African American Hair Loss

The typical hair and hair follicles of African-Americans are tightly curled, thus producing hair that spirals. African-American hair also typically has a larger diameter  and retains less water, thus its relatively course. The many styling methods utilized on African-American hair cause concern with hair loss. African American hair is very strong, however because the hair cuticle is so thin is easier for the hair to become damaged with the use use of chemicals and tight hair styles. African-American women spend an astonishing half a trillion dollars on hair care and weaves. For this reason it  is important when going to salons, beauty supply stores, and online that the proper haircare and products are being used.

Leading Causes of Hair Loss in African-Americans

African American Hair LossCCCA (Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia)
Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia is a common cause of progressive permanent  alopecia. This  form of hair loss was previously know as hot comb alopecia, follicular degeneration syndrome,  or pseudopelade in African Americans.  The constant over-processing of the hair using Relaxers and Hair Color causes and inflammatory response to the scalp and literally burns and scars the follicles. When this occurs the hair loss in permanent.  Clinical features include a smooth and shiny scalp in the affected areas usually affecting the crown and vertex of the scalp.

Traction Alopecia
Traction alopecia is a form of hair loss caused by gradual pulling of the hair from tight hairstyles such as ponytails, braids, weaves, dreadlocks, and hair extensions. This type of hair loss is very common among African-American women and is evident by the loss of hair around the temples and the side of the head. It is also caused by excessive use of Relaxers, Brazilian Keratin Treatments, Texturizers, and other hair chemicals.

Hair Over-Processing from Relaxers and Heat
Relaxers used to straighten hair can cause a great deal of heat and chemical damage to hair and scalp, which can also cause Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA), and over time can cause permanent hair loss. This becomes especially true when the heat or chemically processed hair is pulled tight by rollers or a hot curling iron which can lead to traction alopecia. Consider that hair relaxers commonly used on African-American hair contain lye or similar chemicals that break down the hair shaft. Left on beyond the recommended time, these chemicals would eat right through the hair and cause it to fall out in clumps. This is why these same products are used in products like Drano® to clean clogged drains which often are clogged by hair. No-lye relaxers are very popular today, mainly because it leads people to believe that the product is not caustic. This is far from the truth.

The combination of calcium hydroxide and guanidine carbonate are combined to form guanidine hydroxide, which could just as easily clean a sink. Repeated use of such products can cause some degree of hair loss, and if scarring occurs while using these chemicals, the hair loss can be permanent in that area of the scalp. One must ask themselves is it wise to place such caustic chemicals in the hair on a regular basis for the sake of desired appearance? The question must be answered by each individual, however the facts should be known.

Natural Hair Relaxers
There are a few hair-relaxing products on the market that use chemicals and are somewhat less harsh than sodium hydroxide (lye) or its popular equivalent in “no-lye” relaxers: calcium hydroxide that has been on the market since 1990. This product is all natural and because it does not contain many of the harsh chemicals of commercial relaxers and actually contains only a finely ground plant called Daphne Gnidium and clay from Africa it is figured to be relatively safe. Of course this product does not straighten hair in most instances the same way as commercial relaxers, however it does tend to make African-American hair more manageable.

There is yet another product on the market that is reported to be 92-96% natural which is called Naturalaxer Kit In A Jar™ that does not require the applicant to comb through the hair during the application, which results in a lot less damage.  One such product is called Natural-Laxer® and Sahara Clay® by Baka ProductsTM . Of course the bottom line is once again, if you can leave your hair in its natural state then you will experience less stress and damage to the hair and thus prevent at least one cause of hair loss.