Hair loss in women is far more common than most people think. It has been reported that as many as one in four women currently suffer from hair loss, but this number may even be far higher in women of African-American descent. In fact, according to findings presented this past month at the American Academy of Dermatology’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., more than 47% of the nearly 6,000 African-American women surveyed in a recent Boston University study reported having experienced at least some degree of hair loss. Even more startling was the fact that, of those women reporting hair loss, more than 80% had not seen a doctor about it. Women’s hair loss has long been a taboo subject, but at our new Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss we are working hard to remove this stigma by providing the latest information and newest treatment options for women everywhere.
The majority of all hair loss that occurs in both men and women is the result of androgenetic alopecia, a genetically acquired follicular sensitivity to specific hormones. While this condition certainly plays a key role in hair loss among black women, some researchers have suggested that additional factors may also contribute significantly. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Edmond Griffin, founder of The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, has stated that styling practices such as braiding, weaves and chemical relaxing may also increase the risk of hair loss in African-American women. Extremely tight hair styles can exert a great deal of stress on the hair follicles, eventually pulling the hair strands from their follicular roots. When this happens repeatedly over prolonged periods, the damaged hair follicles are replaced with scar tissue and stop producing new hair entirely. This condition, known as traction alopecia, usually occurs on the front, temples, and back of the scalp, and even though the damage is usually temporary and reversible, it can potentially be permanent if left untreated.
Even more significantly, however, is a form of permanent hair loss called central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (or CCCA), which appears to be much more prevalent in African-Americans. This form of scarring alopecia, which occurs when inflammation in the scalp permanently destroys the ability of follicles to produce hair, was once called “hot comb alopecia” because it was believed to be the result of using hot combs with petrolatum. While we now understand that these old-fashioned hair treatments, albeit damaging to the hair, are not in themselves the cause of this condition, there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done before the true causes of central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia are fully understood, but the condition may often be treated with prescription topical or oral medication, compound medications specially formulated at The Griffin Center, or even Platelet Rich Plasma therapy, depending on the extent of the inflammation and damage. Hair transplantation surgery may also be an option to correct particularly advanced cases if the patients is a suitable candidate.
At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we are constantly striving to find new and effective treatments for all of the many forms of hair loss, and are committed to working closely with each individual patient in order to fully diagnose their specific form of hair loss. We believe that only by fully diagnosing the causes of hair loss can the best possible treatment options be determined. If you have questions about your individual hair loss and what form of treatment would be best for you, please contact Dr. Edmond Griffin or Dr. Ashley Curtis to schedule a hair loss consultation. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.