The Scientific Case Against the Man Bun

As if we needed another reason to despise the hair trend.

We’ve known for some time that the man bun is a crime against both hairstyles and both human decency, but recent research reveals that it’s probably unhealthy too. According to a new report, the man bun may cause actual hair loss and other physical ailments.

Mic did some sleuthing into the medical mysteries surrounding the hairstyle, including “traction alopecia,” the ailment most often attributed to the man bun. They spoke with dermatologist Sabra Sullivan, who said she sees what Mic termed “acute baldness around the forehead and temples” caused by constantly, tightly gathering the hair into a doofy little topknot before having a zen kimono Sunday with your lady.

Doing this, Dr. Sullivan told Mic, puts “traction on the hair follicles that the hair is not really meant to take.” It could, in fact, lead to the horrors of “follicle death” and scars the unfortunate bearer of the man bun will have to wear as a symbol of their shame for the rest of their lives. Dr. Sullivan told the publication she sees cases of traction alopecia as often as “once a week.”

Traction alopecia mostly afflicted women in the past, particularly African-American women who wore tightly-braided hairstyles. It isn’t new to the medical community or to hairstylists, and the latter also advise clients about the potential pitfalls of the disorder. Speaking to Mic, stylist Dennis Zuniga pointed out that hair follicles damaged by over-reliance on tightly-bound topknots “will not grow back.”

Anyone fearing they’re at risk for this man bun-induced malady can do a couple of things: according to at least one source, you can adopt a looser style; you can cut the damned thing off, keep it, tell everyone it’s your pet Tribble; or you can keep affected areas away from heat or harsh chemicals to lessen the symptoms. Otherwise, a man bun gone wrong can bring about a need for antibiotics, topical steroids or even surgery. 

It’s official. Man buns are a medical hazard. Time to call in the FDA. 

Photos by Getty Images