A former dancer is speaking out about the dangers of wearing your hair too tight, a mistake she blames for her hairline receding at just 13 years old. Now that she's undergone a follicular transplant, she's sharing her story to warn others about the potential for traction alopecia.
Diva Hollands, a 22-year-old former ballerina from Epsom, England, started dancing at age 3, eventually training at the Royal Ballet School in London. Her hair was pulled it into tight hairstyles each day. As a result, Hollands says she experienced considerable hair loss and, as a result, bullying at school.
"I was bullied for my hairline in primary school and then into secondary school, but it got really serious when I was about 13," she says. "Since then, I was completely self-conscious about it and did everything I could to hide the area." Kids would make fun of Hollands, saying she had a forehead the size of a soccer field.
Even when she started dating her now fiancé David Lawson-Brown, she felt self-conscious. "When I met David I didn't let him see me with my hair back for six months," she confesses. "For me, it's something that is very personal."
Hollands quit dance at 18 and embarked on a modeling career. She's also now the mother of a 2-year-old son and 6-month-old daughter.
After having her children; however, she lost even more hair and finally sought out specialist Edward Ball, MRCS, who now runs the UK-based . In October 2015, Dr. Ball performed an 8-hour follicular unit transplantation on Hollands. The procedure involves moving strips of skin with hair from the back of the patient's scalp to the body part where hair is absent, which was Hollands' forehead (though other patients have the donor strip applied to the brows, crown of the head and even beard area).
One year later and Hollands is thrilled with the outcome — and her before and after pictures speak for themselves.
In her latest selfies, you can see just how confident Hollands is with her look now.
Hollands says she's sharing her story because she doesn't want other women to feel as ashamed as she was. "I really do think there's a taboo when it comes to women's hair loss," she says. "It can happen to anyone and it's nothing to be embarrassed about."
So, is traction alopecia — the medical term for this type of hair loss — something you should be worried about? If you wear a tight hairstyle every day, the answer could be yes. "People may not even note a tight or painful feeling because although the hairstyles that cause traction are tight, they are relatively gentle compared to going through a hair pluck or pull," explains dermatologic surgeon and RealSelf Contributor "The majority of people don't really have any other signs except for gradual hair thinning." If you do feel any pulling, she warns that the style could potentially cause traction hair loss.
The takeaway: Give your hair a break from tight styles whenever possible and, if you frequently wear braids, buns or ponytails, take a glance at your hairline every once in a while to see if it's being affected by them.