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African American Women and Hair Loss
Hair loss can be upsetting, or even devastating, to anyone. Hair loss in an African American woman can be even more worrisome because there are not a lot of hair loss treatments directed towards black women. African American women take a lot of pride in their hair, whether they wear it au-natural or in a weave. So it is understandable when a black woman feels not only upset, but confused on what she can do about her hair loss. The first step is to determine what is causing the hair loss, sometimes with the help of a doctor. Once the cause is pin-pointed treatment can begin, if possible.
Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (what a mouthful!), or CCCA, is a type of hair loss common in black women. CCCA is usually caused by excessive use of chemicals and heat. Women who get a lot of relaxers in their hair are prone to get CCCA, and it used to be referred to as hot-comb alopecia. This type of hair loss is characterized by starting on the top of the head at the crown and usually spreads. The best types of treatment for CCCA are obtained from a doctor. Usually a physician will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications since the skin becomes inflamed with CCCA. They will usually also require you to take other medications that can be applied right on the scalp, and vitamins.
Hormones and Hair Loss
Hormones can wreak havoc on a woman’s body and contribute to hair loss. Some causes of hormonal change that can bring about hair loss include pregnancy, menopause, and thyroid issues.There could possibly be treatments available for hormonal hair loss, depending on what exactly is causing the hormones to be out of sync. Occasionally doctors will use hormone treatments to attempt to balance the hormones to their normal state, which will cause the hair to grow as normal.
Traction alopecia is hair loss that originates around the hairline. Usually the first signs of it are thinning or hair loss above the ears and in the area of the temples. This type of hair loss is most common in black women and is usually caused by the tightness and pulling, or traction, of the hairstyles that are popular with black women. Treatment is possible and almost never requires a visit to a doctor, if caught and treated early enough. First you should stop wearing the type of hairstyles that are causing the traction alopecia. There are over the counter supplements and vitamins that can be taken to help strengthen the hair and support new healthy growth. These include Vitamin C, Zinc, and Vitamin B complex.
Androgenetic Alopecia is the official medical term for female pattern baldness, the opposite of male pattern baldness. With androgenetic alopecia, women usually begin to see thinning and hair loss at the crown of the head, which begins to spread over time. This type of hair loss is genetic. Medicationssuch as Rogaine or those prescribed by a doctor are the only treatment for this type of hair loss.
It isn’t too common, but occasionally hair loss can be a result of hair follicles becoming clogged. Black women who use a lot of hair product are particularly prone to this. Your risk factors for clogged follicles increase if you use greasy or heavy products and do not wash your hair frequently. Clogged follicles aren’t exactly a cause of hair loss, but they do prevent new hair from growing. If the follicles get infected, it could lead to permanent damage of the follicle, in which no hair would be able to grow. If you are a black woman and concerned about possible hair loss down the line, there are preventative measures that can be taken. You should first take vitamins and minerals daily that assist in hair health. Reduce the frequency in which hot treatments and chemicals are used on the hair, and try hairstyles that do not tightly constrict and pull the hair. If you begin to experience hair loss that you believe needs medical attention, see a doctor right away. The sooner it is treated, the sooner you will have your natural beautiful hair back.