Styling practices can lead to serious hair and scalp diseases for African-Americans

March 19, 2012

Styling practices can lead to serious hair and scalp diseases for some African Americans, says Henry Ford Hospital dermatologist Diane Jackson-Richards, M.D.

" is an extremely important aspect of an African-American woman's appearance," says Dr. Jackson-Richards, director of Henry Ford's Multicultural Dermatology Clinic. "Yet, many women who have a hair or scalp disease do not feel their physician takes them seriously. Physicians should become more familiar with the culturally accepted treatments for these diseases."

Dr. Jackson-Richards says proper hair care can help prevent the onset of such diseases like seborrheic dermatitis and alopecia, and that dermatologists need to become more sensitive to the hair and scalp plights of African Americans.

Dr. Jackson-Richards will discuss these issues Monday during a presentation of "Hair Disease and the African-American Patient" at the annual American Academy of Dermatology conference in San Diego.

Little research has been done about the prevalence and causes of hair and scalp diseases in African Americans. Dr. Jackson-Richards says understanding the unique physiologic characteristics of African textured hair – for example, it grows slower and has a lower hair density than other ethnic groups – will assist dermatologists in prescribing treatment options.

African-American women are known to shampoo their hair less frequently than other ethnic groups, and an estimated 80 percent of them use chemical relaxers. Frequent use of blow dryers and hot combs, combined with popular hair styles like hair weaves, braids and dreadlocks, add physical stress to the hair and contribute to scalp diseases like alopecia, or hair loss.

"Hair loss is the fifth most common condition cited by patients when they visit their dermatologist," Dr. Jackson-Richards says.

Dr. Jackson-Richards suggests these grooming tips for patients to reduce their risk of developing a hair or scalp disease:

-- Wash hair weekly with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.
-- Allow two weeks between relaxing and coloring.
-- Limit use of blow dryers and hot combs and other heated hair styling products to once a week.
-- Wash braids or dreadlocks every two weeks.
-- Avoid wearing braids too tightly; don't wear longer than three months.
-- To detangle hair, use a wide tooth comb while conditioner is still in the hair.
-- Use natural hair oils with jojoba, olive, shea or coconut oils.

Explore further: Asian men who smoke may have increased risk for hair loss

Related Stories

Don't brush with baldness: put down that comb

August 10, 2009

Put that comb back in your handbag -- a study by an Israeli dermatologist has found that too much combing of the coiffure leads to hair loss, the daily Haaretz reported on Monday.

Recommended for you

In sub-Saharan Africa, cancer can be an infectious disease

August 26, 2016

In 1963, Irish surgeon Denis Parson Burkitt airmailed samples of an unusual jaw tumor found in Ugandan children to his colleague, Anthony Epstein, at Middlesex Hospital in London. Epstein, an expert in chicken viruses and ...

Zika virus may persist in the vagina days after infection

August 25, 2016

The Zika virus reproduces in the vaginal tissue of pregnant mice several days after infection, according to a study by Yale researchers. From the genitals, the virus spreads and infects the fetal brain, impairing fetal development. ...

Team discovers how Zika virus causes fetal brain damage

August 24, 2016

Infection by the Zika virus diverts a key protein necessary for neural cell division in the developing human fetus, thereby causing the birth defect microcephaly, a team of Yale scientists reported Aug. 24 in the journal ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.