Thinning Black Hair, What To Do When Your Afro Hair Starts Breaking Off
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It’s normal to lose hair every day – between 50 and 100 strands fall out every 24 hours. As for when you wash? Expect to lose up to 250 strands. (Although don’t stop washing to prevent hair loss – the hair will fall out anyway!)
Its likely you’ll know when your hair loss is abnormal. Maybe you’re finding a lot of strands left on your pillow or in your sleep cap. Maybe more than usual is coming out when you comb. Or maybe you can see your hair loss when you look in the mirror.
Whatever the case is, thinning hair can be very alarming, for a number of reasons. You might worry if you have an underlying illness. Will you become completely bald? Don’t worry. Read through this article, and we’ll guide you through what you need to do next.
Why Does Hair Thinning Happen In Black People?
Thinning hair is a common problem in black women, but for a various number of reasons. One of the most common reasons is hair styling. This type of hair loss or thinning is known as traction alopecia.
Traction alopecia happens when the hair is pulled very tightly away from the scalp. This can cause the ‘bulbs’ at the top of the hair to pop out, and that hair strand is lost. So a particularly tight cornrow can be a hair loss disaster waiting to happen. Weaves, especially heavy, long ones can be even worse. This is because of the weight they put on the cornrows underneath, literally pulling out your hairs, one by one.
When you take out braids or a weave, you should expect to lose more hair than normal, because of the daily shedding that hasn’t been able to happen while the hair’s been braided together. However, if clumps are falling out, that’s more likely to be traction alopecia.
Dyes, blow dryers, heat styling and chemical treatments can also cause hair thinning. This is why most hairdressers strongly advise against having relaxed hair bleached, for example.
Does Thinning Hair Only Happen To African Americans?
Nope, absolutely not! The hair thinning cross is one all races have to bear, whether we like it or not. Though traction alopecia is more common in African Americans, because we’re more likely to wear tightly braided styles, hair thinning and loss can happen for many other reasons, too. One of these is androgenetic alopecia.
What Is Androgenetic Alopecia?
Around 30 million American women of all races are affected by androgenetic alopecia, the America Academy of Dermatology tell us. It usually happens around the ages of 50 and 70, but it can affect women of any age, even young teenagers. It’s also known as ‘female pattern hair loss’.
In androgenetic alopecia, hair is shed as normal. However the new hair that grows is thinner and finer. Each time the hair grows back, it is smaller – the hair follicle is slowly shrinking. Eventually, no hair will grow.
What Are Other Reasons For Thinning Hair In Black Women?
There are plenty of other causes that can lead hair to thin out. For example, you must have heard someone say, “I’m so stressed my hair is falling out.” Well, that’s not just an expression. Stress can cause hair thinning and hair loss. It takes its toll on the whole body, and your hair follicles are no exception.
You can also lose hair because of medication. Hair thinning can be a side effect of some types of medications. Make sure to read the packet of any medication you’re on to check if that’s mentioned.
If you’ve noticed hair falling out and your scalp is sore and itchy, and dropping flakes into your hair, then it’s possible you have a scalp infection. This could be a fungal or bacterial infection, but in either case, it can lead to hair loss if untreated.
Other reasons for hair thinning include poor nutrition, anemia, intense illness, surgery, too much Vitamin A, or dramatic weight loss.