I will begin by discussing Traction Alopecia, which is one of the three most common types of alopecia that I see in my black female patients. I will then go on to briefly discuss other common causes of alopecia.
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, plaits or braids with or without extensions, weaves, ponytails or even hair rollers or curlers. Natural hairstyles can also lead to traction alopecia as well. Long heavy locks and tightly coiled twists can lead to traction alopecia. The hair loss associated with traction alopecia typically occurs at the frontal hairline, at the temples or the area of the scalp above the ears. It may also occur at the posterior hairline.
Many times, the traction causing hairstyles are uncomfortable or painful. You may notice a headache or soreness of the scalp from the tight hairstyle. For several days you may be unable to move your forehead or temples after a tight hairstyle is first applied. During the early stage of traction alopecia, red bumps, or flaking of the scalp may be seen. You may also notice short broken hairs. If you continue the tight hairstyle the hair loss may be permanent so it is very important to stop the hairstyle as soon as possible and begin treatment.
There are many other conditions effecting afro hair but those covered are the most frequently seen in my clinic at Sussex Trichology. I am experienced in treating these conditions, contact me for further information.