Whether it’s a long and luxurious weave, protective styles like crotchet braids, locks, or cornrows, Black women take pride in their hair. But it’s these same styles that can sometimes cause the most damage.
According to Dr. Glenn Charles, a surgeon in the top-tier of professional hair transplant doctors in the United States, traction alopecia is a leading cause for hair loss.
Traction alopecia is the non-scarring alopecia due to prolonged tension exerted on the hair. In the past decade, the number of women suffering from hair loss has grown from 10-15 percent to upwards of 30 percent.
“Women are now empowered with the knowledge that there are steps that they can take to address and hopefully reverse the damage,” Dr. Charles says.
See some of his tips outlined below:
Laser Therapy: There are several low level laser therapy (or LLLT) products on the market. These ultra-modern, take-home devices are used for approximately thirty minutes every other day to promote blood flow to the scalp as well as increase cellular regeneration. They are used to strengthen the hair follicle, therefore producing thicker, healthier hair.
The best-case scenario? You start using a laser device when the hair follicle is still alive but laying dormant and wake up some sleeping follicles. Worst case? It adds some life and volume to the dull or lifeless existing hair on your head. We have seen some remarkable results on female patients in our practice.
Supplements: My philosophy in treating hair loss is one of overall health and wellness — the healthier a person is, the healthier their hair is. There are several over-the-counter supplements that can be taken to aid in achieving this.
Biotin: Aka vitamin H, a vitamin of the B complex, is involved in the synthesis of fatty acids and glucose. Biotin helps keep your skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system healthy.
Selenium: A trace element, selenium functions as an antioxidant helping counter the effects of the environment and sun exposure. It also boosts your immune system, helping prevent hair loss.
Zinc: A vital mineral for hair health, zinc deficiency can lead to a deterioration of the protein structure that makes up the hair follicle. Zinc is also believed to play an important role in the DNA and RNA production, leading to healthier hair.
Hair Restoration: While female hair loss caused by traction alopecia can sometimes be reversible with the use of laser therapy and supplements, we also see patients who are better candidates for hair restoration. A simple procedure that is performed under local anesthesia while you watch TV or nap, hair restoration is the only way to bring hair back once the follicle has been permanently damaged with traction or chemicals.
Gone are the days of a noticeable, pluggy look. These days we move individual hair groupings, or follicular units, consisting of one to three hairs from the back of your head to the front, mimicking the way your hair naturally grows. This is all done in a few, short hours and patients report little to no discomfort afterwards. You can wear a head wrap, scarf, or hat immediately afterwards and return to work the very next day.
While the results can take up to a year to be fully visible, the hair we transplant to the hairline is completely natural in appearance and, best of all, permanent.
Post-operatively we coach our patients on the best way to avoid further traction and how to best care for their improved hairline. Be sure to do your homework and due diligence — while the laws vary state by state, make sure you consult with and select a board certified hair restoration surgeon to ensure the best results.
For more on Dr. Glenn Charles, visit his site here.