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Doctors' Notes

Hair Today…Gone Tomorrow

Welcome to Doctors’ Notes, our newest contribution from Urban Health correspondents (and husband and wife) physicians Dr. Rob and Dr. Karla Robinson.  The dynamic duo will be fielding questions about health, as it relates to African Americans.  Please feel free to send them questions via talkback@jetmag.comWe promise to keep it anonymous. 

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We’ve all experienced the transformation power of a fresh hair do’ and we can also attest to the fact that it takes work to create and maintain our mane. Add to that the cosmetic value that is placed upon hair in this society, and as a result, hair loss can be devastating.

While the cause of hair loss can be a highly complex issue ranging from medical problems to genetics to stress, there are a lot of regular hair care practices that we need to avoid and others we need to adopt to help our locks stay in good shape.

1. Go easy on the shampoo. A common myth to hair care is that we should be shampooing the hair. In reality, shampoo should be used to cleanse and loosen oils and buildup on the scalp. To avoid the hair becoming too dry and stripped of the nutrients it needs to stay moist, apply shampoo to the scalp and don’t massage into the hair.

2. Add some extra conditioner: A huge issue with our hair leading to severe breakage is the lack of moisture. Take every opportunity to condition the hair and replenish the oils and nutrients it needs to thrive. Don’t forget the value of the deep conditioner.

3. Avoid the heat. Although not always possible, it’s great to air dry the hair and avoid the heat. Blow drying, flat ironing, and curling the hair can cause it to be too dry. Reserve this heat and use no more than once every two weeks.

4. Tugging too much: Hair damage and breakage can be due to excessive pulling. This can come by way of tight braids, ponytails, or other means and leads to what is known as traction alopecia. Commonly seen in our children as we style their hair too tightly, this can also be seen in women wearing a lot of weaved hairstyles.

5. Poor weave hygiene: Braided weave styles are often too tight and break the hairs, and the glued weave styles often pull and break the hairs upon removal. When wearing weave make sure it is applied by a licensed professional and isn’t too heavy or too tight. Always cleanse the scalp regularly to avoid infection, and never wear for more than two to three months at a time before giving your hair a break from the style.

6. Resist the royal treatment: To keep your hair healthy, avoid having multiple services done at one visit. It is always best to separate all chemicals, colors, and traction style services out. Make sure there are at least a couple of weeks between the services to avoid excessive damage.

It’s important to note that some hair loss is to be expected daily. On average 50-100 hairs per day can be shed normally. However, it is always best to seek the attention of a medical professional for a full evaluation when you notice excessive or prolonged hair loss and/or thinning.

It’s a health thing…we’ve got to understand!

About the Doctors: Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob are the founders of Urban Housecall, a multimedia health and wellness resource, and also hosts of the Urban Housecall Radio Show.  For more from the doctors, visit their website at www.urbanhousecall.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @urbanhousecall!

(Black model image via Shutterstock)