What should African-American women know about the causes of thinning hair?

What should African-American women know about the causes of thinning hair?
Hair Loss Uncategorized Women's Hair Loss

By:  Leah Fletcher
Syndicated Content provided by The Sun – Philadelphia

The advertisements for the treatment of hair loss usually guarantee longer, thicker hair, but they also offer to return double the money you paid for the product or service, if those results are not achieved.

Most of those advertisements target men for the treatment of balding and hair loss. The conclusion might be that hair loss is an issue generally affecting men only.

However, statics show that as many as two-thirds of all women experience hair loss at some point. And research further indicates that about 30 percent of women will experience some form of hair loss by the age of 50. Research, presented by Dr. Yolanda Lenzy at the American Academy of Dermatology’s annual meeting earlier this year, indicated that almost half of African-American women have experienced hair loss.

Alice Thompson, a 55-year-old nurse, noticed her thinning hair when masses of her hair appeared tangled in her comb. “I wasn’t sure what caused my hair to fall out,” explained Thompson, who consulted her hairstylist for answers. She learned the products she used were too harsh and were damaging her hair.

A hairstylist can be the first line of defense when detecting changes in a person’s hair, according to Dr. Lenzy, who is a board-certified dermatologist, “Someone who looks at your hair and scalp frequently can help you recognize a problem,” she said.

Some of the problems, like Thompson’s may be correctible at the salon level, however, Dr. Lenzy suggests that women who are experiencing unexplained hair loss should visit a board-certified dermatologist, who has the experience to diagnose and treat hair disorders.

The issues most women with thinning hair face may be due to aging, health conditions, medicine, hairstyling options and lifestyle. Whatever the cause, the scope of the problem should not go undiagnosed, said Dr. Lenzy, a clinical associate at the University of Connecticut.

African Americans can manage their hair loss or reduce their risk by avoiding tight hairstyles which put tension on the follicles, like braids, weaves, and limiting the use of chemical relaxers.

“Using these styling practices should be infrequent and for short periods of time, and this is especially true for women experiencing hair loss” opined Dr. Lenzy.

If you are one of the growing number of African-American women investigating ways to correct your thinning hair, there is an array of science-based information on hair loss and possible treatments. Following are some of the causes and facts associated with thinning hair.

Age Matters

Age is a common cause of thinning hair and its loss can be distressing for most women. Opting for different styling methods and hairstyles are effective ways to conceal thinning hair. Proceed with caution when styling your hair. Use correct tools and accessories, gentle cleansers and fewer chemical treatments. If you are thinning around the hairline, choose styles that cover the area. If your crown is the problem spot, consider a short haircut. You might also want to seek the advice of your stylist about using temporary corrective measures like extensions to mask the thinning areas.

Significance of Medication Issues

The hair follicle is extremely sensitive to changes in the body. Any hormone therapy, including birth control, can contribute to hair thinning, as can steroids, specific chemotherapies, and medication for blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and acne. While some medications cause only minimal hair loss, others — combined with the condition you’re taking it for — can lead to serious cases. If you are having severe thinning hair, discuss your prescribed medication with your doctor to determine if there are other medications that would be more helpful.

Health Ins and Outs

Several underlying health issues can cause thinning hair, including a malfunctioning of the hormone-producing thyroid or the natural hormonal changes women experience after pregnancy and during menopause. For instance, some women experience remarkable hair growth during pregnancy, so they are surprised when they begin losing their hair after the baby’s birth. Pregnancy-related hormones generally stop normal, daily hair shedding, but with the absence of the hormones, the hair-shedding rate returns to normal and routine hair growth resumes.

Stress and Trauma Difficulties

Stress can produce increased levels of testosterone, which converts to DHT and interrupts the hair’s growth cycle. Stress also constricts blood supply through the capillaries, restricting oxygen and nutrient and vitamin absorption by the hair follicle. Consider an exercise routine, which is often a great stress-reliever. Consult your doctor before undertaking any exercise regimen and make certain your physical health can sustain any chosen routine.

Fundamentals of Nutrition and Diet

What you east may play a significant role in hair thinning. High consumption of animal fats, rapid weight loss and liquid protein diets can result in a lack of amino acids, biotin, iron, protein and zinc—all of which are essential for healthy-looking hair. Monitoring your dietary habits are not only necessary but necessary to healthy hair. If the thinning is caused by nutritional deficiency, improving your diet and taking supplements will stop the hair shedding.

Aggressive Haircare and Improper Styling Techniques

Chemical hair relaxing, heating to straighten hair and coloring is fine as long as it is not painful. If you experience pain during any of these hair styling procedures, it is a sign that your hair follicles are damaged. This usually leads to thinning hair and more serious hair loss problems. The increased risk of hair loss is caused by frequently engaging in damaging hair styling practices like braiding, weaves and chemical relaxing. The problems are caused by the chronic use of these styling practices. Because Black women tend use them repeatedly, the long-term repeated use can result in hair loss.

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