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.
Should You See A Doctor If Your Crown Or Edges Start Thinning And Breaking Off?
We’d recommend you see a hairdresser first. Go to a salon, or invite an experienced stylist to your home. Let them see your hair, and let them know how you’ve been styling it, and when you began to notice the hair loss. It might be a very obvious case of traction alopecia. That will help you to be clear that the way you style your hair has to change.
Next, go see your general practitioner. He or she will be able to look into your medical history and see if there are any clues for the hair loss there. They’ll also check up on your medications, to see if hair loss is a side effect. They may choose to run tests, to find out what’s at the root of the problem.
Depending on what they find, they are likely to recommend you go see another professional, and make a referral.
Who Treats Thinning Black Hair?
Your doctor may make a referral to another professional. If not, and you’re not satisfied, you can go direct to a number of different professionals, to find out their opinions on your hair loss and the causes behind it.
For example, you might choose to see a trichologist first. Though a trichologist isn’t a doctor and can’t provide medication, they are experts when it comes to the scalp and hair follicles. They will find out about your lifestyle, and can recommend diet, exercise and lifestyle changes to help reverse the effects of your hair thinning. They may also recommend natural remedies.
You may also choose to see a dermatologist. They are experts on the skin, so if you have a scalp infection of any kind, they’ll get to the bottom of it. They also understand a lot about hair, and can identify weaknesses in your hair that may be contributing to the hair loss. Some dermatologists specialize in hair loss and thinning. You’d be advised to seek one of these out, as they’re experts and can prescribe medication and treatment options to help your hair grow back.
An endocrinologist is another professional you may want to go visit. They are hormone experts and can diagnose any hormonal imbalances that could be causing your hair thinning. Many people find their hair thins because of the overproduction of the DHT hormone (dihydrotestosterone). An endocrinologist can help to recognize and treat this.
You may also want to see a nutritionist. Sometimes hair loss is caused by having insufficient nutrients in our bodies. A nutritionist will work to understand your diet to find out if you’re missing any key minerals and vitamins. They can let you know if you need to be taking supplements or eating different kinds of food, in order to see your hair grow back.
Working together with these professionals, you’re sure to discover the causes behind your hair thinning, and have a plan to be able to get it to grow back.
How To Thicken And Grow Afro Hair
Alongside seeing professionals and taking their advice, there are things you can do at home or in the salon to help. These include:
- Avoiding braids and other styles that put tension on the hair
- Massaging the area of hair thinning in order to stimulate the blood flow to the area
- Using conditioning and hot oil treatments to nourish the hair and scalp
- Taking a daily multivitamin
The Best Hairstyles For Thinning Natural Or Relaxed Hair
Many hairstylists advise getting a shorter cut if you have thinning hair. You could go for a very short cut like Lupita Nyong’o, for example. If you have relaxed hair, a blunt short bob can make hair look much thicker than it is. If you decide to keep your hair a bit longer, experimenting with your part placement can help give the impression of volume.
If you feel like having long hair, we’d recommend wigs over weaves. Weaves can cause pressure on the hair, whereas wigs don’t. Wrap your hair and secure it under a wig cap, ideally a satin one. Then use a lace or regular wig to switch up your style while protecting your hair underneath.
The Best Products For Thinning African American Hair (Based On Our Research)
We’ve scoured the internet for products that may be able to help with thinning African American hair. Remember, we’d advise you go see a physician to find out what treatment types are available to you, but if you feel like trying any of the products below that we chose based on our online research, please let us know how you get on.
Hairfinity Hair Vitamins
These supplements give you all the vitamins and minerals you need for optimum health. This will make your body healthy, which provides the ideal environment for amazing hair growth. Hairfinity Hair Vitamins also include B-vitamin complexes, which are ideal to create faster hair growth.
Jane Carter Scalp Renew
This scalp treatment is designed to thicken hair at the roots. It’s all-natural, so you don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals. It works by exfoliating and cleansing the scalp, to create a base for healthy hair growth. The addition of tea tree, peppermint and sweet orange make it smell amazing, and give you a deep cleaning effect.
The Roots Naturelle Virgin Hair Fertilizer
This is a conditioning treatment especially created for thinning Afro hair. You can apply it and leave it on as long as you like – some people go with 5 minutes, others with 5 hours! Reviewers rave about how soft and manageable it leaves their hair, and many people have said they feel their hair is growing faster as a result.
Thinning Black Women’s Hair, What To Do When Your Afro Hair Starts Breaking Off Conclusion
It can feel horrible when your hair’s thinning, but hopefully you’ve learned from this article that it doesn’t have to be a huge deal. It happens to a huge number of people, and there are professionals, medications and products to help you stimulate your hair growth and reverse the loss.
In the meantime, we’re so glad about how realistic and inexpensive lace front wigs are right now! We think the best course of action is to wrap your hair safely under one, and give it regular conditioning treatments. Of course, go to see your doctor to find out what treatment options are available to you.