2) Although folliculitis is mainly caused by fungal and bacterial infections, stress, tension from tight braids can also cause folliculitis.
Braid bumps appear around the hairline and within the braids as a result of too much tension and pressure on the scalp during the braiding process. If left unattended, these bumps could lead to scalp injury. (3)
The bumps may also be a result of styling after the braids have been installed. Putting on a tight bun after wearing braids may also lead to little bumps appearing around your nape.
Do braid bumps go away?
Braid bumps will gradually go away when you release the braid tension, care for the affected scalp through a gentle massage, moisturizing using warm water and applying a conditioner or removing the braids if the scalp is too itchy and painful.
Here is how you can get rid of bumps from braided hair
1. Release braid tension
In doing this, you’ve got two options; remove the braids immediately or change the style as the tension may be coming from the style that you’ve put on.
For example, wearing braids in a tight bun may itself be a cause of braid bumps. Putting the braids down is one way of releasing braid tension.
2. Gently massage the scalp
Whether you decide to remove the braids immediately or not, there is a need for you to gently massage the area where bumps have developed in order to relieve the pain.
A coconut oil scalp massage around the area with bumps will help relieve your scalp of the pain.
3. Run the braids under warm water
Take a shower. While this may sound ridiculous, running your hair under warm water while gently rubbing the scalp can help to loosen tight braids.
You shouldn’t worry about the cost of your braids but rather saving your hairline, preventing your hair from thinning and breakage.
4. Apply a Leave-in Conditioner
A leave-in conditioner can also effectively work in soothing your scalp by easing tension in areas that have developed braid bumps. A leave-in conditioner can also help in loosening the tight braids a little.
Ensure you choose a leave-in conditioner that will not cause too much residue or build up on your scalp as this is also a problem you do not want to have.
Opt for a spray leave-in conditioner as it can easily spritz throughout the affected areas and in between your braids across your scalp.
5. Steam the braids
Steaming your hair helps in opening up the pores on your scalp while allowing the braids to loosen up on their own.
A hair steamer can effectively be used in this. If not available, you can also use a piece of cloth dipped in warm water to steam the affected areas of your scalp.
6. Undo the braids
Overly tight braids can lead to unbearable pain. The best thing to do is to remove them to avert the pain and prevent hair loss and damage.
It may hurt knowing that you sat on that the stylist’s chair for hours installing the hairstyle and that you also parted with an amount for it. However, your well-being is more important.
If you are able to withstand the pain, then you can keep the hairstyle for longer. However, ensure that you give your hair the much-needed attention that it deserves to heal the scalp completely.
Massage your scalp with a soothing oil or try a hot oil treatment with oil with some anti-inflammatory ingredients to ease up the pain and irritation that may result scratching the braid bumps.
How to prevent braid bumps
Prevention is always better than having to deal with the consequences of bumps from tightly braided hair. Here a few ways to prevent these bumps from developing.
1. Install the braids gently
If your braids are being installed with a stylist, have a discussion with them beforehand on the type of style you want and how you’d want your hair to feel.
If they attended to you last time and you developed bumps let them know that your scalp is sensitive and that you’d want them to ease up on the hairstyle a bit.
Rather than waiting until you’ve left the salon to feel your braids, it’s advisable to pay attention while you’re still on the stylist’s chair. If you are feeling pain, be sure to notify them and ask them to ease up on the tension.
If your stylist does not take kindly your advice, you may as well get another stylist who appreciates and understands your concerns.
If you are installing the braids yourself, ensure you are are gentle. Avoid exerting too much tension at the roots. Leaving the tiny hairs at the edges out is also highly recommended.
Read this article to learn about proper braid care
2. Take breaks between protective styles
While you may be a fan of protective styles such as braiding, you need to let your hair breathe for some time. Before reinstalling your braids, ensure that you allow your scalp some time to heal and recover from the last style.
Additionally, ensure that your hair is not too tightly braided as this could lead to irreversible damage.
3. Change the braid type
While it is highly unlikely, the kind of braid you choose to use could be causing you the braid bumps. Some synthetic fiber is made using acrylic fiber coated using an alkaline substance.
When such hair rubs against your scalp it could lead to irritation causing itching which could result in bumps around some areas of your scalp.
To avoid this, try changing the braids you use and monitor if there are any changes.
How do you deal with bumps from braids? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.
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