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A recent study confirms why many of us have hair loss and breakage and don’t do much about it.

New data presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s 74th Annual Meeting in Washington suggests that how we style our crown and glory can usher in hair loss, especially central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA), which often goes undiagnosed in Black women, HealthDay News reported

Teaming up with the Black Women’s Health StudyDr. Yolanda Lenzy, a clinical associate professor at the University of Connecticut, surveyed nearly 5,600 black women about their experiences with hair loss. They found that 48 percent of the women experienced hair loss on the top of the head, the crown area. 

But what’s going on?

Black women are more likely to experience hair loss than our white female counterparts and while Lenzy and other experts believe that genetics may play a role in that, styling and overmanipulation of our hair such as “braiding, weaves and chemical relaxing” play a huge role as well.

“When hair loss is caused by styling practices, the problem is usually chronic use. Women who use these styling practices tend to use them repeatedly, and long-term repeated use can result in hair loss,”

But they also found that while hair loss is not new or rare for us, a whopping 81 percent of Black women don’t get medical assistance for it. In addition, for the 41 percent of women suffering from what appeared to be CCCA, a disorder where inflammation destroys the hair follicles causes scarring and permanent hair loss, only 9 percent had actually been given a diagnosis. 

And for Lenzy, this isn’t acceptable.

First, we have to know the signs, apart from widening parts, bald spots that don’t grow back and receding hairlines. She says early signs of CCCA include tingling and itching, which many women brush off as dandruff or dry scalp. So basically, if you see something, you need to say something. That and talk to your hair dresser who can help confirm any changes, Lenzy stresses.

She hopes her study will remind more Black women that hair loss doesn’t have to be their norm and that they can seek help. “Women who are dealing with hair loss should consider changing their styling practices, and visit a board-certified dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment. Some people may only associate dermatologists with skin issues, but we’re also experts in hair disorders, and we can provide the help you need,” she says. 

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