Black Women Are More Prone to Hair Loss

Study Finds that Black Women Are More Prone to Hair Loss

Hair loss in both genders can be humiliating, but even more so in women.

There are many different causes of hair loss in women, but one study shows that your ethnicity may be a major factor.

New research suggests that women of African-American descent may be more prone to hair loss.

The Facts

Approximately half of all African-American women have experienced some degree of hair loss according a study from the American Academy of Dermatology in Schaumburg, Illinois.

This statistic is quite a bit higher than women of other ethnicities.

The study also showed that even though black women are more likely to suffer hair loss, they’re far less likely to consult a doctor about the condition and receive any kind of hair transplant treatment.

Of the nearly 6,000 participants in the study, 81.4 percent said they had never seen a physician about hair loss, even though 47.6 percent had experienced it.

The Causes

The most common cause of hair loss for these women is known as central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA). Essentially, this condition causes inflammation of the hair follicles, which destroys them and can cause scarring that results in permanent hair loss.

CCCA can occur in both men and women of various descent, but it’s most common in middle-aged African-American women.

Other causes can be attributed to their hair type and popular hairstyles. Many black women have very fine, curly hair that requires a lot of pulling and brushing to tame.

Combing the hair and forcing it into tight braids, ponytails, cornrows, and other styles can damage the hair follicles, resulting in a condition called traction alopecia.

This describes what happens when the follicles are scarred and damaged from excessive force, resulting in permanent hair loss.

Excessive use of flat irons, curling wands, chemical relaxers, and other styling products can also lead to traction alopecia, but that’s only part of the problem, according to Inez Britton, a dermatologist who has studied hair loss extensively in the past. Improper nutrition can also lead to hair loss.

Prevention Techniques

Dr. Yolanda M. Lenzy, lead dermatologist and researcher for the study said that though some of the problems with hair loss in African-American women are genetic and can’t be helped, others are preventable with a few changes in behavior.

“When hair loss is caused by styling practices, the problem is usually chronic use,” she explained. “Women who use these styling practices tend to use them repeatedly, and long-term repeated use can result in hair loss.

Women who are dealing with hair loss should consider changing their styling practices, and visit a board-certified dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment.

Some people may only associate dermatologists with skin issues, but we’re also experts in hair disorders, and we can provide the help you need.”

She also urged women to recognize the actual cause of the hair loss before applying treatment. With the case of chemical relaxers, for example, the problem may be more in nutrition than in the product.

“Everyone points fingers at the women with chemical relaxers, but the reality is that Black women and men rarely consume enough water or the types of foods that naturally help to protect the follicles of their hair and produce healthy sheen,” dermatologist Britton, told the AFRO. “Soda and alcohol consumption have a terrible impact on the skin and hair.”

Lenzy encourages women facing possible hair loss to consume the daily-recommended amount of water, as well as foods high in vitamin K, protein, biotin, and vitamin C in order to promote healthier hair.

She also recommends asking your stylist to warn you about signs of hair loss so you can take preemptive action.

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