Treating Hair Loss in Black Women

Have you ever heard “your hair is your beauty”, or  “ it isn’t right if it isn’t tight”.

These phrases have been a staple when it comes to talking about hair, especially in the black community. It's these same misconceptions that make us feel less than if we start to lose our hair. Oftentimes when we start experiencing changes like hair loss to our crown, it can affect our self-esteem, confidence and how we show up in the world overall. Stress in particular can lead to many hair issues, especially telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium can take place after experiencing an extremely stressful event. It forces your hair into a resting phase causing a lot of hair to shed at once. 




Telogen Effluvium- When the majority of hair is in the resting phase (telogen) causing excessive hair shedding (effluvium) following a stressful or traumatic event.


So, let's talk about hair loss. It's something that almost half of us will experience in our lifetime and although it's not always permanent, it can be difficult to treat without the proper tools and education. 


Let's get into it!

  1. Female pattern baldness

 This is a hereditary form of hair loss happens mostly after menopause due to the decrease in estrogen levels. The hair loss usually starts along the part line and spreads across the front of the hair. Complete baldness is not likely.

  

  • Causes: Over time the growth (anagen) phase in the hair cycle gets shorter and shorter leading to more hair falling out instead of growing. Female pattern baldness can also be caused by stress or an underlying condition of the endocrine system ….. Or meds .  

  • Prevention: You can minimize the amount of hair loss by following a treatment plan using medications like minoxidil, finasteride, dutasteride and spironolactone after consulting with a hair loss specialist or dermatologist. 

  • Treatment: Laser combs and laser helmets can also help regrow hair overtime the light from the lasers help stimulate hair growth. Studies have also shown that eating omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants can help thicken hair as well. Hair transplants are a more permanent solution where a graft is taken from one part of the body as the hair grows and looks like it's naturally growing from the scalp. 


2. Traction Alopecia- 

Have ya’ll ever gotten some braids that were done too tight, followed by little white bumps? Those are your follicles screaming for help (a.k.a. inflammation) this can lead to traction alopecia. This is a gradual form of hair loss seen when someone constantly wears tight styles that pull and stress the hair. The stress to the perimeter of the head, mostly the front hairline, can cause inflammation and lead to scarring and eventually lead to permanent hair loss.  :(

  • Causes: Tight styles that are done over a long period of time like super tight ponytails, tight braids or cornrows, getting your locs maintained too frequently or wearing wigs that are improperly installed or removed. Your scalp should not hurt after a style has been installed.

  • Prevention: Switch it up! It's okay to do these styles in moderation just make sure to show your hair some TLC in between especially the front and back hairline.  

  • Treatment: Moisturize your hair frequently with lots of water, a good hair butter or cream and a quality leave-in conditioner. Massaging the areas where hair loss is present can also help stimulate blood flow which will lead to increased circulation and regrowth. 




  1. Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA)- 

Tbh CCCA is something that most black women (and some black men) suffer from. It starts at the crown/ center of the head and spreads out in a spiral pattern, and for most it spreads rapidly. Studies have recognized that people who have constantly gotten chemical service (even from a young age) have higher chances of developing CCCA

  • Prevention: 

Being natural and nurturing your hair that way it naturally grows is the first step. Wearing low manipulation styles and having a great moisture routine will help, our hair appreciates consistency :). Avoid keeping your hair in any tight style, during the service communicate with your stylist if you're experiencing any pain. 

  • Treatment: 

Treatment can start by taking care of your mental health, sometimes life can be overwhelming and when we’re swamped with responsibility our hair needs tend to take a backseat. Reducing stress is imperative to retaining hair growth. Also washing your hair every 1-2 weeks can help reduce inflammation.  

CCCA can be treated with at home topical medications or corticosteroid scalp injections done by a professional. After speaking with a professional they will be able to prescribe medications that best fit your lifestyle. 



 


CCCA can be treated with at home topical medications or corticosteroid scalp injections done by a professional. After speaking with a professional they will be able to prescribe medications that best fit your lifestyle. 

Whether it’s traction alopecia, post partum, stress induced or genetic the bottom line is we don't want to lose our hair before we’re ready. The good news is some types of alopecia can be treated or prevented. The beauty God granted us is within hair definitely does not dictate our worth <3. 

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