Study: Braids, Weaves and Hair Loss

There are new data on the damage that might be caused by styling techniques popular among black women.

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Reuters is reporting today on a new study providing further evidence linking braids and weaves to a permanent type of hair loss that affects many African-American women.

These styles cause prolonged pulling at the hair strands that may cause inflammation of the hair follicle, which has been showed to lead to scarring. This in turn can cause central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, a type of balding that starts at the top of the scalp and then spreads slowly.

"Our survey results suggest there is a high prevalence of central hair loss among African-American women," wrote study leader Angela Kyei of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Though the findings couldn't prove that hair grooming was at the base of the problem, women might still want to take the results into consideration, she added. (But if you've had a personal hair catastrophe or know someone who has, you don't need scientific proof to be convinced that some of the things we do for beauty in the hair department can lead to just the opposite.)

Sadly, the serious damage that can result from black women's favorite looks isn't exactly breaking (pun intended) news. As The Root’s Jacque Reid wrote in a recent piece about traction alopecia (hair loss caused by damaging weaves, wigs and relaxers), "dealing with damaged hair has become a typical part of the black female experience in America."

Read more at Reuters.

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