There’s nothing like the relationship between a Black woman and her hair. Some hairstyles, however, have been proven to cause hair loss and serious damage, according to a new study at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
As it turns out, some of the most popular ‘dos worn by African-American women are some of the most damaging to one’s scalp and overall hair health.
Researchers confirm a “strong association” between certain scalp-pulling hairstyles and the development of traction alopecia, gradual hair loss caused by damage to the hair follicle from prolonged or repeated tension on the hair root. An estimated one-third of African-American women suffer from traction alopecia.
Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the study analysis urges dermatologists to better educate themselves about the damaging hairstyles–which include tight ponytails, braids, knots and buns–and advise patients of the risks and suggest alternatives.
“Hair is a cornerstone of self-esteem and identity for many people,” said Crystal Aguh, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, “but ironically, some hairstyles meant to improve our self-confidence actually lead to hair and scalp damage.”
Traction alopecia, she says, is preventable, not to mention early intervention can stop or reverse it. ”We have to do better as care providers to offer our patients proper guidance to keep them healthy from head to toe,” she added.