The perils of over-styling have once again been in the news following a disastrous episode in the US in which a young American vlogger found clumps of her hair falling out.
21-year-old Hannah Forcier is a popular YouTube star with 100,000 followers based in Los Angeles, who made the mistake of adding a powerful chemical relaxer product to her already bleached blonde hair. The tragic irony of her resultant hair loss is that she was hoping the product would save her from having to inflict further damage from heat styling tools such as hair straighteners.
Hair relaxers can be punishing
What Hannah failed to do was read the label which stated that the product should not be used on bleached hair. This is because chemical relaxers can be famously punishing both the strands and the scalp – and when coupled with already-weakened hair that has suffered damage from bleaching the results can be disastrous.
For Hannah, the effects of her styling blunder were felt almost immediately when she got in the shower after applying the relaxer cream. Talking about the traumatic episode on her YouTube channel, she explains that her hair started to feel “really clumpy” as she was washing the product out. “And it started falling out,” she said. “I could feel my hair coming out and going down my back and you could hear it splashing in the water. It just started coming out in patches.”
She continues: “The more I tried to wash the product out to make sure it was gone, the more I felt like it [the hair] was coming out. I didn’t realise how bad it was until I got out of the shower and I already knew it was really bad because I could see that the water wasn’t going down the drain any more.”
The clogged shower tray was the result of large clumps of Hannah’s hair – particularly from the sides – having fallen out. When she approached her local salon to see if they could add hair extensions to hide the damage, she was told that her hair was not salvageable. The best course of action, it was decided, was to shave off the rest of her hair so it would match the shortest parts.
In her video, which has now been watched almost five million times, Hannah sums up her experience of the unnamed product: “I guess I just didn’t know how damaged my hair was until I used it,” she says. Continues below…
Breaking off mid-shaft
Losing hair to chemical trauma like this is far from uncommon, and while not a hair loss condition as such, it can be equally as distressing when damage is so extreme. In fact, in cases where the chemicals also burn the scalp this can, if the damage significantly effects the follicles, cause permanent baldness from scarring hairloss, also known as cicatricial alopecia.
What seems to have happened in Hannah’s case is that her bleach-damaged hair was pushed to the point of no return by the additional chemicals contained within the relaxer, causing countless hairs to break off mid-shaft – something that is known as hair breakage. She has certainly done the right thing by cutting it short in order to chop off the frazzled ends and start to restore her hair’s health. Former One Direction singer Zayn Malik recently admitted to doing the same after frequent over-bleaching damaged his famous thick, black hair, whilst Wolf of Wall Street and Suicide Squad actor Margot Robbie is one of many who has discussed the negative impact repeatedly colouring and styling their hair for film roles has.
By carefully selecting some deep conditioning, strengthening treatments that will not irritate her scalp and, perhaps, starting to take hair growth supplements such as Belgravia’s premium, one-a-day Hair Vitalics for Women, she can further aid her hair’s recovery.
Video footage seems to show Hannah is experiencing thinning hair at her temples which may be a sign of the genetic condition female pattern hair loss or, if she regularly wears tight hairstyles or hair extensions, traction alopecia is also possible – but a full consultation with a specialist would be needed to provide a confirmed diagnosis. Indeed, if her hair does not start to regrow normally within three months or so, then a visit to a specialist would enable Hannah to receive a professional diagnosis and be advised upon a custom hair loss treatment programme that would help promote healthy regrowth, if necessary. This would also be advisable if the returning hair appeared to be thinner than before.
One positive from Hannah’s experience – aside from the fact that her short crop really suits her, as can be seen on her Instagram: @hannahforcier – is that she has recently updated her video channel with a posting about all she has learned about how to make hair grow as healthily and quickly as possible. “Number one,” she says, “is to stop messing with your hair! No more chemicals, no more bleaching, no straighteners. Stop doing that to your hair.”
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.