Braid bumps

Hi guys! It’s no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with braids. On a scale of hate priority, braid bumps rate quite highly on my braid cons, coming closely behind edge hair loss. 

Don’t get me wrong queens, braids are absolutely gorgeousl! Especially when done right, however when it isn’t done the proper way, it could lead to pain and heartache. Just in case you still don’t understand what I am going on about, illd explain. 

What are braid bumps?

Braid bumps are swellings that are noticed on the scalp after braid installation or during braid styling. They actually occur as a result of hair follicle inflammation also known as folliculitis. 

Although, folliculitis is majorly caused by a bacterial or fungal infection, stress and tension with braids and protective style is also a significant cause.

Guys those tiny bumps that come with annoying pain after braid installations aren’t normal o. I was once naive in my thoughts that they are “follow come” with braids. I am here to scream out loud that they are not. Avoid treating them as normal and actually do something about them before they do your hair, especially your edges strong thing. 

I am sure I must have reiterated time and time again that I stayed away from braids for a complete five year period after the scarring effect of edge loss through tight braids. Mehn! that period was really difficult to deal with. 

I only made my come back to braids recently in the form of knotless braids. Which brings me to another important mention.

So you see, as opposed to the box braids that were king in my younger days, there is another reigning braid champion now referred to as knotless braids, and I am all for it guys! 

Knotless braids come with very minimal to no pain and almost no braid bumps. Why have headache in the name of box braids when you can simply go knotless.  Anyway, I realize we all have our preferences so I won’t be judgemental. As for me however it is knotless braids all the way. 

So back to braid bumps, they are a pain! And even more they could lead to massive hair loss; traumatizing isn’t it?

What causes braid bumps?

Braid bumps most times are caused by increased tension on the scalp by the way of tight braids or inappropriate braid styling. 

If there is anything I have learnt, it is never to stay quiet when a stylist tensions your scalp with tight weaves in the name of not being a “troublesome” client. My dear, what you would end up doing, is shooting your self in the leg. 

As for me, any stylist with a strong hold hand would have to deal with my trouble please. It is either we loosen the weave or we end the transaction. I won’t be in the band wagon of losing edges I worked hard to grow ever again please! 

I also know that it might be very tempting to manipulate/style your braids incessantly but please always ensure that your styles don’t put tension on the scalp. 

How to prevent and manage braid bumps

Prevention is always better than cure! That being said, how do you deal with braid bumps when they are noticed

  1. My first advice is to remain vigilant during the braid installation, for any install that tugs on your scalp or edges, tell the stylist to take it out immediately and redo it with a softer touch please. It is better to offend the stylist than deal with pain and hair loss. 
  2. If after leaving the stylist,  you start to notice that the weave is a bit too tight, you  could gently massage the scalp with warm oil. Coconut oil massage has proven to be very useful in soothing the scalp and relieving the pain that comes with braid bumps.
  3. Change your braid style Sis!  I already mentioned that knotless braids are a more preferred choice to box braids, so why not go for them. However in some cases, the bumps could come from the hair styling or the manner in which the braids are packed (I.e tight buns) the easy solution to that, would be to let the hair down. 
  4. Steam your braids; steaming your braids could help loosen your pores as well as the tension on your braids or better still, run warm water through the braids. I know you might flinch at running water through your braids, probably as a result of installation and energy expended but trust me, it would be nothing compared to the hair loss and pain you would face if you don’t biko. You need to prioritize your health. 
  5. Apply a soothing leave in conditioner, it just might help to relieve the pain and tension. 
  6. Take a breather and space out your braid protective styling. Sometimes, you just have to let you hair and edges rest, else they would react in ways that could cause heart break such as traction alopecia (hair loss especially at the edges) and severe breakage. 

Products/Medications that work great for braid bump relief

As mentioned earlier, braid bumps should be absolutely avoided where possible, however when they do occur, there are a few products/medications that have been noted useful to prevent a terrible case of braid bump induced folliculitis, find them attached below.

1. Camille Rose’s Mint Conditioner

Camille rose’s mint condition braid and scalp spray works great in helping to soothe and relieve the discomfort from braid bumps. It has a fine blend of essential oils, herbs, sea moss and aloe Vera which do not only rejuvenate the scalp, but also help to boost hair health.

2. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel on its own has also been shown to work great for braid bumps. You could either go the natural way and sift out the gel from an aloe Vera stalk or get the store bought gels such as the organic aloe Vera soothing gel. Just in case you are a diy individual, check out our post via the link below for making some premium aloe Vera gel/cream. See our post on Benefits of Aloe Vera Gel for Hair to learn what you stand to gain from using Aloe Vera in your hair care routine

3. Medications

Medications such as antihistamines which include chlorpheniramine, Loratidine or cetrizine could also help to relieve the reaction/ itching. Please consult your local pharmacy or doctor for the right dosage for any of the medications you decide to go with.

4. Coconut Oil

I won’t even lie to y’all coconut oil has to be one of my favourite oils of all time. It works great for my hair and what’s more is that it has also been proven ro help tremendously with combating discomfort from braid bumps. Get a bottle of coconut oil today and literally prevent a world of braid bump headache.

So these are my tips for dealing with braid bumps, but I must repeat it’s better not to even have them to start with. Like they say, prevention is always better that cure.

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