Afro hair is a knotty issue 11.05.2001




Hairstyling practices of afro-American women under scrutiny in causing loss problems

Unravelling curls, the cosmetics misuses, plaiting, braiding and weaving the hair and ponytails cause traction alopecia (hair loss) in most women of Afro-American origin. While this hair loss may be diagnosed and treated early, if repeated, such practices cause irreversible scarring alopecia. The manifestations of this form of alopecia are hair loss and inflammation (hyper-pigmentation, erythema, swelling) on areas of the concerned scalp regions.

One solution is to change hairstyling habits

To quote Victoria Holloway, M.D., MPH., director of the L'Oréal Institute for Ethnic Hair and Skin Research, speaking at the recent Chicago symposium : "we chose to highlight this study in an effort to call attention to scarring alopecia, provide insight into hair care practices that may be deleterious and, ultimately, improve healthcare for Black people". The lecturer Norman W. Walton, dermatologist at Birmingham (US), advocates early diagnosis and a change in hairstyling habits from early childhood and especially advises avoiding plaits which are often too tight and subjecting the air to tensile stresses. These recommendations could halt the worrying spread of scarring alopecia.

Reducing inflammation and promoting hair regrowth

According to Fran E. Cook-Bolden of the Skin of Color Center at the St Luke Roosevelt Hospital, a skin application and/or intra-lesional injection of corticosteroides, in combination with two products used for their hair regrowth properties, could offer a new therapeutic approach. The anti-inflammatory properties of corticosterioides are reported to treat inflammation in individuals who suffer from scarring alopecia.

This form of alopecia is not only a health issue. It also causes low self-esteem and social acceptance. The L'Oréal Institute for Ethnic Hair and Skin Research seeks to prevent this type of affection.






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