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African Canadian Women and hair loss: Causes, Remedies and Prevention

Stephanie Knowles: Trichologist and Hair Replacement Specialist
Stephanie Knowles: Trichologist and Hair Replacement Specialist

In the past year we are seeing more and more African Canadian women coming through our center complaining about their thinning hair and hair breakage around their hairline.  Even though they understand why this is happening, many do not know what to do to correct the problem.

As a Trichologist, I am so happy they are starting to ask these questions.  Once we understand early on why hair loss occurs (i.e. because of genetic and/ or medical background, or specific scalp ailments) we work on improving the condition. It’s important we address the issues BEFORE the start of a new chemical process or hair style.

Let’s start with the cause:  For the thousands of African Canadian women experiencing hair loss it may be due to one of two factors:  1) uncontrollable factors such as age, heredity, hormonal changes, and medical reasons or 2) controllable factors such as improper use of products that chemically alter the natural hair texture: i.e. excessive hot-pressing; curling and blow drying already very weak and fragile hair; gluing hair in during the weave process, applying new relaxers over previously altered hair causing breakage; chemical or heat burns to the scalp; over layering permanent colour with other chemical hair treatments without giving time between services, causing Traction Alopecia. Whew!!!  Do you see where I am going with this??

Traction Alopecia affects many African Canadian Women.  Continuous pulling of the hair that occurs from tight cornrows, braids, weaves, ponytails and curlers is often the culprit.  After your service, if you have difficulty moving your forehead or experience headaches, these may be signs that your hair is styled too tightly and your hair follicles are not going to be happy campers.  Over time, bald spots may develop along the hair line and above the ear and the hairline gradually recedes significantly.  If the problem is not treated early and this type of styling keeps on occurring, a permanent condition called scarring alopecia may result.  This means that hair is not able to grow through the scar tissue.

The Remedy

If you are experiencing hair loss, don’t panic.  Since treatment depends on the correct diagnosis, it is important to get to the root of the problem early by seeing a family doctor for a thorough examination, eliminating certain health issues.  Your family doctor may then refer you to a dermatologist.

 Your next visit should be to a hair loss clinic to visit with a Trichologist whose expertise is in scalp and hair health.  They will do a thorough examine by going through a detailed consultation form, discuss family history, ask general health questions, assess your present scalp and hair condition; and perform a scalp and hair analysis  with a Capillary scope to better identify any scalp ailments, as well as the cause of the hair loss.

Diagnosis may not seem like a treatment at first glance, but in many respects it is the most important first step to address hair loss.  A sound diagnosis will tell you and the hair technician working with you, exactly what type of hair loss you are suffering from.  Once you know the nature of, and reasons for your hair loss, treatments can be targeted accordingly.

I will end my rambling by saying…..if you are serious about getting your hair into prime condition, please stay away from drugstore products that contain harsh detergents and sulfates AND do not colour your own hair!!  Wash your scalp and hair (if possible) twice a week, if not at least once a week.

It is also important to note that your hair and scalp must be treated differently. The hair may need much more hydration and conditioning where our scalp needs to have sebum, scales and build-up removed in order for the hair to grow in strong and full.

 At Capilia by Truly You we want to give you the tools to properly cleanse your scalp and hydrate your hair.  We have put together a wonderful scalp therapy program just for you.  Our staff is looking forward to working in strengthening your hair by providing good scalp health. For more information about styling and treatment for your type of hair call us at 905-821-1092 or visit  https://www.trulyyou.ca/index.asp

Luxurious, Plant-Based Formulas. Natural Scalp and Hair Repair Without additives
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