Last month English supermodel, Naomi Campbell, was pictured on holiday in Ibiza sporting a dramatic receding hairline. Naomi has always looked picture perfect with her shiny long locks, but she was barely recognisable in her recent holiday photos.
Like Naomi, many people with naturally afro hair are constantly battling with their hair in attempt to try and relax and straighten it.They may have tried several relaxing treatments, hot irons and hair extensions in a bid to achieve a sleeker, smoother look. However, all of these hair products and treatments can cause, not only damage to the hair, but this constant tugging or pulling force on the root can cause Traction Alopecia, a condition which causes balding.
One of our recent hair transplant patients at the clinic knows only too well how much distress this can cause. 27 year old Tanya had lost significant amount of hair due to hair extensions and over-styling with straighteners. Her hair was beginning to look completely bald in several places and she was so traumatised that she had started wearing thick hair bands to cover her bald areas.
If hair loss has reached the point of no return, where the hair has been pulled from the roots and permanently damaged from the over use of hair extensions, and no other medical condition has been diagnosed, then a hair transplant may be your only option. But because afro hair is very curly and coarse, it is the most difficult for a hair transplant procedure and very few surgeons can perform this procedure.
FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) is a surgical technique that involves extracting individual hair follicles, one-by-one, using very small, delicate instruments.Straight hair tends to allow for an easier procedure – the angle of the hair growth tends to be the same as the hair visible on the patient’s scalp. On the other hand, afro hair is very curly, and growth direction varies tremendously. As the surgeon tries to extract the follicle with the surrounding tissue, there is a risk that the donor strand is cut/destroyed. On many occasions, the extraction phase on afro hair is not possible due to the curliness of the hair.
Hair transplant surgeons should arrange a test session to see if the extraction is possible. The success depends on the experience of the doctor – only very experienced and well skilled doctors can perform a session on Afro Caribbean hair – as well as the degree of curvature of the follicles and their length.
There are a few easy ways to prevent hair from falling out and avoid cosmetic hair loss issues.
Here are a few tips to keep your hair and scalp healthy:
1. Check that you don’t have an underlying medical condition: There are certain conditions and hormonal disorders that can lead to patterned baldness, so it is imperative that you speak to your doctor or hair specialist to rule this out.
2. Stay stress-free: Longer periods of stress can lead to changes in hormones, which can result in hair thinning or pattered baldness. Stress can also lead to the development of acid free radicals, which can contribute to gradual loss of hair.
3. Avoid using hair extensions: The prolonged use of hair extensions over a period of time puts a lot of traction on the hair, and the glue from the hair extensions, starves the hair of vital nutrients. Both of these factors can cause gradual thinning of the hair, which is weighed down and weakened. The celebrity craze for hair extensions has led to hair loss for Naomi Campbell, and TOWIE’s Jessica Wright.
4. Look after your roots: Avoid using hair products directly onto the roots of your hair as this with block the hair follicle and prevent growth.
5. Keep your hair clean: By washing your hair on a regular basis clears the sweat and dirt away from the scalp, which can have the same effect as hair gel on the scalp.
6. Eat Proteins: Protein promotes growth and repair, and the hair is made up of Keratin, a protein, so by incorporating lots of protein into your diet will help to keep hair shiny and strong.
7. Keep your hair natural: It has been well documented that heat appliances such as hair straighteners and curlers can contribute to hair loss. If you use heat on your hair for a prolonged period of time you will make the hair brittle and prone to breakage, contributing to the overall weakening of each individual hair. Avoid wearing hair braids as they restrict growth and be careful not to continually dye your hair, as it could be seriously damaging in the long run.