Hair loss may be a common issue that many people of different ethnicities face, but the factors that contribute to the baldness/alopecia can be different depending on the genetic build-up of the race.

Dr Balvant Arora, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with expertise in Hair Restoration, of The Hair Loss Clinic puts a lot of emphasis on the hair loss that happens due to hair structure, types and styles that vary greatly according to different ethnic groups like African Americans, Asians and Hispanics. Even though all human hair has the same basic chemical composition in terms of keratin protein content, their lipid distribution is different for different ethnicities.

The Hair Loss Clinic has analyzed the reasons for Hair Loss for America’s most prominent ethnicity – African Americans.

Hair Loss In African Americans

When we observe the hair of African Americans, the following characteristics can be noticed:

  • There’s less contrast between hair and scalp color, and curly hair covers more of the scalp.
  • It’s coarser, resulting in a raised cuticle layer which readily absorbs, then loses, moisture.
  • It needs oils to seal in moisture, protect the hair and keep it soft and manageable.
  • It’s frequently stressed – thinned – from years of use of strong chemicals to color or straighten, from braids, from weaves and from heat.List Item

The two common types of hair loss in African Americans are CCCA and Traction Alopecia.

CCCA :

Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia is a condition which causes the hair follicles to get destructed which results in scarring and permanent hair loss. The reasons for this type of hair loss are still being speculated and studied. In this condition, the balding begins from the centre of the scalp and moves outwards in a centrifugal manner. This type of hair loss progresses slowly. CCCA is mostly observed in middle-aged black women; however, it can be noticed in men as well.

Traction Alopecia :

Traction Alopecia is a condition which generally is the result of abrasive pulling on the hair due to various styles like tight braiding, cornrows, weaves, chemical relaxing, etc.  If you face difficulty in moving your forehead or experience headaches and scalp soreness, these may be signs that your hair is styled too tightly. 

Basically, these hairstyles are adopted and kept on for long periods of time without giving the natural hair any time to heal or grow. Over time, it causes permanent hair loss. Traction alopecia is noticeable when the hairline starts to recede from the front, temples or at the nape. When detected early on, this condition is reversible and treatable.

Traction alopecia is also noticed in African American men who take on similar hairstyles like weaves and cornrows. Also, the general fragility and texture of the hair also encourage hair loss. Male pattern baldness can be also noticed in black men.

traction-alopecia

Traction Alopecia

Hair loss

CCCA

In both cases, treatment and reversal are possible if the issue is detected early on. It is necessary to visit a hair specialist in case one observes hair loss on a large scale.

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