Understanding Hair Loss as a Black Woman

In January of this year, Representative Ayanna Pressley revealed she has alopecia areta. “It’s important I’m transparent about this new normal” she stated. She’s right. We need to embrace the realities of our crown.

Alopecia areata, is a condition that causes significant hair loss, and in extreme cases, can lead to baldness, like Rep. Pressley. Unfortunately, there are up to 50% of black women, right now, suffering from this same condition, or variation of. Not all hair loss has to be devastating. If you are able to notice the warning signs, and get it treated at the onset, you can prevent major and permanent damage to your hair.

Often times, out of fear of judgement from our hairstylist, the social stigma, lack of access to information, and sometimes just sheer shame, keep us from seeking the help that we need.

“Keep It Right…Keep It Tight”

Literally, this is what is causing your hair loss. Although our Black genes play a huge part in all of this, so does the way we style and wear our hair. Black women and men are dramatically more vulnerable to 3 types of hair loss (alopecia):

1. Hair breakage
2. Traction alopecia (which we talked about this week on Facebook)
3. CCCA – Central centrifugal cicatrical alopecia

Let’s break each of these down in more detail.

Hair Breakage: We’re all familiar with split ends.

Insert dramatic sigh…

Breakage is considered damage to the hair strand itself and not the actual hair follicle. Breakage is caused by using your curling or flat iron too much and especially repetitive perming or dying. Try staying away from heat and chemicals for 30 days. Come on we know you can do it!!!! We’re here to help you!

Traction alopecia: This is where the “keep it right…keep it tight” comes into play. Tight hairstyles, or hairstyles that tug on your natural hair cause Traction alopecia. Why is this a Black woman’s issue? Think about how heavy box braids can be. What about dreadlocks, twists, braids, even?

Wearing hairstyles like that for a long time, pulls your hair from the root, which causes damage, tenderness and even soreness.

Fellas! This is why your woman says her scalp is on fire, after getting braids. She’s not lying. Rub her scalp!

CCCA: This particular extremely difficult type of alopecia to pronounce, can also be caused by repeated use of braids, corn rows, heat, chemicals, and other bad hair practices lead to balding around the edges and crown of the head. Tenderness to the touch is often one of the first signs. You will have to be medically treated with antibiotics to help with the tenderness and/or swelling, and if you do not get it treated, it can lead to permanent hair loss or damage to your scalp.

There is Hope & More Importantly, Help!

While this article focuses on Black women and their hair, people from all races, ethnicity, and populations, suffer from hair loss. There are several types of alopecia. Some alopecia can be a result of a medical condition like Lupus or thyroid disease (common in Black people) even diabetes.

It’s important that you if you notice signs of hair loss, tenderness or breakage, seek professional help immediately to prevent permanent damage. Here is what you can do to help:

1. Accept the new normal and go natural, like Rep. Presseley.
2. Ask your stylist for other less damaging alternatives to braids. Maybe a braided wig instead?
3. When wearing wigs, measure your head. Always use an open cap and wash it on a regular basis.
4. Avoid perming or dying your hair for at least 30 days.

We are here to help you! We are certified wig makers, licensed cosmetologists and hair consultants. Keep reading to see how you can get a FREE consultation or check our hair restoration and regrowth products.

See you next Wednesday!
#StewartMagic #HairLoss #Alopecia

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