African-American women confront many unique challenges, and hair loss is among them. Although women of all races can and do experience hair loss (and make up approximately 40% of all American hair loss sufferers), a combination of factors has led some experts to refer to hair loss in African-American women as an “epidemic.”
In 2016, a study specifically looking at the nature and extent of hair loss issues in African-American was presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s 74th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The study included a survey of 5,594 African-American women and found that 47.6% of the survey respondents reported hair loss on the crown or top of their head, but 81.4% of those respondents had never seen a doctor about their hair loss issues.
Causes of Hair Loss in African-American Women
The study identified a condition called central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) as the number one cause of hair loss in African-American women. CCCA causes hair follicles to become inflamed and destroyed, leaving behind scarring and permanent hair loss.
In addition to largely genetic conditions like CCCA and androgenetic alopecia, common ways that African-American women treat and style their hair can also contribute to hair loss. Specifically, a condition called traction alopecia was found in the 2016 study to be a major cause of hair loss in women of African descent.
Traction alopecia is a specific type of hair loss that results when tension is applied to hair for a prolonged period. Unfortunately, many of the styles preferred by African-American women involve exactly that kind of tension. Traction alopecia can result from such techniques as:
- Chemical hair relaxers
Signs and Symptoms
The early signs of hair loss can manifest itself in different ways depending on the underlying cause. Androgenetic alopecia hair loss in women tends to happen throughout the scalp, resulting in thinning hair that can be harder to detect than a receding hairline or bald spot on the top of the head. Traction alopecia can result in patches of hair that don’t grow back or decreasing hair volume, which may be seen in a wider part or a thinner ponytail. Early signs of CCCA can include scalp itching and tingling.
Many different treatments can be used to address hair loss in African-American women. Which treatment will be most effective depends on the causes and degree of hair loss in the individual patient. At the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami, we use a comprehensive, holistic approach for evaluating and treating African-American women experiencing hair loss and leverage the very latest scientific advancements in hair loss treatments at our state-of-the-art facility.
Schedule an appointment with the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami today by calling 305.925.0222. We look forward to assisting you.