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While female hair loss can affect any race, there are certain causes of African American women's hair loss that are common. The main culprit is a type of hair loss called scarring alopecia in which scarring appears on the scalp and cause hair loss. This type of hair loss is typically found in African American women's hair loss due to their styling preference for tight corn row braids and hair weaves. These hairstyles place a great deal of stress on the hair follicles and often cause mass shedding and permanent damage to the scalp if done incorrectly.
Another type of African American women's hair loss is central centrifungal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA). This condition is a much like the scarring alopecia and is diagnosed by performing a biopsy of the scalp. The cause of CCCA is still not completely known but since it seems to be prevalent in African American women's hair loss it is suspected that their hairstyles such as tight braids along with the use of hot combs and ointments may contribute to the condition.
CCCA can be treated by the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and sometimes the addition of a minoxidil topical solution to stimulate hair growth in the unscathed follicles. The best way to avoid this type of African American women's hair loss is to avoid the hairstyles that seem to contribute to it. If you must wear braids or weaves be sure they are done by a professional and give your scalp a break in between to avoid permanent damage.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|