Friday, September 7, 2012

Black Women Hair Loss Solutions

African American Hair Loss

Author: Alanna Brown
In the United States, there are approximately 21 million women and 35 million men suffering some degree of baldness. Ninety-five percent of that is due to androgenic alopecia, which accounts for various ethnicities, including African American hair loss. But for this particular ethnic group, there are other alopecias that have historically caused significant hair thinning.
The Specific Causes of African American Hair Loss
In addition to androgenic alopecia, commonly called pattern baldness, there are two conditions present mostly among people of African descent.
  • Traction alopecia
  • Central cicatricial centrifugal alopecia
Traction alopecia is gradual hair loss as a result of constant or frequent harsh pulling on the hair. Most commonly seen in African American women due to the cultural styling of their hair, this condition can result from corn rows, braids, extensions, weaves, ponytails, and barrettes. The thinning will begin to manifest in a recession at the periphery of the scalp, meaning the frontal and rear hairlines, and behind the ears.
Central cicatricial centrifugal alopecia (CCCA) is another major cause of African American hair loss, however, it manifests at the top center of the scalp. This condition is the result of traction alopecia in combination with the continued use of abrasive chemicals and/or heated appliances. These chemicals, such as relaxers, bleaches, and dyes, weaken the keratin structure of the hair, thus undermining its tensile strength. For example, an amalgamation of chemical straightening and weaving in hair extensions will result in CCCA over time.
Curing African American Hair Loss
The same general solutions that exist for alopecia affecting Caucasians and other ethnic groups are also available to people of African ancestry. Rogaine (minoxidil) is an FDA-approved medication used to stop hair loss and possibly stimulate re-growth. It is available over the counter and administered topically. The only problems with Rogaine are:
  • It is not affective at restoring hair to the hairline, thus would only be useful for treating CCCA.
  • It currently exists only in a liquid formula, which is typically ineffective with, and not conducive to, the typical hair care practices of African American women.
An excellent way to permanently reverse African American hair loss is through hair transplantation. Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a favorable method due to its single follicle extraction process, which leaves little scarring and enhances the overall result. However, with FUE or any hair transplant technique, the following specifications must be considered:
  • African American people typically have curly or kinked follicles, which are difficult to excise without a raised transection percentage. In addition, the follicle tends to have a stronger attachment to the surrounding tissue, making the hair more difficult to excise.
  • African American people have heightened scarring tendencies, including a tendency to keloid during healing.
To avoid raised transection rates and severe scarring, hair restoration surgeons must take special care when treating African American hair loss.
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About the Author
Author: Alanna Brown, content writer for DermHair Clinic
At DermHair Clinic, our goal is to impart the latest innovations for hair restoration, and to provide information on recent discoveries in the field.
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