Hair Transplant News: Hairstyles Contribute to Hair Loss By Bernard Arocha, MD on March 17, 2015

A new study published in the the Archives of Dermatology has found that weaves and braids may contribute to a type of permanent hair loss that appears to be common among African American women. The study, "Medical and Environmental Risk Factors for the Development of Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia," led by Angela Kyei of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, examined 326 black women who participated in the study, finding that more than one-quarter of the subjects experienced hair loss on the top of their scalp. Among the women who experienced hair loss, nearly 60 percent showed signs of "central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia," also known as CCCA. CCCA is a poorly understood form of baldness that begins at the crown of the head and leads to scarring.

While more than 90 percent of study participants used either hot comb treatments or chemical relaxers, neither was linked with CCCA in the study. Researchers did find links between the hair loss and braids, weaves, and other so-called traction hairstyles that tug at the scalp.

Study results suggest there is a high prevalence of central hair loss among African American women, but the findings couldn't prove that hair grooming was at the base of the problem. For instance, the researchers found that women with type 2 diabetes were more likely to have scarring hair loss. While only 8 percent of the women overall had type 2 diabetes, 18 percent of those with CCCA did -- a "surprising finding," Kyei says. Also, women with bacterial scalp infections were more likely to experience CCCA, and women with the condition tended to have balding maternal grandfathers.

Braids, weaves and extensions are very popular, particularly among African American women. Fans of the styles often maintain them for long periods of time, and the stress they exert on the scalp can lead to the development of pus-filled bumps that eventually scar. In the following video, Dr. Bernardino Arocha of Arocha Hair Restoration discusses traction alopecia.

The study notes that women already losing their hair are more likely to favor braids, weaves and extensions because they help disguise thinning hair. This could make matters worse.

As noted by Dr. Arocha, women should consider more natural styles that do not cause trauma to the scalp. He urges doctors and hairdressers to make women aware of CCCA and the potential link with traction hairstyles.

Dr. Arocha offers complimentary, no obligation consultations in person or via Skype.

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Since 2002, Bernardino A. Arocha, M.D. has been transforming lives through the power of hair restoration. With an artistic approach and a variety of procedures available, Arocha Hair Restoration has a track record of providing stunning results. Dr. Arocha is affiliated with prominent organizations with memberships that include:

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