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Why Is My Hair Thinning?


Question: Why Is My Hair Thinning?


Hair thinning can be caused by a number of issues. Here are some of the most common reasons black women find their hair getting thin.

Age: While nothing can be done about aging, this is a common cause of thinning hair. It doesn't only affect men. Extremely thinning hair can be traumatic for women who have always enjoyed thick locks. Choosing different styling methods and hairstyles are both effective ways to camouflage thin hair. Styling should be gentle. This includes using the right tools and accessories, gentle cleansers and fewer chemical treatments. If thinning is around the hairline, you may choose styles that cover this area. If your crown is the problem spot, a short haircut may be in order. You might also want to talk to your stylist about placing wefts of hair over thinning areas.

Chemical abuse: Improper use of relaxers, colors and other chemicals is a big contributor to thinning hair. Although relaxers are easy to purchase for home use, following the directions is crucial to avoid hair damage and loss. This means do not leave it on longer than the recommended time frame, don't apply to damaged scalps and hair, don't apply touch-ups more often than every four weeks, and do not apply relaxers on very young children.

If you apply permanent color the same day (or within two weeks) you apply a relaxer, you're asking for trouble. Temporary colors or rinses are safe enough to use at the same time as a relaxer application, but permanent dyes are not.

Tight styling: This problem may have begun in your childhood. Tight ponytails and braids pull on delicate hairlines. If pulled tightly enough, the hair follicles will be permanently damaged, leading to hair loss, or traction alopecia. When chemicals are then placed on these already-stressed hairlines, thin hair is often the result. Once a hair follicle is dead, there's no amount of treatment that will bring it back to life. Whether you're styling your hair or your child's hair, ponytails and braids should not hurt. If you feel any pain, loosen the style.

This doesn't mean that you can't ever wear ponytails or braids again. It simply means that you should avoid any tight styles over extended periods of time. Ponytail holders or elastics should be removed before going to bed. Also, don't wear the same styles repeatedly -- this places tension on the same areas over and over again. Switch up styles every time you fashion a new set of braids if they're going to be worn for weeks at a time.


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