- Written by Peace Loise Mbae
Kenyan women could be losing their hair due to constant braiding from childhood with most schools insisting on pushback cornrows from Primary school a condition called Traction alopecia.
Sher Brown an American based hairstylist who was on a recent visit to Kenya says she noticed many Kenyan women have lost their hairline and she began to investigate.
“I did not understand why Kenyan women had loss of hair along the hairline while men’s was intact. I then discovered that women from a young age have had to do pushback cornrows from kindergarten to high school,” she said.
Excessive manipulation of the hairline, she says could be the cause of this trend in many Kenyan women.
According to a study by Archives of Dermatology on American women, 60 per cent of them experienced advanced hair loss after having hairstyles that cause tension of the hairline.
"Any style that causes too much tension and traction on the hair....can possibly lead to scarring hair loss," read the study.
The study which included 326 African American women who completed a questionnaire about hair care methods and health status showed that nearly 60 per cent of the women showed signs of advanced central hair loss with scarring.
“Braiding and weaves are expensive and many women keep these styles for long to saver risking their hairline, however, most professionals and experts discourage them especially over long periods of time. Braiding for a special event may be okay, but release them in a few days and let your hair rest,” said Brown.
Loss of hair on the hairline which affects a majority of black women is called Traction alopecia.
This is a baldness is caused by chronic traction which is pulling on the hair follicle and associated with tight braiding or cornrow hairstyles.
This condition causes permanent hair loss and is in most cases irreversible and can only be rectified through hair transplant surgery.
A 2008 research on Determinants of marginal traction alopecia in African girls and women showed that braiding caused more problems than chemicals (although the two together were worse still).
However, there are ways to restore the damage if detected if there is extreme damage. They include;
• Jamaican Black Castor Oil
• Regular Castor Oil
• Olive oil
• Pure, unrefined coconut oil (has a fantastic aroma too!)
• Raw, organic apple cider vinegar (we buy Bragg Apple Cider with the 'mother' and dilute 1/3 cup of it in 1 quart of water, then use it as a final rinse to strengthen hair)
• Shea Moisture Thickening Growth Milk line.
Progress can be noticed after three months but if not then it means Traction alopecia is so severe and has damaged the hair follicles. This can only be rectified through hair restoration surgery.