With International Women’s Day encouraging wide-spread attention on women’s issues all over the world on Saturday, we wanted to recap on a well-known problem for women with Afro & Caribbean hair: traction alopecia. Whilst thousands of websites and blogs continue to discuss the issue and agree that heavy braiding is generally to blame, we’re also going to look into other lesser known hair loss issues causing women daily distress.
What is traction alopecia?
Permanently damaged hair growth from years of braiding or certain kinds of braiding is called ‘traction alopecia.’ Over time, the constant weight of braids or tightly pulled or brushed back hair causes trauma to the hair follicles, which eventually die and cease to produce new hair growth creating a bald appearance. This condition may also be known as ‘trauma alopecia.’
What’s the solution?
According to many African and Caribbean hair tips and blogs currently on the web, the main suggestions for traction alopecia are often to treat the scalp with a variety of hair-growth stimulating products and to avoid further damage through improved weave after-care. A number of traction hair loss sufferers have opted for hair restoration surgery but fewer people know about the benefits or are perhaps put off by the idea of a ‘procedure.’
In our experience
Surgery is perhaps the least considered option by our African & Caribbean clients initially however hair transplant surgery can yield fantastic long-term results and can radically change the appearance of hair loss due to braiding such as lost a frontal hairline. The procedures are also more discreet than ever and recovery times faster.
What other issues can cause hair loss in women?
Stress – Unfortunately the common fear of hair falling out due to stress is very real for many women. While often only a temporary condition following a high-tension period, ‘telogen effluvium’ involves progressive thinning of the hair or bald patches arising over the period. Fortunately hair loss from stress is often only temporary as long as the stress is addressed.
Medical issues in women – There can be underlying medical conditions or physical issues causing the hair loss such as:
- Thyroid problems
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (POS)
- Chronic illness
- Hormonal changes
With these conditions, determining the origin of the hair loss problem first is advised and addressing those issues before expecting long-term results with either hair-care products or surgery.
Trichotillomania – ‘Tearing your hair out’ as so many of us casually call it is actually an increasingly common medical condition called trichotillomania and involves a compulsive pulling-out of your own hair in a sub-conscious and repetitive manner. This condition can affect anybody with hair to pull and subsequently affects women everywhere, in a variety of environments, stressful or not. We‘ll be looking more at this issue in our forth-coming blogs and investigating ways you can both address and reverse the nervous issue, while replacing lost hair to fuller effect.
BBC 3’s ‘Hair’ – Update!
As promised we’re recapping on BBC 3’s competitive hair-styling show ‘Hair.’ Last week saw hats made of hair, which as you can imagine from our experienced professional hair restoration view-point still feels a little like a half-measure and not a comfortable one at that, given the results on the show! We also saw braiding approached with a few different angles, some successful, some not. It’s a good thing none of the show’s models have traction alopecia to try to manage…
At The Wimpole Clinic we have had a number of clients come to see us with black hair loss issues due to braiding and in our free, no-obligation consultation we give definitive advice, a clear diagnosis and will provide information on all your hair replacement options. If we can help you with traction alopecia, get in touch with us here to arrange a consultation