Hair loss: How To Reclaim Your Edges

Hair loss is common among men and women. While some men may not like losing hair, we can’t compare the effects of hair loss on women to men. 

Ladies! There’s a reason why frontals, wigs, and edge control are so popular these days! Most women are trying to hide the fact that they don’t have hair at the front edges of their scalps anymore! 

A study was done among women in tertiary institutions in Ibadan, Nigeria. It was discovered that 46.7% of the women in that study suffered from hair loss. It was also estimated that over 95% of hair loss was caused by traction alopecia. 

Traction alopecia is a medical term for hair loss caused by damage to the hair follicles. This damage is due to pulling your hair back into tight hairstyles. 

If you’re a lady and you value your edges or you know one, move closer and share this article with them! 

What causes hair loss? 

Hair loss is basically caused by damage to the hair follicles which nourish the hair strands. In this instance, the repeated pulling of the hairs in tight hairstyles destroys the hair follicles. Unfortunately, this damage can be permanent if not treated early on. 

Factors like: 

  • Braids 
  • Cornrows
  • Ponytails or buns
  • Use of chemicals like relaxers 
  • Excessive use of heat on the hair 
  • Leaving extensions on the hair for too long

 

What does hair loss look like? 

Even though hair loss eventually ends with bald patches on the edges, there are ways to spot traction alopecia in the beginning stages. 

They look like little pimples around the scalp at first. Then you may start to notice some broken or missing hairs. It’s important to note that traction alopecia doesn’t only affect the edge of the scalp. It also affects other parts of the scalps, wherever there is tension exerted by a tightly done hairstyle. 

Other symptoms you could see are:

  • Itching 
  • Dryness and scaling of the scalp 
  • Bumps and redness on the scalp 
  • Soreness of the scalp 

The symptoms get worse as you age because of the prolonged exposure to the tension in the hair follicles. 

Is this type of hair loss permanent? 

If it is caught early enough, it can be reversed before too much damage has been done. 

However, it can become permanent if left for too long. 

I think I have this type of hair loss, what next? 

If you’ve noticed that you have traction alopecia, don’t panic. The best treatment is to attack the causative factor-your hairstyle. 

  • Change those damaging hairstyles, stop wearing your hair tightly and you should see an improvement. It’s essential not to wear your hair tightly overnight. If your hairstyle is painful then it’s too tight and it’s very harmful. 
  • Reduce the use of chemicals and heat on your hair as well. 
  • Keep your edges moisturized with a good leave-in conditioner and use hair growth oils like Jamaican black castor oil among others to encourage growth in those areas. 
  • Avoid using edge control frequently as some might have dangerous chemicals that dry out the hair and encourage breakage.
  • Cover your hair with a satin bonnet when you go to bed. This prevents breakage and helps to retain moisture.
  • Deep condition your hair frequently.
  • Eat healthily and drink lots of water.
  • Take biotin supplements.

If your hair isn’t responsive or the hair loss is severe, you may need to see the dermatologist as well as the trichologist who will examine the skin of your scalp and your hair follicles respectively. They may recommend antibiotics, certain types of shampoo, minoxidil, or supplements to help hair growth. 

In extreme cases, a hair replacement procedure may need to be done. 

Do you have natural hair? Click here to see how you can grow longer natural hair through length retention!

Till my next post,

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Dr. Omotola Oke

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