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The Voice Newspaper on Black Women & Hair Loss

Written By michels Ella on Friday, 6 May 2011 | 18:47



Black British Women at Greater Risk of Hair Loss...

Just seen this article on The Voice Newspaper Online about Black women at risk of Hair Loss suggesting that us here in the UK could be at greater risk.

Also this article addresses the deeper issues regarding black haircare including British Media and Society.

I've copied and pasted the article below and highlighted the parts I found especially interesting in blue. 

If you want to go direct to the website I've posted the link below the article. 
Would love to know your thoughts on this one....
Luv Crystal Afro xx



Black women at risk of severe hair loss, warn experts


Published: 05 May 2011
HAIR SCARE: Traumatic alopecia
Weaves, braiding and chemicals could cause scarring and baldness

A NUMBER of black women in the UK could end up bald or with severe scalp scarring because they wear weaves and braids that are too tight, hair experts have warned.

The warning comes as a recent US study suggests that nearly 30 percent of middle-aged African-American women polled are already affected by severe hair loss - suffering from bald patches and scarring in the centre of their scalps as a result of their too tight hairstyles.
Although not directly linking it to hair loss in the study, researchers also highlighted concern over the harsh chemicals some black women are using to relax or perm their hair.
“You have to stop and think about what you're doing with your hair, and you have to look at your children's hair," study lead author Dr Angela Kyei, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, warned in a Businessweek report. “You have to start thinking about what might happen later on."

UK hair and beauty experts have also warned that black women in this country are at risk of losing their hair.
“It’s possibly more of a problem here,” said Keith Hobbs, senior consultant trichologist at the Institute of Trichologists Clinic in Tooting, south London.
“Hair loss affecting black women in Britain is a closely guarded secret which causes much misery to its many sufferers. It is hard to say how many women are involved because they all cover their hair loss, but over 60 percent of my black patients have some degree of loss, ranging from small patches to complete loss.”

Hobbs, a hair and scalp disorders expert, told The Voice: “Black women in Britain are more at risk of hair and scalp problems than people living in hotter countries where the atmosphere is more humid, because the colder, drier air in Britain makes hair more likely to break.
“The various methods of adding hair and straightening hair traumatise it further. The various traumas that cause this problem include traction including weave-ons, plaits and extensions left on too long. Also scratching and over-massaging hair. Added hair is frequently used on bald patches, making the situation worse.”
He said damage could also result from “heat – Afro-nozzles on hot hair driers and heated tongs, (and) chemical relaxers and bleach, which must never be used together. The risk is obviously worse when the methods are used at home.”

UK-based hair, make-up and skincare consultant Eryca Freemantle told The Voice that she and her team have also seen several cases where black women have damaged their hair.
“The main ones are where chemicals have been left on the hair for too long, wrong chemicals have been used, severe pulling of the hair when braiding, harsh gels used in the hair, pulling hair back too severely when wearing a pony tail, (and) adding glue and extension to weak parts of the head, i.e. temple and hair line,” said Freemantle, who is an ambassador for the Confederation of International Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology. The organisation works to improve standards and get beauty therapists qualified.
She added: “We think it depends on where the customer goes to get her hair done, and the treatment given.”
Freemantle said while many hairdressers are doing fantastic jobs, “there are so many hairdressers that are under-qualified to do the job. We think the media and government are missing out on a massive educational concept that could help save the hair of many WOC [women of colour], through simple education and training.”
Freemantle continued: “Research tells us that there are still too many harsh chemicals available in products to the public. Our advice would be to seek the best hairdressers and stylists. After all, you are worth it.”

Hobbs also urged women to “make sure your hairdresser is properly qualified.” He added: “Although most types of traumatic hair loss are recoverable when caught in time, black skin can quickly scar, causing permanent hair loss. The advice I give to women with this problem, if their hair is thinning, is to see a qualified member of the Institute of Trichologists.”
Freemantle said the risks of hair damage are increasing with each generation of black women who get weaves or braids that are too tight, or a perm from an unqualified hairstylist.

She said some black women often subject themselves to risky hairstyle practices to either follow the fashion, give in to societal pressure or because of low self worth linked with images on television, which she said often tell black girls that they are more beautiful if they have a more Caucasian look.
“Our research has made us aware that the problem with WOC sometimes goes very deep; much deeper than just wanting to have long hair, thicker hair.  Sometimes it’s the pressure of society. 
“In the UK, we do not have many role models in society that represent WOC, and if we do they tend to be wearing hair extensions, weaves, wigs etc.
“There are only a few, actually maybe two or three in the media that look like me. Based on that some WOC take extensions and weaves a little over the top, whereas many wear them because it just makes life a lot easier.
“Commercials and the media reflect white women to be beautiful and superior to WOC. Of course there is going to be a deep-rooted complex for some WOC seeing this.  There are no TV commercials promoting shampoos, soaps, or skin products specifically for WOC, so on the surface alone, some WOC are going to want to be like their white counterparts,” she said.

“Braiding the hair over the course of history does not cause damage to the hair or scalp.  However, what you will find is that part of the root of the problem is, I have been told, that the tighter the braids, the more it pulls on the skin, the more this can make the nose look straighter.”

She added that too many black women have grown up seeing white girls or girls with lighter skin tones receive better treatment – even if it is getting to play the princess in the local school play.
“At a very young age, the black girls (are being subconsciously told) that they were not worthy of being the main character in their class plays, and the boys were made to understand unconsciously that black girls were not that pretty.
“At this time, the lighter skinned girls walked like they were goddesses because it was obvious that they were the symbol of beauty. This was the time our girls wished for white dolls for Christmas, as if they were wishing that they could play Snow White some day...

“Some say beauty is just skin deep, but it is actually an economical and political factor... We should maintain our hair and our natural given beauty by being a little more gentle on ourselves. 
“No need to use such harsh products and chemicals. Only we can make the difference in the beauty industry for ourselves.”

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