Afro Caribbean men suffer with hair loss just the same as men of any other ethnicity, however certain conditions such as traction alopecia are more common amongst those of Afro-Caribbean or African American descent. Traditional hair styles call for the hair to be pulled tightly into braids to form patterns such as corn rows. The constant tugging at the hair roots damages the follicles causing them to shrink and unable to hold the hair shaft.
The general cause of male pattern hair loss is a genetic predisposition that is inherited. The male hormone DHT causes the hair follicles to become sensitive and shrink. The hair follicles can no longer hold the hair which becomes thinner and falls out. The hair normally starts to recede from the front hair line until the crown of the head is bald. It leaves a horseshoe shape as hair around the sides and back are still growing and are not affected.
Hair styles can also use weaves and extensions which apply wear and tear on the natural hair and pull at the hair follicles. The use of hair pieces and bonding, although not used as often now, are still part of the Afro Caribbean hairstyle repertoire and are damaging to not only the hair but the scalp as well. Skin irritation to the scalp can cause dandruff and in bad cases tenderness and red itchy patches. This in turn damages hair follicles until they shrink and die.
Folliculitis is a bacterial infection in hair follicles and ingrowing hair can be the cause of this. The follicles become inflamed and if left untreated scar the scalp stopping further hair growth. Constant shaving will encourage ingrowing hairs.
Another cause for hair loss can be general poor health, stress, medication and a poor diet. If living in tropical heat the sun can cause damage to the scalp leaving it dry and itchy. This will harm the hair follicles which eventually stop producing hair or only short stubs of hair will grow. Hair problems have the same initial causes no matter what race, creed or colour the person is. Traditional dress and head wear can stop a full head of hair from growing as it can destroy the hair follicles.
Poor diet will result in hair loss in Afro Caribbean men as the scalp needs to receive nutrients in order for the hair follicles to stay healthy. The hair can break more easily than other hair types as there is less moisture naturally in the hair and the actual structure of the hair shaft has been found to be more delicate.
The haircare industry produces shampoos and conditioners especially designed to cater for Afro Caribbean hair, taking into account the dryer hair shafts, thicker more brittle frizzy hair. Applying essential oil onto the scalp and through the hair will help as the skin is able to absorb this oil and benefit the hair follicles down to the hair shafts. With the expertise that is available today any type of hair can be managed and controlled.
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