Getting back to your roots


Portrait Of Teenage Boy SmilingThere are various reasons for hair loss which range from illness and disease to lifestyle and hereditary causes. What many people do not realise is it could be down to how you actually wear your hair. Modern styles often cause a greater pressure on the scalp and hair roots. This is why in certain areas of the world where these styles are more prevalent, hair loss is likely to be more profound.

Extra strain on the scalp

The styles we are discussing here are West African hair styles which have really become high fashion. Styles such as dreadlocks, Corncrows , and plaits have indeed become so fashionable that they have crossed over into the mainstream and imitated by young white people as well. However these styles are most common in their countries of origin.

The problem is all these styles put excessive strain at the roots of the hair and the scalp itself. Founder of the Hair Loss Clinic of Jamaica, Dr Jennifer Mamby Alexander, recently commented on how hair loss in women especially has reached epidemic proportions in Jamaica due to over-processing and styling of the hair.

Styles need to be applied correctly

Dr Mamby Alexander said “It really comes down to poor hair care. Black women are paying the price for beautiful hairstyles. While the latest hairstyles and hair colours may look great, women are subjecting their hair to harsh chemicals, heated styling devices, glued-on extensions, tight weaves and braids done in a salon or at home by friends and family without proper training. These processes, when done too frequently or incorrectly, lead to significant scalp damage and hair loss.”

Wigs can cause issues too

Apparently it is not just the styles that are causing the problems either according to Dr. Mamby. There is a fashion in West African culture to wear wigs. Again where the wig is applied using glue, the fixative causes problems because it prevents hairs growing naturally. Tight wigs can damage the scalp and extensions cause extra strain at the roots.

Knowing how to treat damaged scalps

When damage is caused this is called Traction alopecia. Dr. Mamby said “I have first-hand experience with hair loss as a result of chemotherapy and I believe that as women we should always be comfortable with how we look. I am not saying that women should stop wearing braids, twists, or wigs, but it’s important to wear them the right way. Even with the natural hair movement, proper hair care and protective styling is pivotal to the maintenance of the style and at the first sign of hair damage, treatment should be sought. It is only through proper education about hair care and know-how in treating damaged scalps that this almost silent epidemic of hair loss will be brought under control.”

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