Hair thinning in multicultural women is more common than you might think.
Nearly 30 million women in the United States, or one in four, experience hereditary hair thinning. Hereditary hair loss does not discriminate; it affects men and women regardless of ethnic background. In fact, hair thinning and loss among multicultural women—African-American women in particular— is especially prevalent, affecting approximately 37% of African-American women.
% WOMEN BY RACE/ETHNICITY SEGMENT
By Race/Ethnicity ……………………………………… Hair Thinning or Loss
Source: The Forbes Consufting Group, Inc.
Thinning hair and hair loss in women is often unexpected and can be emotionally devastating, whereas, by comparison, the condition is more widely accepted as a natural part of the aging process in men.
Looking good feels great!
Women, particularly multicultural women, take great pride in their hair. They connect beautiful hair and flattering styling with their self-image and overall well-being. Multicultural women often work harder at interpreting the most popular hairstyles, since their hair textures require additional treatments and chemical processing. There is concern that these styling techniques may cause more stress on the scalp which, in turn, contributes to hair thinning. This inherent interest in healthy hair provides a compelling reason why multicultural women who experience thinning hair and hair loss find it emotionally distressing. The results of a recent study indicated that women suffering hair loss feel:
Less likely to succeecd in business
Less desirable to men
Hereditary hair thinning or androgenetic alopecia is a natural part of aging. Normally, we shed 50 to 100 hairs a day. When hair is thinning, the amount of shedding begins to slowly increase.
In addition to hereditary hair thinning, many African-American and ethnic women experience other forms of hair loss know as traumatic alopecia. Traumatic alopecia may be due to the use of hair reshaping products (relaxers, straighteners, hot combs) or hair braiding methods.
Emotional stress makes hair fall out.
It’s about the natural texture and density
Hair texture is actually a combination of the size of each strand — fine, medium and coarse — and the overall number of hairs on an individual’s scalp — thin, normal and thick. Some multicultural women give the appearance of having the most dense and thick heads of hair because their hair strand may be coarse.
However, in terms of density, the number of hairs on the head varies with hair color. Surprisingly, black colored hair has comparatively fewer hairs per square inch than blonde and brown hair colors.
FINE HAIR DIAMETER:
Smallest diameters per strand, approxiamtely 50 microns.
Red and black haired women havethe fewest hairs — approximately 90,000 to 108,000.
Hair tends to be more fragile and narrower.
MEDIUM HAIR DIAMETER:
Measures between 60-90 microns.
Brown haired women have the average number of hairs at approximately 110,000.
COARSE HAIR DIAMETER:
Greatest diameter, 100+ and is relatively strong. Blondes have the most at 140,000,up to 150,000.
THE HEADS – UP ON- Dectection:
The earlier androgenetic alopecia is detected, the greater the chance to successfully treat
it. Hair care professionals are now in the
best position to detect it early and to help women maintain the vitality and youth of their hair.
What can you do?
Listen carefully The first step in recognizing the onset of androgenetic alopecia – hereditary hair loss – is to carefully listen to the client’s concern. This initial conversation may reveal many of the important indicators of her hair thinning experience necessary to assess her condition—
When did she first notice that her hair was thinning?
Did she notice more hair than usual in the drain after showering, or on her piHow, or in her hairbrush?
Is the hair thinning sudden or patchy? Is the loss from the scalp or is it breakage rand? _
Family History :
As androgenetic alopecia is a genetic or hereditary condition, inquire about your client’s family history of thinning hair and hair loss. Be specific. Ask questions about hair thinning among not only her parents but also brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles on both sides of the family.
Condition of Hair & Scalp :To properly diagnose your client’s hair thinning you must closely examine her scalp and the condition of her hair. It is important that you discuss cosmetic and hair styling practices to determine whether your client’s hair thinning is caused by breakage or loss.
There are several techniques to examine and evaluate the extent of hair thinning.
Check the part :
Part the hair in the middle of the scalp. Look at the width of the part. A part that shows more scalp than normal indicates diffuse hair loss (the part on a normal head of hair is very narrow.) A woman with androgenetic alopecia has increased spacing between the hairs and the central part appears widened.
Hair Pull Test:
Securely grasp a group of 20 to 50 hairs at the base and pull steadily but firmly outward toward the free ends of the hair. No more than one or two hairs out of every 10 grasped should normally detach. Increased hair loss is suggested when more than 2 of every 10 hairs detach.
Check for excessive shedding :
If your client has noticed more hair than usual in the shower drain, on her pillow or in her hairbrush, she may be shedding hair excessively. You should check the degree of shedding for yourself by simply running your hand through her hair. It is important to note that anyone experiencing unusual, excessive shedding should be advised to see a doctor*.
Identify Miniaturized Hairs:
In the area where the scalp shows the most, look for a large number of miniaturized hairs that are shorter, thinner, and less pigmented. Unlike hairs that have been cut short and have a flat end, miniaturized hairs have a pointy end. Hold an index card near the scalp to help you see the miniaturized hairs. If you see a lot of miniaturized hairs, your client probably has androgenetic alopecia.
Changes in Daily Routine :
To rule out hair thinning as a result of another condition and to correctly identify androgenetic alopecia, be certain to ask your client about any recent changes in her daily routine such as crash diets, oral contraceptives and medications.
Traumatic Alopecia and African American women :
Many African American women experience other forms of hair loss known as traumatic alopecia.Traumatic alopecia may be do to the use of hair reshaping products- like relaxers, straighteners, hot combs or hair braiding methods.
Specific types of traumatic alopecia are-
Many African American have worn tight braids or cornrows beginning since early childhood. The persistant physical stress involved with tight rollers & tight braiding causes extreme tension and eventual hair loss known as traction alopecia.
The severe thinning above the ears with marked recession of the hairline is evidence of traction alopecia. Itcan accure at the forehead as well.
Prelonged practice of these styling methods can result in irreversible hair loss.
70% of African American women relax their hair to straighten and add manageability.
The two chemicals generally found in relaxing products are Sodium Hydroxide or Ammonium Thioglycolate. Relaxers cotaining either chemical are used to soften & swell the hair fibers. The action of the comb, the brush, and the hands in smoothing the hair and distrubting the chemical works to straighten the softened hair. Relaxers are intended for application to the hair. Extreme caution is advised to avoid chemical exposure to the scalp.
These chemicals irritate the scalp and damage the the hair root resulting in hair loss. Although chemical alopecia looks similar to heredity haitr thinning (androgentic alopecia), it is recognized by the scarring on the scalp.
Follicular Degeneration Syndrome:
Hair loss caused by excessive use of pomades with a hot comb or iron. Upon application, the excessive heat of the hot comb melts or liquefies the oil based products causing them to drip down into the hair shaft and into the follicle.
Follicular degeneration syndrome has a fairly distinct appearance with scarring that begins in the crown and spreads symmetrically.
Loosen Up–What can you do?
If you believe your client is experiencing a form of alopecia you should try and prevent any further damamge by follwing these hair care suggestions:
Use a looser wrapping to minimize tension on the hair root.
Create Braids that are larger & looser.
Unbraid the hair EVERY TWO WEEKS.
Try using a milder relaxer instead of the regular or super types.
Use products that contain GLYCERIN rather than mineral oil or petrolium.
Keep chemicals away from the scalp area and keep excessive heat away from the scalp area.
A little prevention, will equal more hair growth & less damage.