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Hair Care is Part of Self-Care

by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | July 5th, 2020

Hair Care is Part of Self-Care

A few years ago we had a series, Suffering In Silence where I discussed Urinary Incontinence, Heavy Menstrual Flow, Vaginal Dryness, and Emotional/Verbal Abuse and Sexual Health. Another topic, I probably should have talked about was Hair Loss. Fifty percent of black women will experience hair loss in their lifetime. Unfortunately, most women will suffer in silence and not seek care until it is too late.

Although there are several causes of hair loss, the most common causes of hair loss in black women are:

  1. Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) – this is hair loss that starts at the crown of the scalp. The exact cause is unknown. It is thought to be due to hot combs, excessive heat and hot oils on the scalp, chemical relaxers, and excessive tension from braids, tight hair rollers, weaves or extension. There might even be hereditary component. CCCA causes destruction of the hair follicles and scarring leading to permanent hair loss.
  2. Traction alopecia – this is hair loss caused by the hair styles listed above. It is caused by inflammation of the follicle when the hair is pulled too tight for too long. Usually the hair loss is more noticeable at the edges of your scalp.
  3. Breakage – this is hair loss due to damage of the hair and not the follicle. The hair shaft becomes weak and breaks off.  The cause of this hair loss is due to excessive heat from flat irons and hot combs or from chemicals used to straighten or color the fragile naturally curly hair.

Not all hair loss is permanent. The key is early diagnosis and treatment. Hair care is part of self- care.

  1. Get to know your hair – go to the mirror and look at your hair. If you feel that your hair is thinning or you have bald spots or it is not what you expect, please seek help. You can schedule an appointment to see a dermatologist, trichologist or your primary care physician. Although I have listed the most common causes of hair loss, you might also have a medical condition that is affecting your hair.
  2. Be mindful of what you are doing to your hair – Is it time to go natural? Can you give your hair a break from the chemicals? Can we give the extensions a break? You should not leave your stylist in pain. Pain is not a normal part of getting your hair done.
  3. Eating a well-balanced diet can help prevent and slow hair loss.
  4. Find ways to minimize stress – Meditation is helpful. Remember to get enough sleep.
  5. Get educated – I chanced upon a book titled – 90 Days to Beautiful Hair by Dr. Crystal Aguh. She is a dermatologist that specializes in hair loss. In her book, she reviews the science behind healthy hair care and gives you 50 dermatologist-approved tips to un’lock’ the hair of your dreams.

THERE IS NO NEED TO SUFFER IN SILENCE.

2 Responses to “Hair Care is Part of Self-Care”

  1. Darnita says:

    Thanks for sharing information on hair loss and the book recommendation. I would recommend tricologist, Jacquline Tarrant in Chicago. She has several videos on Black Doctor. org. “The Epidemic of Hair Loss Amongst Black Women”. We need to talk about it… I allowed it to go on for 5 years…And still working on confirming the root of the problem.

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The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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