Black Woman Alopecia: All You Need To Know About This Hair Disease
What is Alopecia?
Alopecia is a catch-all term for any condition that is associated with hair loss.
Anyone from any race can develop Alopecia, but hair loss is common in black women. According to Dermatologist Crystal Aguh, who specializes in hair loss, nearly 50% of black women experience some form of hair loss. Celebrities are not exempt either Jada Pinkett Smith and Representative Ayanna Pressley recently went public with her challenging hair loss battle.
Being aware of this statistic and how common this disease is, we as black women should become adequately informed about the condition, it’s different types, treatments, and more. We will go over everything you need to know in this article.
Types of Alopecia
There are several types of Alopecia. Let’s briefly dive into each of them below.
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the hair follicles. The condition is characterized by spot baldness on one or more areas of the body. In most cases, the hair will fall out in relatively small patches that are no larger than a quarter. If a person is going to have this disease, it’s likely to happen before the age of 30.
The condition can cause any number of bald patches to occur, but sufferers of the condition usually report only a few bald patches. This is not to say that Alopecia Areata cannot lead to Alopecia Totalis, where every strand of hair on the scalp falls out. In addition, Alopecia Areata can cause Alopecia Universalis, where all of the hair on the body falls out.
Causes of Alopecia Areata
This type of hair loss is often brought on by extreme stress and does not discriminate based on age or gender. Often, there is no obvious reason why a person has developed alopecia Areata.
Traction Alopecia is hair loss brought on by outside influences. It occurs when a pulling force is repeatedly applied to the hair. Sufferers of traction alopecia will often have thinning hair along their hairline. There could also be hair loss on any part of the scalp, where the hair was pulling too tight.
Causes of Traction Alopecia
As touched on a bit earlier, traction Alopecia is caused by tension placed on your hair strands.
You might develop this hair condition if you do the following things often:
Pull your hair back into a ponytail or bun.
Wear weave in your hair.
Sleep with hair tools like rollers or Flexi rods in your hair.
The following video shows the journey of Josiphia Rizado on how to regrowth her edge back from traction alopecia. Using the right treatment, your hair can grow back again strong and healthy.
Androgenic Alopecia (AA) is the proper term for male or female pattern baldness. This form of hair condition looks different in men and women. In men, hair begins to fall out around the temples and then continues to fall out until the hairline resembles an “M”. In women, hair loss from androgenic Alopecia manifests in thinning all over the head. A receding hairline is not common in women like it is in men.
In women, hair loss from androgenic Alopecia usually begins between the ages of 12 and 40.
The Three Types of Androgenic Alopecia
Type I- Type I androgenic alopecia is characterized by thinning hair around your part.
Type II- Type II is a widening hair loss around your part. There’s also additional thinning around it.
Type III- When one has type III androgenic alopecia, there will be thinning throughout the entire scalp with balding around your part.
Causes of Androgenic Alopecia
According to Science Direct, Androgenic Alopecia is caused by androgens in genetically susceptible women. Women can inherit the gene that causes this hair loss from either one side or both sides of the family. This means that it’s hereditary.
The leading causes of this condition are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, the “androgens” that give the hair disease its name.
The risk of developing this type of hair condition increases with age.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley Reveals Beautiful Bald Head and Talks Hair Loss for the First Time
In a video released in January 2020, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley spoke about the trials of having alopecia, a condition that leads to hair loss.
Other Types of Alopecia
1. Anagen effluvium alopecia caused by chemo, radiation, or poisoning.
2. Alopecia mucinosa and alopecia neoplastica caused by cancer.
3. Tinea capitis caused by an infection
There are several things that we can do to reduce our chances of developing some types of hair loss.
Wear Relaxed Hairstyles
We black women love our unique, intricate hairstyles. However, since traction Alopecia is caused by mechanical stress on the hair and scalp over time, wearing loose hairstyles is ideal for the prevention of the condition. This means avoiding consistent weaves and tight braids. Instead, opt for a wash n go or twist out.
If you prefer weaves or braids, that’s okay. Just make sure that your stylist doesn’t pull your hair tight. Also, give your hair and scalp a break between protective styles. These actions will help prevent the disease.
Use of chemical relaxers, perms, hair color, and any other chemical treatments should be minimized or avoided entirely if you are trying to prevent the disease.
Keep Stress Under Control
Too much stress can be damaging to your entire body. It can lead to hair loss. So, if you find yourself stressed, use stress management techniques like deep breathing, yoga, or consult a medical professional for help.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A nutritional deficiency can cause some types of hair loss, so eating a well-balanced diet can help to ensure that you don’t experience hair loss.
Styling Restrictions. While the condition associated with the hair loss appears to be severe, if you stop wearing the styles that are causing the tension, there’s a chance that your hair will grow back.
Nutritional Intervention. For hair loss associated with a nutritional deficiency, dietary changes, or a nutritional supplement may be recommended by a medical professional.
The vitamins that you try for hair loss treatment are:
Vitamin A helps skin glands to generate more sebum and moisturizes the scalp and helps keep your hair healthy.
The deficiency of Biotin the body can cause hair loss. You can get your B-vitamins from whole grains, nuts, and fish.
Vitamin C generates collagen which is an essential protein for the hair structure and prevents hair from aging. What to eat? You can get your vitamin C from fruits like orange, citrus, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, mango, papaya, pineapple or berries.
Vitamin D may help create new hair follicles. Foods that are a good source of vitamin D include tuna, mackerel, salmon and dairy products.
Rogaine (monoxidil) is a popular and effective treatment for hair loss that both men and women can use. It’s a liquid or foam treatment that is rubbed into the scalp daily. It takes around 6 months to see results with this medication. Oral contraceptives and/or spironolactone may also be prescribed.
Hair transplant surgery is an expensive option for moderate to severe hair loss. During this surgery, hair is removed from one part of the head and transplanted into the bald parts of your head.
See a Doctor
When it comes to hair diseases, don’t self-diagnose yourself. For best results, contact a dermatologist for any concerns about your hair condition.