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Alopecia: Hair Loss Caused By Unhealthy Hairstyles

Alopecia: Hair loss caused by Unhealthy Hairstyles Although all human hair (and indeed all hair) is com­posed of hair fol­li­cles and shafts, there are dis­tinct vari­a­tions in the shape and behav­iour of hair across dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups. Some eth­nic groups, for exam­ple Native Amer­i­cans, hardly suf­fer from male pat­tern bald­ness at all, while Cau­casians suf­fer from it the most, fol­lowed by Blacks. Inter­est­ingly enough, Black peo­ple are the eth­nic group most heav­ily affected by the con­di­tion known as trac­tion alope­cia, a type of hair loss that is caused by pulling and weight put on the hair over time. This is partly the result of the types of hair­styles favoured by the Black com­mu­nity such as corn­rows, tight braids, weaves and clip on exten­sions, as well as repeated straightening. How­ever, the struc­ture of black hair itself is, in part, to blame for the sus­cep­ti­bil­ity of black hair to the con­di­tion. The struc­ture of black hair dif­fers in shape from Cau­casian or Ori­en­tal hair. Black hair shafts tend to be flat and rel­a­tively small in diam­e­ter. They have a twisted con­fig­u­ra­tion and each hair has vari­a­tions in diam­e­ter along the shaft as it twists. Because the hair is nat­u­rally curly, the hairs wrap around each other as they grow becom­ing tan­gled. The diam­e­ter vari­a­tions and twists cause weak­ness along the shaft, mak­ing the hair more liable to break. On the other hand, try­ing to detan­gle the hair or straighten it will often lead to fur­ther dam­age, often result­ing in severe break­age and trac­tion alopecia. Trac­tion alope­cia is one of the most com­mon types of hair loss affect­ing black women, but it is often mis­di­ag­nosed and mis­taken for another type of hair loss. It often starts at the hair line with a thin­ning at the front of the head, but the hair loss can spread and affect the entire head if not stopped in time. It's impor­tant to note, though, that the trac­tion alope­cia hair loss pat­tern will often depend on the type of hair­styles worn by the suf­ferer. Wear­ing the hair in rollers overnight in order to straighten it, for exam­ple, can result in trac­tion alope­cia caus­ing the hair to fall out in clumps. Banded trac­tion alope­cia, on the other hand, affects the scalp edges around the entire head. Although not all black women suf­fer from trac­tion alope­cia, the con­di­tion is com­mon enough to war­rant cau­tion when styling the hair. The fact that it's the struc­ture of the hair itself that can make Black hair prone to break­age and hair loss, sug­gests one should either avoid tight or poten­tially dam­ag­ing hair­styles alto­gether, or watch care­fully for early signs of trac­tion alope­cia and begin treat­ment imme­di­ately if hair loss or thin­ning is suspected. Note that fre­quent straight­en­ing by means other than hair rollers can also be harmfu, and some experts actu­ally rec­om­mend con­sid­er­ing chem­i­cal straight­en­ing for those who are set on hav­ing their hair straight­ened. Although not ideal, this can be more suited for Black hair in the long run, as it reduces the amount of daily or weekly straight­en­ing activ­i­ties that can do more dam­age to the hair overall. Hair loss is one of the most dis­heart­en­ing con­di­tions that can affect any woman regard­less of colour or eth­nic­ity. In order to treat it effec­tively, we must first under­stand its causes. Early, accu­rate diag­no­sis is essen­tial when attempt­ing to treat the con­di­tion, as dif­fer­ent types of hair loss require dif­fer­ent treat­ment. In all cases, the ear­lier it's caught, the eas­ier it is to treat the con­di­tion. Many hair loss con­di­tions that affect black women are fully reversible if treated early and in the right man­ner. Here are the most com­mon types of hair loss that affect black women:
Trac­tion alopecia Caused by exces­sive pres­sure, weight or strain put on the hair over a period of time, this con­di­tion affects women who wear their hair in tight braids, corn­rows or have long heavy dread­locks, as well as those who use tight weaves, clip on hair exten­sions or draw­string pony­tails. If you wear your hair in a tight pony­tail, you could also be affected. Trac­tion alope­cia is often mis­taken for other types of hair loss in black women but is actu­ally extremely com­mon. It often affects the hair in the hair­line area, where the hair is most tightly pulled when styled. Trac­tion alope­cia is treat­able and, if caught early enough, usu­ally reversible. Apart from remov­ing the cause (i.e. wear­ing the hair in softer, less tight styles), treat­ment involves increas­ing cir­cu­la­tion to the scalp and stim­u­lat­ing and nour­ish­ing the hair fol­li­cles to pro­duce more hair. This can be done by using any stan­dard hair loss treat­ments, from sham­poos to prod­ucts like Rogaine that con­tain minoxidil. Cen­tral Cen­trifu­gal Cica­tri­cial Alopecia A hair loss con­di­tion nor­mally affect­ing the crown of the head (although if untreated it will spread fur­ther). This con­di­tion is also the result of harm­ful hair styling, although this time exces­sive heat treat­ment is the cul­prit, rather than ten­sion and weight. This is actu­ally an inflam­ma­tory con­di­tion, so a visit to a doc­tor is nec­es­sary for treat­ing it. The doc­tor will pre­scribe anti-inflammatory drugs such as steroids that will most likely be given topically. Andro­ge­netic Alope­cia (or Andro­genic Alopecia) Also known as "female pat­tern bald­ness" this con­di­tion also affects the crown of the head, with the rest of the hair usu­ally remain­ing unaf­fected. This con­di­tion affects the major­ity of post-menopausal women, although it affects around 13% of pre-menopausal women as well. This is a more seri­ous con­di­tion that is caused pre­dom­i­nantly by genet­ics and hor­mones. Your doc­tor can give you some pre­scrip­tion drugs for treat­ing it and there are food sup­ple­ments said to also help. Top­i­cal treat­ments are com­monly used to treat the con­di­tion along­side the inter­nal treat­ment. There are both nat­ural treat­ments and prod­ucts con­tain­ing minoxidil. Other hor­monal hair loss conditions Women expe­ri­ence many hor­monal changes through­out their lives as the result stress or ill­ness, but also as part of the nat­ural processes they go through in life preg­nancy and child­birth, the menopause and even the monthly cycle. Some of these hor­monal changes can result in hair loss and most can be treated by a com­bi­na­tion of over the counter food sup­ple­ments, pre­scrip­tion med­i­cine and top­i­cal treat­ments. Dis­cuss your options with your doc­tor if you thing you may be suf­fer­ing from hor­monal hair loss.


(Fri, Jan 15, 2016)

Hi my name is LIZ, I have a big baldspot on the top of my head from glue. Can I grow my hair back from this.Please help me

Veronica Buckner
(Sun, Jan 17, 2016)

I would like to know a little more information.

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