Afro Hair Care
Afro-Caribbean hair is essentially, tight, curly or wavy hair that, due to the outer layers (cuticles) being naturally frayed out and not lying down flat against the hair, causes the hair to have a duller, more lack lustre appearance than European (Caucasian) hair.
This is simply because black hair will absorb light instead of reflecting it. There are around seven to eleven cuticle layers on Afro hair making it very resistant to chemical processing techniques.
The next layer of a hair is called the Cortex. This is flat and weak in Afro hair therefore having little resistance to chemicals. This is why Afro hair is so easily and so often damaged by chemical abuse. Strong chemicals are needed to penetrate the cuticle layers, which are then too strong for the Cortex.
African Caribbean hair can lack the ability to absorb moisture and appreciates the regular application of conditioners/masks etc.
Due to the necessary abundant use of hair products to black hair, a good shampooing technique is essential. One should endeavour to cleanse the scalp and hair of all debris and product build up whilst attempting not to strip the hair of natural oils and moisture. It is also most important to use the correct products, in the right way and at the right times.
PROBLEMS RELATED TO BLACK HAIR
Black hair tends to suffer a lot more than European hair with this complaint. A loss of hair is experienced due to the continual pulling or tugging of the hair by mechanical means (see other forms of hair loss section). When hair is continually pulled out in a particular area, the follicle can slowly degenerate and eventually give up any further growth if it becomes too scarred.
Some of the different causes of Tractional Alopecia in black hair are:
Ponytails, braids, hairpieces, hair weaves, hair extensions, plaits, cane rows, bonding, hot combing etc.
Certain areas of thinning hair will be seen after a while in places like the crown, top and frontal areas. The scalp can also become quite tender and sore.
This can be a flaky or pustular (spotty) condition that is mainly caused by tight braiding. It is a non-bacterial complaint.
This is a bacterial infection of the hair follicles caused by the formation of curved follicles allowing the possibility for the hair to grow back on itself, re-entering the skin, resulting in inflammation and possible scarring (keloids).
This condition can also be caused by extreme and regular clipper use or shaving.
CICATRICIAL ALOPECIA (A NATURAL SCARRING OF THE SCALP)
CENTRAL CENTIRFUGAL CICATRICIAL ALOPECIA
Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia is a condition that presents itself, more often than not to the black community, as a loss of hair over a flesh colored area, overtly non inflammatory (i.e. you can’t see any inflammation just by looking at the skin) mostly over the central scalp area, which enlarges centrifugally as the condition progresses.
Essentially, this is a natural occurring complaint which completely destroys the hair follicle and replaces it with scar tissue, causing permanent hair loss. This simply means that specific areas of the scalp suffer an atrophy of the skin causing a slow, degenerating process eventually taking on a scarred appearance.
A natural degeneration of the skin tissue will automatically affect the hair follicles within the tissue, causing initial hair loss and eventual permanent hair loss due to the complete break down of the skin tissue and follicle in the affected area(s).
It is still a rarer complaint in comparison to other more common conditions of hair loss, but the number of sufferers with CCCA whom we have consulted, has most certainly risen over the past 5 – 10 years.
Europeans can suffer with a similar complaint but with slightly different clinical features.
Presently, there is still no known specific reason as to why this condition occurs. There may be a hereditary component to the condition and, for some black women, a combination of hair care practices might contribute to further aggravate the condition, but there is no connection to any physical or nervous health issues, hormonal imbalances, diet etc.
Of course, to the untrained eye, CCCA can appear to look like other similarly looking types of hair loss including Genetical Alopecia, Tractional Alopecia and Alopecia Areata. Therefore, misdiagnosis will not only be very distressing to the recipient but also, being misinformed, can delay the correct treatment of a complaint, causing further possible hair loss.
For any of the above complaints (including CCCA), we administer a deep, stimulative external therapy to the scalp here at our clinic. This increases the blood supply (hyperaemia) to the hair follicles and encourages a follicle to repair (if still alive), strengthen, and promote regrowth.
Permanently damaged or degenerated hair follicles will not have the ability to produce any further hair, but with most sufferers of hair loss conditions, we are able to help slow down, control and maintain an ongoing complaint.
Specifically, with CCCA, whilst hair regrowth is not often possible, we have been very successful in slowing down and containing the condition. People are generally much happier to keep their hair for a much longer term. Some of our long standing, long term sufferers have seen very little further loss over the years due to our therapy.
We have been treating patients with this problem for many years now and those who are fairly consistent with some form of stimulative therapy (whether here at our clinic or/and combined with home use products), appear to maintain a better head of hair.
There is another complaint under the same cicatricial heading known as Frontal Fibrosing Cicatricial Alopecia. This affects mainly the front hairline only.
Any of the above ‘Alopecias’ are devastating conditions for anyone, irrespective of the cause. Hair loss effects self-esteem, social interactions and relationships, and early diagnosis and prevention of complaint progress are crucial to the wellbeing of the patient.
Be aware!! There are a number of so-called hair clinics that may promise to do more than they are truly able. Their aim is to offer you false hope at a price. Remember, scar tissue will NOT grow hair so please be careful.
Here at The Spencer Clinic, we have been examining, diagnosing and treating all complaints and conditions associated with black hair and scalp for over 20 years and are proud of the experience and knowledge we have been able to offer over that time.
We are one of the highest authorities in Europe dealing with all matters concerning black hair and our expert, Samantha Stewart, regularly appears on a very popular black web site called blackukonline.com.
She is a specialist in this field and, due to demand, is incredibly busy relaxing, perming and colouring, slowly repairing the hair damage caused by other salons.
If you feel you may be suffering with one of the above complaints and wish to find out more about how The Spencer Clinic can help you, simply call us today on 020 7584 4255 or get a Free Online Diagnosis.