Hair Loss In Black Women: Tips From An Expert
Almost half of black women experience some form of hair loss. However, few doctors are familiar with black hairstyling practices, leaving many women to sort through unhelpful or even harmful advice on their own.
Dermatologist Crystal Aguh, one of just a small group of dermatologists across the country specializing in hair loss, offers these tips to help women protect their hair and recognize common warning signs of hair loss.
How Is Alopecia Areata Treated
For many people, hair grows back without any type of treatment.
The main goal of treatment is to stop the immune system attack on hair follicles and to help hair grow back. While there are no drugs that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for alopecia areata, medications that have been approved for other conditions may be used to treat it.
Alopecia areata is treated by:
- Dermatologists, who specialize in conditions of the skin, hair, and nails.
Other specialists who may be involved in your care include:
- Mental health professionals, who can help with the psychosocial challenges caused by having a medical condition.
- Primary care doctors, such as family physicians or internal medicine specialists, who coordinate care between the different health providers and treat other problems as they arise.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- What is the cause of my hair loss?
- How many strands of hair am I losing per day?
- What type of hair loss do I have?
- Will my hair loss be permanent?
- Whats the best treatment for me?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hair loss may cause you distress whether it happens because of genetics, a disease, or even stress. Know that there are some treatments you can try, and expert dermatologists are there to help you. Your hair loss may be able to be reversed. See your healthcare provider as soon as you notice something wrong because the sooner you start treatment, the better.
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What Happens At Your Appointment
Your GP should be able to tell you what’s causing your hair loss by looking at your hair.
Tell your GP if your hair loss is affecting your wellbeing and ask what treatments are available.
Most hair loss doesn’t need treatment and is either:
- temporary and it will grow back
- a normal part of getting older
Hair loss caused by a medical condition usually stops or grows back once you’ve recovered.
There are things you can try if your hair loss is causing you distress.
No treatment is 100% effective.
How Is A Receding Hairline Diagnosed
To understand the type of hair loss youre experiencing and its cause, you should see a dermatologist. Your doctor will ask for your personal and family medical history.
One test your doctor may perform is called a pull test. They will gently pull on a few hairs to see how many fall out, or how easily they fall out.
A biopsy of scalp tissue or hairs may also be helpful to determine if there is a scalp infection causing hair loss. With a biopsy, your doctor removes a small amount of tissue from the affected part of the body. The tissue sample will be tested in a lab for signs of infection or disease.
You may also have a blood test to look for conditions such as thyroid disease that may be contributing to your hair loss.
If your receding hairline is simply an age-related development and not the result of an infection or other medical problem, you wont need treatment. If a medical condition is causing the hair loss, medication may be necessary.
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You Have Female Or Malepattern Baldness
You might already know about malepattern baldness, a type of hair loss caused by a combo of genes and male sex hormones that usually makes the hair on a man’s head recede at the temples, leaving an Mshaped hairline.
But hormone-related hairloss for femalesor femalepattern baldnessis also a thing, according to the US National Institute of Health. This type of hair loss occurs when the hair follicle shrinks so much over time that it doesn’t grow new hair. In women, the symptoms of femalepattern baldness includes a widening of the center hair part, and, sometimes, coarser hair on the face.
The only FDAapproved treatment for female and malepattern hair is minoxidil , but if that doesn’t work, your doctor may prescribe oral medications such as finasteride that can halt hair loss or even cause some to grow surgery to transplant or graft hair is also an option.
Take A Holistic Approach To Hair Wellness
Hair loss is complex, and hair health needs to be supported from a variety of different angles. And while addressing the underlying cause is essential for managing thinning hair and hair loss, there are lots of tools at your disposal for supporting your body’s natural ability to regrow hair and return to hair health.
Here are a few ways to take a holistic approach to hair health.
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Dermatologists Can Distinguish Between Hair Loss And Hair Shedding
If you are concerned by the amount of hair falling out, you dont need to suffer in silence. You can turn to a dermatologist for help. These doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating the skin, hair, and nails. A dermatologist can tell you whether you have hair loss or excessive hair shedding. Some people have both.
A dermatologist also can find the cause or causes and tell you what you can expect. Effective treatments options are available for many types of hair loss. The sooner treatment begins, the better the prognosis.
What Are The Cycles Of Hair Growth
Hair goes through three cycles:
- The anagen phase can last from two years to eight years. This phase generally refers to about 85% to 90% of the hair on your head.
- The catagen phase is the time that hair follicles shrink and takes about two to three weeks.
- The telogen phase takes about two to four months. At the end of this phase, the hair falls out.
Your shorter hairs like eyelashes, arm and leg hair and eyebrows have a short anagen phase about one month. Your scalp hair can last up to six years or even longer.
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Key Points About Temporary Or Abnormal Hair Loss
You Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome is another imbalance in male and female sex hormones. An excess of androgens can lead to ovarian cysts, weight gain, a higher risk of diabetes, changes in your menstrual period, infertility, as well as hair thinning. Because male hormones are overrepresented in PCOS, women may also experience more hair on the face and body.
Treating PCOS can correct the hormone imbalance and help reverse some of these changes. Treatments include diet, exercise, and potentially birth control pills, as well as specific treatment to address infertility or diabetes risk.
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Who Gets Hair Loss
As all our hair follicles are formed during fetal growth, it is inevitable that we will notice hair loss of some kind in later life.
Hair loss occurs in:
- Children and adults
- People with any colour or type of hair.
Hair loss can be an isolated problem or associated with another disease or condition. It can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause.
Treatment For Other Causes Of Hair Loss
If a disease, medicine, or stress is the cause of hair loss, then treating the disease, changing medicines, or managing stress may stop the hair loss. And your hair is likely to grow back. For example, if an underactive thyroid is causing the problem, taking thyroid medicine may help. And most hair lost during chemotherapy will grow back after the treatment ends.
If alopecia areata is the cause of hair loss, medicines such as corticosteroids can be used to treat it. But because hair often grows back within a year, you may decide not to have treatment. Understanding the come-and-go nature of hair loss with this condition can help you make the best treatment decision. Children and teens may need counseling to help them adjust to the hair loss.
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Take Care Of Your Hair
How you treat your hair matters, and you may want to consider:
Avoiding hairstyles that pull on the hair, such as ponytails or tight braids
Avoiding excessive heat or treatments to the hair
While it may be hard, its important to be patient and realize that your hair will grow back but it may take some time.
The Best Hair Growth Vitamins Of 2022 Conclusion
There are so many causes of hair loss and thinning. One of the most significant is stress. Fortunately, there are vitamins and minerals that you can take every morning to promote healthy hair.
A supplement containing keratin, biotin, collagen peptides, hyaluronic acid, all of the alphabetic vitamins, or any sort of combination of the above can help your hair grow back longer and more robust in just a few weeks. Before you make any sort of decision, think about the ingredients in a particular hair care product as well as the price youll be paying for it.
Ask yourself: What is the key to achieving the best results?
You need to maintain consistency with the pills and commit to taking them daily for at least six months. Because youll be using this product regularly, youll want to make sure it doesnt put too much strain on your wallet or cause any long-term side effects that are difficult to treat.
So kindly dont put it off any longer. The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the better your chances of avoiding irreversible damage.
Get started on your path to a fuller head of hair by visiting one of the top hair supplements companies listed above.
The links contained in this product review may result in a small commission if you opt to purchase the product recommended at no additional cost to you. This goes towards supporting our research and editorial team and please know we only recommend high quality products.
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Emotional Stress And Your Hair
When you’re dealing with a life-altering event, like a divorce or break-up, bankruptcy or other financial problems, the loss of a home, or the death of a loved one, significant emotional stress can also disrupt the normal cycle of hair growth. Significant emotional stressors can cause temporary hair loss, but once stress is brought under control, normal hair growth is usually restored.
Can You Measure Hair Loss
Yes. Doctors use the Savin scale. It ranges from normal hair density to a bald crown, which is rare. The scale helps document female pattern baldness, a condition your doctor might call androgenic alopecia. You probably know it as male pattern baldness, but it affects about 30 million American women. Experts think genes and aging play a role, along with the hormonal changes of menopause. Your hair could thin all over, with the greatest loss along the center of the scalp.
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Prevention Of Hair Loss
Here are some ways to prevent or reduce regular hair loss:
- Be careful when combing, brushing and shampooing your childs hair, because pulling too hard on hair shafts can increase regular hair loss.
- Try not to make ponytails or pigtails too tight because this can pull out hairs along your childs front hairline.
- Avoid using hair straighteners or chemicals on your childs hair because this can damage the hairs and irritate the scalp.
Medical And Other Conditions
If hair follicles are uniform in size, or if the hair loss is sudden, it is likely to be caused by something other than heredity, like a medical condition, Rogers says.
There are a wide range of conditions that can bring on hair loss, with some of the most common being pregnancy, thyroid disorders, and anemia. Others include autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome , and skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, Rogers says.
Though there has been a link between menopause and hair loss, Roberts says she doesnât think there is a direct correlation. It could be that menopause and hair loss just occur at the same age.
Other reasons for hair loss include extreme stress physical trauma like surgery or intense illness dramatic weight loss over a short period of time and taking too much Vitamin A, Roberts says. And hair loss can occur a couple of weeks to six months after any of these experiences.
âSomeone can have surgery and be just fine and then two weeks later their hair starts falling out,â Roberts says. âIt can be very scary when it starts falling out in big clumps.â
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Seasonal Hair Loss Explained
Change is happening around us constantly. And just as our environment changes with the seasons, so does our hair. In fact, the two are interconnected in what’s known as seasonal hair loss.
And while losing hair isn’t at the top of anyone’s to-do list, seasonal hair loss is normal and not something to get too fussed about. Read on to uncover more on seasonal hair loss plus, info on the best products to combat thinning hair.
Youre Noticing Random Bald Spots
As we mentioned above, male pattern baldness can cause a bald patch to develop around the top of the head — an area thats often referred to as your crown.
In addition to male pattern baldness, other forms of hair loss may cause you to develop patchy areas or random bald spots on your scalp.
In addition to bald spots, this type of hair loss could also cause you to shed hair in a band-like pattern that straps around certain parts of your scalp. It can also affect your facial hair growth, resulting in small patches of missing hair in your beard area.
Other forms of hair loss, such as telogen effluvium, can occur after traumatic events or during periods of severe stress.
The good news, however, is that these forms of hair loss are usually temporary, meaning your hair should eventually grow back and fill in any bald spots or patchy areas.
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