Health & Wellness: The Black Woman`s Guide to Hair Loss

Hair is big thing with black women- and women in general. And that’s why hair loss can become a very traumatic experience for a woman. Sometimes the hair loss is due to natural things like hereditary and hormones. But oftentimes it is also the direct result of things we do to our own hair, like constant chemical processing (i.e. relaxers) and hairstyling (i.e. tight braids), as well as poor diet.

I’ll cover the most common causes of hair loss in black women. And I will discuss treatment methods. In all cases, you should make sure you that you’re getting the proper nutrients for healthy hair in the form of vitamins and supplements (last page). And in some cases of hair loss you will have to see a doctor from prescription medication so that your condition doesn’t worsen or become permanent.

The thing to remember is that if you’re a black woman experiencing thinning hair or hair loss, you should take the time to read up on this information, and start taking the necessary steps now to restore your hair back to its full and healthy state. Here is the black woman’s guide to hair loss:

Traction Alopecia

This type of hair loss is seen around the hairline, especially around the temples and above the ears. How does it happen? It is the result of tight hairstyles- i.e. tight weaves, braids and ponytails. How is it treated? Fortunately, this type of hair loss is reversible in the initial stages. And treatments include: refraining from the same hairstyles that caused the hair loss, as well as over the counter supplements (vitamin b complex, biotin, vitamin c, e and zinc) and topical minoxidil (Rogaine).

Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA)

This type of hair loss was once called “hot-comb alopecia,” and most women with this condition will initially notice hair thinning at the  “crown” of the head that eventually spreads. How does it happen? It is most often the result of excessive heat styling and chemical processing (i.e. relaxers). How is it treated? CCCA is an inflammatory-like condition, so the best treatments are medical. In addition to taking vitamins, you will have to see a doctor who will most likely prescribe anti-inflammatories (i.e. prescription strength cortisone) and other medications to be applied topically or injected directly into the scalp.

Androgenetic Alopecia

This type of hair loss is often called “female-pattern baldness” where women will also notice thinning at the “crown” of the head with the rest of the hair spared. How does it happen? It is a hereditary condition. How is it treated? You will have to see your doctor for effective treatments which may include prescription level medications, which may also include hormonal therapy. This type of hair loss is also treated with over the counter medications like topical minoxidil (Rogaine).

Hormonal Hair Loss

As we age, it’s natural for our hair to experience changes like increased shedding and slow growth. But in women, some hormonal changes that can trigger unhealthy hair loss include: menopause, thyroid conditions, and pregnancy. How is this treated? Depending on the cause, this type of hair loss can be treated with estrogen therapy, thyroid medication, and/or vitamins and nutritional supplements. So make sure you always get regular medical checkups to fully assess your overall health. This way, if your hair loss is the result of a hormonal imbalance, you can have the issue addressed right away.

Are you a woman currently experiencing or who has experienced hair loss due to any of the above reasons?

What treatment(s) did you use, and did it work?
Dr Phoenix| Friday, May 13, 2011| MN|

Liked this article and want to know more about our writer Dr. Phoenyx Austin? Well show her some love on her Facebook fan page. Known for her gorgeous natural tresses and flawless skin, Dr. Phoenyx is a physician, writer, and media personality who offers information on hair and skin care. She has been featured in Essence and encourages all women to embrace and showcase their natural beauty.

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