Hair loss is a problem that is common to most people, regardless of colour, gender or hair texture. Of course you would agree that for many reasons, it is a bigger challenge for women of colour as we seem to have the highest incidence (I stand to be corrected) of receding hairlines AKA receding edges, AKA chopped edges. This post will look at the causes of this situation, as well as how to treat, and prevent it.
Tight Hair styling
Imagine hanging from a height, on a thread, and you’re a bag of rice. That’s the kind of stress your hair is under when you do it up tightly. Yup! All those tight hairstyles are bad for your hair because they place a lot of undue pressure on the strands and pull them from the roots. Prevention: Ensure that your styles are never too tight, or at least leave out your finer baby hair. If your hair is being made, and you’re in pain, you should stop the stylist and ask them to go easy, because that means your strands are being pushed to their limits.
Overtly intricate styling
This applies to hair styles that involve glue, or weird sewing like the invisible part. This style requires attaching so many pieces of weave to a small area of your hair, which is the area that usually bears the brunt of heat styling, so basically, this is just abuse; So when your hair begins to fall out, you really shouldn’t be surprised because you caused it! *angry Nigerian mum voice* Anyways, Prevention: Avoid these styles like the plague. Don’t let anyone glue anything to your hair, it should always be to your scalp, but even at that, it should be minimal. I know you want to look good, but what’s the point of a beautiful weave on top of ratty hair?
You’re wondering what this one is about, abi? Okay, it’s simple. Do you cover your hair when you sleep? Or do let it be? Freedom is nice, but kinky hair structure is such that it does not like friction at all, and a lot of this happens while we’re asleep, dreaming of prince Charming and moving our heads against our pillows which weakens the strands, causes fairy knots, and basically messes it up. Prevention: Always cover your hair with a satin or silk scarf or bonnet when you sleep (avoid the ones with cotton threads), or invest in a satin or silk pillowcase. Satin and silk are slippery fabrics that don’t create friction with our hair, so it can rest while you do!
Chemical Colour Treatments:
I would say do not use, but if you must, please, use lightly and for the shortest periods of time. Dyes are really harsh. Many people have reported massive loss of elasticity and disappearance of curl patterns after using dyes. This means your intrinsic structure of your hair has been damaged, most times, irreversibly. Not cool. There are many natural alternatives for colouring your hair like henna which you could explore. Prevention: If you want to colour your hair, use natural options, otherwise ensure that the chemical is left on your hair for the shortest period possible.
Fungal infections are a major cause of hair loss, and it can occur any where on your scalp,not just at the edges. If your scalp is dry, itchy, or has a whitish residue, it could be due to some sort of Fungal infection, and you should see a doctor. A natural treatment for this is Tea tree oil which is an anti fungal that also stimulates hair growth, so it’s a 2-in-1 situation.
So your hairline is already damaged, and now you know how to make sure it doesn’t happen again, but how do you reverse the situation on top of you right now? (Excuse the pun, please). Here goes. Your hair is stressed out right now, so it needs to be pampered.
- Always wear loose hairstyles that don’t pull on your strands
- Minimal hair brushing to reduce friction and pulling
- Weekly deep conditioning to improve moisture and elasticity
- Massage your scalp with a natural oil or butter to stimulate blood flow and growth
- This should be done at least weekly for best results
For your hair line to fill out again, your hair follicles need to be rejuvenated to improve blood flow which causes more hair growth. The best way to do this is to stimulate your scalp which results in improved circulation. Regular washing (once weekly is ideal) will unclog your pores and prevent future clogging from dead skin, dirt, infections, etc. This will allow your scalp to breathe and ultimately yield increased hair growth.