A woman's hair is often seen as a symbol of her beauty and personality. Hair weaves have always enjoyed popularity among women. Hair extensions are a great way to enhance naturally beautiful hair,
but they can also cause hair and scalp damage. Therefore it is imperative that you take precautions to minimize the risks of damaging your natural hair and scalp when weaves or braids are used.
Although you should care for your weave as if it were your own hair, do not forget that it is a foreign object that has been attached to a part of your body. Because of this, if weaves are not kept clean they can collect bacteria. Always wash your scalp as well as your natural hair and the weave hair every 7-14 days. After about 6- 8 weeks, it will be time to return to your stylist and have your extensions removed. Your hair will have grown out quite a bit (about 1/2 inches) and the extension hair will have started getting old and dry. If you have braids your stylist will need to undo them and check for damage to your natural hair. If the natural hair and your hairline has remained healthy, you will just need to have your old extensions removed and new ones added. If the natural hair is in need of repair, give your hair at least a 6 month rest from the weaves.
Many women do not realize that while length can be beautiful, having long heavy extensions could put additional pressure on the scalp which can pull hair out, and may cause long-term damage in the form of thinning and pre-mature balding. Examine your hair carefully when you take out the extensions or braids and decide if it is helping to grow your hair or rather damaging your hair. However, if you simply wish to have a new look for a few months and are prepared to possibly lose some of your natural hair along with the extensions, a hair weave can be a great solution. Therefore, if you are trying to grow your hair long, you might want to think seriously of the potential hindrances hair extensions could pose to your long-hair quest.
Hair Loss (Alopecia)
Alopecia, which means hair loss, is of epidemic proportion for many women and some men as well. Alopecia is a devastating condition for all women, as hair loss affects self-esteem, social interactions and relationships. There are many different causes of alopecia that affect women with brown skin. However, there are two types of hair loss that women with curly or tightly coiled hair are plagued with: traction alopecia(TA) and central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia(CCCA)
Traction alopecia is hair loss that occurs as a result of continuous pulling of the hair. Pulling may occur from hairstyles such as tight cornrows or braids, weaves, ponytails or even hair rollers or curlers. Traction alopecia may also be due to excessive weight from long extensions or locks. Signs that the hair is being pulled too tightly are difficulty moving your forehead or temples, headache, and scalp soreness. Side effects of pulling too hard are breakage of hair strands and hair loss from the follicle. An even more serious side effect of chronically pulling the hair is an inflammation of the follicle and the appearance of small bumps (folliculitis). Inflammation can lead to destruction of the hair follicle and permanent hair loss. Over time, bald spots may develop along the hairline and in the area above the ears. Since the hair loss happens gradually, you may not even notice it until the bald spot develops or your hairline recedes significantly. If traction alopecia continues for a prolonged period of time, the follicles may become destroyed and hair loss permanent.
It may seem obvious but it's time to stop pulling your hair out. Although women may think that they look terrific with tight hair styles, they could lead to permanent loss of hair. The key with traction alopecia is simply to avoid tight hair styles.
To save your hair, you may need to switch hairstyles altogether. However, if your hair loss is minimal and you want to continue to braid your hair or plait your child's hair, for instance, you can make adjustments, such as wearing looser braids, plaiting the hair loosely and wearing shorter weaves or locks. Women often pull tightly on hair to make it look smooth or straighter in a ponytail or bun. A better solution might be to apply a hair gel or a dab of conditioner to the hair to help it to lie flatter and straighter. More manageable hair will look smooth and neat without all that pulling, so wash and deep condition regularly.
Once the pulling and tension have been eliminated, if there is active folliculitis-infection of the hair follicles, your doctor may prescribe an oral or topical antibiotic to reduce the inflammation. In addition, potent cortisone containing creams may reduce inflammation.
Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) was previously called follicular degeneration syndrome or hot comb alopecia. with CCCA,hair loss begins at the crown of the scalp with scarring of the hair follicles and progressively spreads outward.
It occurs in women of all ages, from as young as 20 to as old as 60. The cause of CCCA is unknown but it is felt to be related to repeated and frequent but unnoticed damage to the hair follicles.
Since we do not know the exact cause of CCCA, outlining a treatment is difficult.
The first step is to stop any styling practice that may be causing or contributing to the hair loss. Often that means no hot combs, no tightly applied rollers or braids, no blow drying or relaxers for a period of time. If the hair follicles have not been damaged beyond repair, you may, for example, be able to resume your hair care practices but with modifications. Taking a break from harsh styling and substituting gentler techniques may allow the inflammation to resolve, the scalp to heal and hair growth to resume.
CCCA is a devastating condition for women with brown skin and the best chance of reversing the process and restoring hair is early diagnosis and prevention.
Sometimes CCCA is confused with the hereditary form of alopecia, called androgenic alopecia. This form of alopecia is also characterized by thinning in the central portion of the scalp with extension toward the hairline. With androgenic alopecia, the underlying scalp appears normal and the follicles are not scarred. Therefore, there is a greater likelihood that hair will regrow. The over the counter medication, Minoxidil (Rogaine), may help improve the particular condition.