Many African American women enjoy the versatility of weaves, extensions, and wigs, but these unique and fun hair options are key factors in the hair loss that affects nearly half of the population of African American women.
Whether you are starting to notice hair loss or want to prevent an all-too-common issue, this article discusses natural solutions for hair loss in African American women, as well as some common reasons for hair thinning and loss.
Getting to the Root of Hair Loss in African American Women
Approximately half of African American women experience hair loss to some extent, and the American Academy of Dermatology (ADD) says that the root of the problem is likely related to the way you style your hair.
While research shows that we can trace hair loss to many factors like stress, hormonal changes, and even genetics, one of the main reasons behind hair loss in African American women is traction alopecia, which occurs with hairstyles that pulls the hair too tight starting at the scalp.
Traction alopecia is more likely with long-term and frequent tight hairstyles that pull at the root of the hair. Keeping and pulling hair tight is a common step in styling African American hair for braids, weaves, and other hairstyles.
Centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) is another leading and main cause of hair loss in African American women. CCCA is the destruction and inflammation of hair follicles, which results in permanent hair loss and even some scarring.
Although every woman’s experience is different with styling, and whether or not she experiences hair loss, using chemical relaxers and high heat can also increase the likelihood of damage and loss.
Naturally, curly hair is most vulnerable to damage, such as breakage, due to the unique structure of each strand of hair. The bends in curly hair make it nearly impossible for a natural protectant from the scalp to make its way through the shaft and to the end of the strand of hair.
Even when a woman notices that her hair is starting to thin or knows that her hairstyle is the culprit to losing hair – weaves, braids, and extensions are a popular choice to cover up the spots where there is no hair growth. So the process can be frustrating and expensive.
The Early Signs of Hair Loss
Before we take a closer look at natural solutions for hair loss, it’s important to discuss some of the early signs. Sometimes your traditional hair routine is a little rough on your hair, making it look thin and damaged. While it doesn’t automatically mean that you are experiencing early signs of losing your hair permanently, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the following:
- You notice excessive thinning or loss around the crown of your head
- Pain or discomfort around the hair follicle
- Bumps around the follicle typically indicate that a style is too tight
- Over time the follicle can scar, and there’s little chance for hair regrowth
- Scalp itching or tingling
A stylist or dermatologist can confirm whether or not you have early signs of hair loss.
Hope is Not Lost on Hair Loss with Natural Solutions
It can be difficult to hear the words “early hair loss,” but there’s no reason to feel embarrassed. Remember, there are millions of women just like you, facing the same hair problems. Since chemicals play a significant role in hair damage, it’s important to consider remedies that contain no harmful chemicals.
Change the Way You Style Your Hair
Simply changing your hairstyle can help protect your hair from traction alopecia and extensive damage. Some women are accustomed to a high-maintenance hair routine, but if you scale back on how often you change your hair, you can improve scalp health and re-grow hair.
If you don’t already have a stylist you can trust, who listens and offers good advice, it’s time to find one. A great stylist can help you find a hairstyle that camouflages thinning hair without causing more damage.
If you prefer braids or dreadlocks, ask your stylist to make them looser. Many stylists recommend removing braids after three months and removing weaves or hair extensions after about eight weeks. While it’s best to avoid chemical treatments and leave the relaxing or hair dying to your stylist. At-home kits may be convenient but can cause more damage.
Heat is often key when styling hair, but it can also cause significant damage. Consider styles that don’t depend on hot irons or hair dryers.
Eat for Your Health and Hair
Years of scientific research links the health of your hair to nutrition. A well-balanced diet benefits your whole body, which includes the hair on your head. Supplements are often helpful, but even just incorporating more foods like spinach and salmon to your weekly diet can do wonders for your hair. Consider a healthy plant-based diet that can detoxify your body from head to toe.
Massage Your Scalp
Many women often overlook the importance of scalp care. Not only does massaging your scalp lower your stress levels and make you feel calm, but it can also help stimulate hair growth. Essential oils like rosemary and peppermint are popular choices when using a scalp massage, and some women swear by the ancient-remedy of using castor oil in the hair to activate growth, thicken hair, and nourish strands.
Using Foods from Your Kitchen
Coconut oil is versatile and is a key ingredient in everything from cooking to skin care. If you plan on using coconut oil during a scalp massage to seal and protect the follicles, it’s best to use the oil a day or a few hours before you plan on washing your hair.
Have an aloe vera plant on your kitchen counter as a quick remedy for burns? Aloe vera is great for damaged skin, like burns, but can also repair damaged hair. Try massaging aloe vera gel into your scalp or use products that contain the healing plant.
Eggs are a common food item found in many households. Most people know that eggs are a simple source of protein but they don’t know that eggs are also a rich source for biotin. Biotin helps thicken hair and stimulate hair growth. Crack an egg, mix with some honey, and massage into your scalp. Leave for 20-30 minutes and rinse for a quick, spa-like scalp repair.
Reduce Your Stress
Nearly every woman deals with stress now and again, but if you suffer from chronic stress, it can affect your health on a more widespread basis, including your hair. Not only does lowering stress improve your blood pressure and heart health, you see improvements in the growth and health of your hair.
Yoga, meditation, essential oils, and even getting a restful sleep at night can reduce stress levels. Assess your stress and find ways to reduce it in your daily life.
Schedule an Appointment with Your Doctor
If you have an annual appointment coming up, don’t forget to mention your thinning hair with your doctor, especially if you’ve tried some of these natural solutions and you haven’t seen improvements.
Since some health issues, such as hormonal or thyroid imbalance, can cause hair loss, your doctor may be able to pinpoint the source of your lack of hair growth. Some medications may affect your normal hair shedding and growth cycle, so always find out the potential side effects before taking a medication.
Use an Activating Serum
Some hair products can do more harm than good to hair, and as an African American woman, it can be difficult to find a product that’s suitable and healthy for your hair type. We evidence-based botanical ingredients in our activating serum to help preserve healthy hair and repair damaged strands.
Not only is our Activating Serum an all-natural hair product with proven technology to improve the health of your hair, but it’s an easy product to incorporate into your hair routine. To use the serum, fill the dropper full of serum and evenly disperse onto your scalp. Gently massage the serum into your scalp and leave your hair as-is or style as normal.
Finding a Solution That Works for You
In some cases, your thinning hair may be a combination of factors from health to hairstyle. It’s important to keep in mind that it may take time to find the exact source of your hair issue. One of the many benefits to choosing natural solutions, such as a healthy diet and using our Activating Serum, is that they are safe and can improve your whole health.