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Rishi Knot Risks Premature Baldness

Over the past 12 months I’ve seen an increasing number of Sikh men coming through my doors suffering from traction alopecia.

According to Sikh religious laws, a man’s hair is to be kept long and uncut. To accommodate this, the hair is wound into a knot, and then covered with a turban, on top of the head.  Ironically, the long hair required by Sikhs to create the ‘rishi’ knot is being put at risk as the knot pulls on the hair, resulting in hair loss.

Sikh men as young as 20-years-old are now turning to surgery, as a result. However I’m concerned that they see this as a permanent fix, and whilst this is often the case, it only works if the wearer puts less stress on the hair.

Having worn their hair wound into a tight knot from as young as 5-years-old, Sikhs are forbidden from ever cutting it.  With the tight knot often leading to premature hair loss, particularly in the frontal scalp area, most of the world’s 10 million Sikhs aren’t aware of the problems that can occur.

To prevent this problem, I would advise avoiding unnecessary stress on the hair by winding the ‘rishi’ knot less tightly.

Sikhs are by no means the only people affected by this; tractional alopecia often occurs as a result of various headwear and hair styles, including hair extensions, wearing tight ponytails and wearing tight fitting-hats.

If people took a little less stress off their hair, then perhaps they would have it for a little while longer!


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