September is Alopecia Awareness Month

woman with alopeciaDid you know that black women make up almost 40% of the 80 million people in the United States who have experienced Alopecia at some point? September is Alopecia Awareness Month, so today we’re going to share some information on this disease that causes hair loss in varying degrees.

What is Alopecia?

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease that results in hair loss and for which there is no cure, although there are several treatments available. The disease often begins with small bald spots appearing on the scalp, and can progress to complete baldness or even total hair loss over the entire body.

But Alopecia Areata is not the only form of alopecia. Traction Alopecia is another common problem that arises not from an autoimmune disorder, but from stress and trauma to hair follicles.

Causes of traction alopecia

While people with Alopecia areata often have no idea what brought about their hair loss, Traction alopecia can usually be traced to one of these causes.

  • Braids/cornrows that are too tight– If too much tension is put on the hair in a braid or cornrow style, it can damage the hair follicle, causing short term or even permanent balding. Usually the balding occurs adjacent to the braided area. It’s important to work with a stylist who has the knowledge and training to securely braid your hair without pulling it so tightly that it traumatizes your hair follicles. 
  • Improperly installed, poorly maintained, or excessively worn weaves- People usually have weaves installed to gain length and/or volume, but it’s important to remember that all that extra hair on your head can be heavy! Wearing heavy weaves for years with no breaks can cause Traction Alopecia, as seen in the case of supermodel Naomi Campbell. Working with a stylist you trust can prevent this, because they will be able to advise you on the type of weave and installation method that will be best for you, how often you will need to come in and have it tightened, as well as ways to transition your look when you need to take a break from weave.
  • Overprocessing the hair– Hair can also be damaged by chemical over-processing, as bleached blonde actress January Jones experienced, noting that her hair was “falling out in clumps.” Bleaching, dyeing, and relaxing can all put stress on your hair, especially if attempted by someone lacking the training to perform them safely. Our experienced and highly-trained stylists know how to help you get the hairstyle you want without sacrificing hair health in the process.

So many cases of Traction Alopecia could be prevented with proper hair care and guidance by a skilled stylist, so don’t put your hair in the hands of someone you don’t trust! Give us a call today to make your appointment at our Marietta black hair salon.

Photo by Carolyn Speranza via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

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