Keeping Your Crowning Glory: Hair Loss in Women
4/17/2013 12:10:00 PM
We remember when we saw Naomi Campbell's edges right? Obviously years of tight styles and weaves led to the loss of hair at the temples. But she is not alone. For various reasons, women suffer hair loss or even thinning hair. For black women, several factors may play a role to the loss of our crowning glory: our hair.
Forty percent of people who experience temporary or long term hair loss are women.The average scalp has 100,000 hairs and every follicle has a single hair that grows an average of rate of half an inch per month - pending other factors like diet, hair care, genetics, stress, etc. After growing for two to six years, hair rests awhile before falling out and then is replaced with a new hair. So after that, the cycle begins again. Most of the time, 85% of hair is growing and the remainder it's resting. But while your hair is at rest, you may discover the issue of hair loss. BDO writer Brittany Gatson, drops dime on the most common causes of hair loss for black women.
From Black Doctor:
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of the neck. It produces hormones that regulate many processes throughout the body. If the gland makes too much or too little thyroid hormone, the hair growth cycle may falter. But hair loss is rarely the only sign of a thyroid problem. Other symptoms include weight gain or loss, sensitivity to cold or heat, and changes in heart rate.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a chronic hormonal imbalance. The body makes higher levels of androgens than expected. This often causes extra hair to sprout on the face and body, while hair on the scalp grows thinner. PCOS can also lead to ovulation problems, acne, and weight gain. But sometimes thinning hair is the only obvious sign.
Alopecia areata causes hair to fall out in startling patches. The culprit is the body’s own immune system, which mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles. In most cases, the damage is not permanent. The missing patches usually grow back in six months to a year. In rare cases, people may lose all of the hair on their scalp and body.
Some women may notice their hair seems fuller during pregnancy. That’s thanks to high levels of hormones that keep resting hairs from falling out as they normally would. But it doesn’t last forever. After childbirth, when hormone levels return to normal, those strands fall out quickly. This can mean a surprising amount of hair loss at one time. It may take up to two years for hair to return to normal.
A little known side effect of birth control pills is the potential for hair loss. The hormones that suppress ovulation can cause hair to thin in some women, particularly those with a family history of hair loss. Sometimes hair loss begins when you stop taking the pill. Other drugs linked to hair loss include blood thinners and medicines that treat high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, and depression.
It’s no myth: Wearing cornrows or tight ponytails can irritate the scalp and cause hair to fall out. The same is true of using tight rollers. Let your hair down, and it should grow back normally. Be aware that long-term use of these styles can cause scarring of the scalp and permanent hair loss.
And is surgery an option? Dr. Sanusi Umar reached a breakthrough with his uGraft, a scapel-free, natural replacement, using body hair to conduct hair and eyebrow transplants. Check out his site dermhairclinic.com.
It may not be so serious you need surgery but if you are having hair loss, perhaps one of these reasons is key. Talk to your doctor, dermatologist, and yes - your stylist! Revamping how you care for your hair and getting to the root cause of loss may turn things around. Don't despair about your hair; be proactive about getting growth and care on the right track.