Harmful Effects of the Ponytail

Every single girl who has ever worn their hair in a ponytail can vouch for this when I say that when left in for too long they can give you a nasty headache. This usually results in not being able to touch your head for a couple seconds followed by a full on head massage. What are the reasons that ponytails have this type of effect on the head?


Ponytails are often pulled tight especially for those who are going to be engaging in some type of physical activity such as playing a sport or going to the gym. Pulling the ponytail tight strains the tissue in the scalp which causes the headache. Also, such a tight ponytail increases the risk of tension alopecia which is a hair loss condition. However, tension alopecia is usually due to young children wearing such tight ponytails or an excessive amount of tight ponytails spanning over months and years.


Ponytail headaches are also dependent on the amount of hair someone has. If a person has very long, thick hair the stress of the ponytail pulling on the scalp can sometimes even lead to back and neck pain. It is also always a good idea to remove the hair from a pony tail before going to bed. Going to bed with the ponytail in can cause strain and stress on the scalp. On top of the headaches and other aches people get from ponytails, they are also a great way to damage one’s hair.


Damage done by ponytails is usually do to the quality of the ponytail itself. Rubber bands are the fastest and easiest way to create great amounts of hair breakage. The best way to avoid this breakage would be by investing in some good quality, elastic ponytails. Wearing a ponytail also creates a pressure in a specific spot on your hair shaft that can weaken it over time and prevent growth. Therefore, switch it up! Wear all kinds of different styles and loosen the ponytails to reduce tension on your head.





4 thoughts on “Harmful Effects of the Ponytail

  1. Anne Curry Heffernan

    I’ve been a gymnast for 15 years, and (if you’re not familiar with gymnastics) there are strict rules in how gymnasts have to wear there hair, because it can be dangerous if ponytails or buns are too loose. So I have always worn my hair in a very tight ponytail when doing gymnastics, and I find myself used to the way it feels, although it can be pulled back to tight which really hurts. Also, I found this study about ponytails and headaches.

  2. Lauren Marie Freid

    I personally relate to this article so much. I have long, thick hair and every time I go to the hairdresser, they said my hair can fit up to 3 people. I have been playing sports since I was a little girl, so I have to wear tight ponytails all the time. I try to wear looser ponytails now, but when I did wear tight ponytails, my head hurt after I took it out and I did get bad headaches. It is scary that doing physical activity can potentially lead to hair loss! The link below I thought was kind of funny; it talks about the dos and donts of how to wear your hair when doing sports.


  3. Julia Molchany

    I basically feel no relation to this article because I’ve never had a ponytail headache. That being said, I wear ponytails all the time and to sleep. Is the point you are trying to make that ponytails cause hair breakage? If so, that would not be easy to test. Especially because, like you said, everyone has a different thickness, consistency, and length to their hair. Also, it would be difficult to measure hair breakage/loss. If this is trying to detect causation between headaches and ponytails, I would like to see a good experiment done on this. I’m not sure how one would do that, but at least you can rule out reverse causation. Headaches don’t cause ponytails. This topic is unique though, try to answer some of my questions if you can!

  4. Emily Peacock

    As a long distance runner, I need to have a dependable hair elastic that won’t let my hair fall out on mile two of a six mile run. However, after some runs I find myself getting headaches as a result from tying my hair back too tight. Kind of scary to think that exercising can ultimately lead to hair loss!

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