Outspoken young American actress Amandla Stenberg has racked up millions of YouTube hits with her thoughts on everything from the way that elements of black culture have been appropriated by the mainstream to trying to live on less than $1.50 a day. Most recently, The Hunger Games star has been back in the public eye because of a cover feature in Teen Vogue in which she discusses her hair.
Hair loss is a common talking point, particularly in black hair salons, around the world because so many styles that have been adopted are damaging to the hair. These include everything from chemical straighteners to cornrows, and Ms Stenberg, who is now often seen wearing natural hair, has been through many of them.
Felt natural hair was “too poofy”
Interviewed by Beyoncé’s sister Solange Knowles for the article, Ms Stenberg says that when she used to chemically straighten her hair, she did it because she wasn’t comfortable with her natural hair. “I thought it was too poofy, too kinky,” she says. “When I started wearing it natural,” she continues, “it felt like I was blossoming because I was letting go of all the dead hair and all the parts of me that had rejected my natural state.”
Hair loss experts agree that black hair worn in a natural style is the best way to ensure it remains healthy. A common complaint with afro hair is Traction Alopecia, which occurs when braids or cornrows are worn too tight and cause stress to the scalp.
The tension these styles place on hair follicles can lead to severe hair loss, especially around the hairline. The best solution in cases of Traction Alopecia is to immediately change the hair-style, and there are also bespoke hair loss treatments, most notably high strength minoxidil, that can help speed up recovery.
Even more dramatic in some cases is hair loss caused by powerful chemicals designed to relax black hair’s natural texture so that it can be straightened. In extreme cases chemical relaxers can lead to severe reactions on the scalp which can lead to permanent baldness, though more common is hair breakage, as seen when hair literally snaps off along the shaft. Afro hair already tends to be drier and more liable to breakage than other hair types because of its composition so chemical relaxers, especially when applied at home or by an inexperienced stylist, can worsen things enormously.
Due to their varying textures and characteristics, each hair type tends to have its own specific quirks and requirements. This is something Belgravia’s hair loss specialist nurses take into account when tailoring personalised treatment courses for each client, whether they are being treated for Traction Alopecia or other hair loss conditions.
For afro hair, this includes pairing both the best-suited minoxidil products to the client’s hair, medical and lifestyle needs with beneficial hair growth boosters and professionally formulated afro hair-specific shampoos and conditioning treatments to help add back moisture and vitality. Many Belgravia clients have enjoyed significant regrowth results from following treatment plans based on these principles and you can see many of them in our Traction Alopecia Treatment Success Stories gallery.
One such client, a woman in her 20s, said that she was so pleased with her treatment for hair lost to Traction Alopecia that she was now able to go out without her wig. Another in her 40s who also had Traction Alopecia said she’d had “the most effective treatment I’ve ever used” and said that she can now proudly wear her afro “and even get compliments.”
While Belgravia’s specialists understand that fashions, trends, peer pressure and other factors all influence hairstyles, in people of all races and hair types, it is safe to say that their advice to everyone is universal: go natural if you want to minimise the risk of thinning.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.