Braiding hair is a popular hairstyle choice for many people, but it can also lead to allergic reactions in some individuals. Allergic reactions to synthetic hair used in braiding are not uncommon and can worsen if left untreated. Symptoms can include hives, itching, red bumps, hair thinning, excessive hair loss, and acne. If you're prone to allergic reactions, it's important to take steps to avoid them when braiding your hair. Here are some tips to help you prevent allergic reactions to braiding hair.

Choose the Right Type of Braiding Hair

One of the most important steps in preventing allergic reactions to braiding hair is choosing the right type of hair. Synthetic hair is often made from materials like acrylic or polyester, which can be more likely to cause allergic reactions. Instead, opt for natural hair like human hair or a Nylon based synthetic hair. To debunk a myth that flows effortlessly in the braiding hair community is that Kenekalon fiber is the best fiber. Kenekalon fiber isn't a real fiber, but rather a collection of fibers. Essentially, these fibers are made from a type of synthetic fiber that is less likely to cause allergic reactions.

Additionally, make sure to avoid hair that has been treated with chemicals or dyes, as these can also increase the risk of an allergic reaction. All synthetic braiding hair extensions are treated with a preservative, which is typically alkaline based. Even applying moisturizers or olive oil may not provide relief. In some cases, the irritation can even lead to small bumps on the face or back due to the constant rubbing of the braids against the skin.

Wash and Condition Your Hair Before Braiding

Before braiding your hair, it’s important to wash and condition it thoroughly. Your natural hair and your hair extensions. This will help remove any dirt, oil, or product buildup that could irritate your scalp and increase the risk of an allergic reaction. Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner that are free from harsh chemicals and fragrances, and make sure to rinse your hair thoroughly to remove all traces of product. You can also apply a leave-in conditioner or oil to your hair to help keep it moisturized and healthy during the braiding process.

We recommend Unclouded's Braiding Hair Treatment. It's a 100% organic treatment that was lab curated to treat synthetic braiding hair and nourish your natural hair during your protective style. The treatment includes a shampoo and conditioner. The shampoo removes all manufacturer chemicals and the conditioner re-preserves the hair organically. This is an essential step to take prior to the installation of your extensions to prevent scalp irritation.

Uhhh, Ohhh, My Scalp itches

If you experience an allergic reaction to braiding hair, it is important to take immediate action. The first step is to rinse the affected area with lukewarm water to remove any irritants. It is also recommended to apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and itching. If the symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention as soon as possible. It is important to identify the cause of the allergic reaction to prevent future occurrences. 

Scalp irritation can happen for several reasons. It's not always the braiding hair extensions or even the products used, but sometimes it's the installation of the braids being too tight. Your protective styling being too tight can lead to traction alopecia. If your braids feel tight, something isn't right. They should feel secure but they should not hurt your scalp and make it hard for you to sleep at night. At Unclouded, we don't believe that beauty is pain. Throughout history, the pain that minority women experience has continuously been neglected. Your braids should not itch! Your braids should not hurt! Beauty is not pain! You deserve care, and better hair is doing just that. 

What Do I Do If the Synthetic Hair Causes a Skin Rash?

Allergic reactions to braiding hair can be uncomfortable and even painful. To help alleviate symptoms, it's important to switch to a shampoo that contains anti-inflammatory properties and calming agents. Look for ingredients such as peppermint oil, Vitamin E, Argan Oil, etc. 

If you notice persistent itching, irritation, or rashes after getting your hair braided, it may be time to remove the braids. According to a dermatologist, allergies can develop at any time, even if you haven't experienced them in the past. Continuing to use the same hair products or styles that trigger an allergic reaction can make the symptoms worse over time. It's best to stop using the product or style completely if you experience any discomfort.