Hair loss in African-American women is a very real concern that too few people seem to really know about. Because hair is so strongly tied to not only our perception of ourselves but to the way people feel about a particular person, hair loss can be absolutely devastating for women if left unchecked.
Getting to the bottom of this phenomenon will help you both understand why it occurs and help you understand the steps that you can take to correct it as quickly as possible.
Identify the cause of hair loss
One of the most important things to understand about hair loss in women has to do with the difference between alopecia and traumatic alopecia.
Traditional alopecia is a term that is used to describe hair loss of any type. A woman who is experiencing hair loss is experiencing alopecia – these two terms are essentially synonymous.
Traumatic alopecia, however, is a much more specific situation where strands of hair become shorter and shorter as time goes on due to trauma or injury that the strand has experienced. This is also commonly referred to as hair breakage. In her series on the subject via the Huffington Post, Dr. Susan Taylor explains that traumatic alopecia is usually caused by excessive use of chemical relaxers or dyes, excessive heat application, and heavy frictional forces. Brittany Gatson of BlackDoctor.org also explains that hormonal changes – thyroid, PCOS, childbirth, and hormonal birth control – can contribute to changes in hair texture and breakage.
Not sure what kind of hair loss you’re suffering from? Madame Noire covers a few different kinds with accompanying images.
How to prevent hair loss
In order to combat hair loss in women, there are a number of very important practices to observe. Here are some tips we picked up with some info from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):
- For starters, hair should only be washed either once per week or once every other week. This helps make sure that hair care products don’t build up on your scalp, which will only lead to the hair drying out and breaking over time.
- Use conditioner each and every time you wash your hair for the best possible results. When using conditioner, African-American women should always pay close attention to the ends of the hair as these areas are the oldest and most fragile part of each individual strand.
- When using hair care products on your hair, you’re always going to want to use ones that contain natural ingredients. Not only do hair care products with natural ingredients not lead to hair drying out, but they can actually help maintain moisture for longer periods of time. Natural hair care ingredients that you should always be on the lookout for include aloe vera juice, aloe vera gel, olive oil, shea butter, and glycerin.
- Stay away from shampoos that contain sulfates and similar ingredients. These types of ingredients can lead to a woman’s hair drying out, which will lead to breakage and long term damage if a person washes her hair on a regular basis.
Treating existing hair loss
When dealing with hair loss in African-American women, one of the keys to treatment is catching the condition as early as possible. If hair loss isn’t identified quickly and properly treated, hair follicles can be replaced by various levels of scar tissue as time goes on. As a result, these types of hair loss can be not only permanent but disfiguring, as well.
Some of the main types of products used to treat these types of hair loss in African American women include anti-inflammatory medications. Topical corticosteroids are also often used to help get to the root of an issue and get it corrected as soon as possible.
Always consult your dermatologist on a regular basis to help identify any small issues that you may be experiencing before they become big ones. Oprah’s web team did a thorough run-down of some helpful medications and treatments here.
Identify your hair loss now and give your hair some love. You’ll prevent any further damage – and might even be able to restore your hair! Contact us today to discuss your options.
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