August 5

Causes of Hair Loss In African Women

The Causes of hair loss in African women are many and ranging from just lifestyle behaviors to very complicated medical reasons. Hair loss and hair thinning is a common problem women and men all over the world go through. For most African women, hair is a very essential piece of themselves. An African woman understands that her hair can make a whole lot of statements, hence she pays very close attention to how her hair comes across.

With so many alternatives to choose from, it is easy to overlook the health of ones real hair all in the name of protective styling and many more. Without proper care of the real hair, alternatives will do nothing but worsen the situation especially if hair thinning and hair loss signs start to show.

In this blog post, I will be addressing the three main causes of hair loss in African women and how to deal with them.

Tensed African woman thinking about her hair thinning and hair loss

Why hair loss is common in African Women

I am Ghanaian hence,I grew up in a society and an environment where hair was such a big deal. How a person’s hair looked said so much about their being and status. It therefore doesn’t come as a surprise when statistics show that African women are the top consumers of hair market. Hair loss is a challenge that most people in my country are in denial. Sometimes they will know the cause of their hair loss but will not take the proper measures to deal with the situation. Why? Because we have a hair culture that allows for us to perfectly compensate for hair loss through masking.

Misconception of Natural Hair in Africa

It is very common to find African women caring for how their weaves and attachments look rather than their own hair. Right from childhood we were taught to appreciate the synthetic hair. Our natural hair was suppressed and kept underneath our safe zone a.k.a weaves, wigs and other attachments. We left little room for our natural hair to shine.

I grew up with the conception that my hair was not manageable. In fact, I grew up not knowing how my real hair looked like or what it felt like. All I knew was my relaxed hair and how it was pretty it was. Bone-straight and shiny. Long and pretty. I had never seen anyone with natural untouched hair. That was my reality and when you grow up in such surroundings, you know no better because no one knows better to teach you better.

What are the causes of hair loss in African women


Relaxers that are designed to straighten the hair is a huge factor that contributes to hair loss. Most relaxers contain lye and even though No-lye relaxers exists, they are still very damaging to the hair and the scalp. Relaxers are just very harsh chemicals which when used excessively  could trigger Central Centrifugal Alopecia (CCA) and lead to permanent hair loss.

Reduce the number of times you apply relaxers to your hair and length of time relaxer stays on your hair. Keeping relaxers in for long before washing hair can cause extra damage not only to your hair strands but also to your scalp. You may also opt for other alternatives such as silicone creams which are more gentle for the hair.

Traction Alopecia 

Aggressive hair styling techniques of many Africans contribute to significant hair loss and thinning. These aggressive hairstyles cause excessive damage to the hair follicles. Among these hairstyles are too tightly woven braids, installing weaves with too much force and tension, and tightly pinned and pulled ponytails.

Reduce tension by listening to your hair. If you have thin hair you don’t need heavy hairstyles because your hair is very likely to not be able to handle it. Pay attention to the perimeter of your hair. Your edges and nape and crown areas are the most delicate and weakest part of your hair. Therefore avoid very tight styles and pulling in these areas.

An African Woman suffering from hair loss

Thyroid Disorders

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland found at the beginning of the throat. It is responsible for releasing hormones to regulate many body processes. Too little or too much thyroid hormones can cause loss of hair.

If you suspect you may have a thyroid disorder, the best thing to do is see a doctor for confirmation. Usually a simple blood test can tell if one has thyroid or not. In such case, to fix your hair loss situation, one has to normalize the thyroid first. Increasing your protein intake is one natural way to help your thyroid. Protein works by transporting thyroid hormones to all tissues in your body. This means that it can normalize and regulate thyroid function.

Another option is to increase the level of essential minerals and micro-nutrients in your body. Such minerals include Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, selenium, iron, Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamin D, iodine, and copper. These nutrients can correct any imbalance or disorder that affects your thyroid, thereby targeting its common symptom, including hair loss

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