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Braids are a cute and versatile hairstyle, but anyone who has ever sat through it knows that the process of getting those cute braids is painful. Many women cringe silently, wondering how they are going to sleep with that kind of pain on their scalp. What's more, that pain can be an early warning sign of a serious problem. Take steps to ensure that you don't have pain from braids, but if you do, know how to deal with it.
Request a more loosely braided hairstyle. Pain is often an indicator something is wrong. Too many years of painful braided styles could lead to traction alopecia, a type of hair loss caused by frequent pulling and tension on the hair. Over time, the hair follicle becomes so damaged, the hair won't grow back. If your hair is pulled painfully tight, insist on a more loosely braided style to avoid pain and hair loss down the road.
Take a pain reliever about an hour before your hair appointment. Even loosely braided hairstyles might hurt if you are tender-headed. An over-the-counter pain reliever keeps you ahead of the pain. To keep pain at bay, you might continue taking an over-the-counter pain reliever for about a week after you get the braids.
Place a warm, wet towel on your head once you leave the salon. This soothes your sore scalp and helps you relax. While the towel won't take the pain away completely, it will soothe your scalp and ease the tenderness.
Avoid overly tight hairstyles (think ponytails) for the first days of your braided 'do. Your head might already be sore, so if you want to avoid further pain, then no restrictive styling until you adjust to the braids themselves.
The weight of the braids might also cause your neck to ache, so keep that in mind when you are choosing the thickness of your braids and whether or not to use weave with them. If you are not used to so much extra hair on your head, it may feel heavier than usual. You may need to forgo a braided hairstyle altogether if you continue to have pain or start to lose your hair. If you notice traction alopecia early, you may be able to prevent permanent damage.