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Afro-Caribbean Women and Hair Loss

Naomi Campbell Traction Alopecia The Belgravia Centre

Traction Alopecia - Naomi Campbell's scalp is exposed at the sides

According to Dr. Amy McMichael, a dermatologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre, women of Afro-Caribbean descent are particularly prone to hair loss conditions. During her presentation to the American Academy of Dermatology, Dr. McMichael claimed that “there is some sort of innate fragility” in Afro-Caribbean hair.

According to Dr. McMichael this fragility leads to hair breakage and loss, developing into one or more forms of alopecia, or hair loss. So prevalent is the condition in the US that it comes in at number 7 in the top 10 reasons African-American people visit a dermatologist.

Black women are also prone to simple hair breakage, claims Dr. McMichael, caused by the fundamentally different physical structure of each strand, making it much easier to snap.

What causes Alopecia in Afro-Caribbean Women?

McMichael believes many cases of Alopecia in Afro-Caribbean women are caused by tightly braided hair leading to hair loss at the front, temples and back of the scalp. Known as Traction Alopecia, the condition is particularly prevalent in women who style their hair in tight braids or cornrows.

A second form of female hair loss which appears to be relatively common in Afro-Caribbean women is Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA) which causes scarring on the front and crown of the scalp and associated hair loss.  Some experts believe that CCCA can also be related to tension hair styles and the chemicals used for straightening Afro-Caribbean hair, although the evidence is inconclusive. CCCA also appears to have potential links with Type 2 diabetes.

Both Traction Alopecia and CCCA have the potential to cause permanent hair loss if left untreated. Constant pulling on the scalp by a tight hairstyle can damage hair follicles permanently, deforming the edges and preventing future growth.

Treating Alopecia and CCCA in Afro-Caribbean Women

Traction Alopecia 'Before and during' The Belgravia CentreOne of the first steps in treating Traction Alopecia or CCCA is to immediately loosen or remove tight braids or other aggravating factors to release the tension being placed on the scalp. Dr. McMichael advises women to prevent hurting their hair saying: “If your hair is braided so tightly it hurts when you chew, it’s probably too tight.”

The Belgravia Centre has many years’ experience dealing with a number of hair loss conditions including Traction Alopecia and CCCA. Our hair loss experts have successfully treated hundreds of men and women, many of whose stories can be found in our website’s success stories archive.

During an initial free, no obligation consultation our hair loss experts can provide you with an accurate diagnosis of your hair loss condition and then formulate a custom treatment plan to cater for your specific needs. Using a combination of clinically-proven medications, dietary supplements and complementary therapies, you will receive all the help you need to halt hair loss and promote regrowth.

Why not call today on 0800 077 6666 or message us online to book your free, no obligation appointment with one of our experts at our London-based hair loss clinic? Alternatively, you can fill in our online diagnostic form to order a tailored treatment regime which we can post to you anywhere in the world.

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2 Comments

17th February, 2015 at 8:16 pm

yvonne hewitt

I suffer with alopcia my hair is really thin and i have lost my sides threw bonding and weave also i have a bold patch in the middle of my head also i don't have any eyebrows either so i need some advice on what to do so can you help.

18th February, 2015 at 10:55 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Yvonne,

It sounds like there may be more than one hair loss condition at work here. It is likely you have lost hair from Traction Alopecia but your lack of eyebrows and patchy hair loss could also be a sign of Alopecia Totalis, which is like Alopecia Areata but instead of just affecting the hair on the scalp, it also leads to a lack of eyebrows and eyelashes. The best thing to do is to either arrange a free hair loss consultation in person at one of our Central London hair loss clinics by calling 020 7730 6666 or sending us a message; or if you are not based in or near London, please complete our Online Consultation for personalised advice on your condition and how to treat it.

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