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Detroit Dermatologist Believes That Black Hair Styling Practices May Be The Cause Of Hair and Scalp Issues
“Bald head scallywag, ain’t got no hair in the back, gelled up, greased up, your hair is messed up”
Doctor Diane Jackson-Richards, M.D. isn’t saying anything that we haven’t already heard so this should not come as a surprise. Let’s be honest, Black women will fry and dye our hair to hell and back to achieve the perfect hairstyle even though we know that we could be damaging our hair. Ignoring all of the warnings that are given to us from hair experts we will still cry foul and pretend to not know or understand why our hair refuses to grow. The moment our hair starts to break off it is everyone else’s fault except our own. Never mind the fact that in the last 12 weeks you have dyed your hair, relaxed your hair, flat ironed your hair daily, blow-dried it several times a week, only wash your hair every few weeks and fail to keep it properly moisturized.
Doctor Jackson-Richards believes that all of this in addition to some of the styles that we place our hair in may be the cause of extreme hair loss and diseases in the scalp such as seborrheic dermatitis and alopecia (extreme dandruff and balding). According to Dr. Jackson-Richards, proper hair care could prevent a good majority of the issues that black women face when dealing with their hair.
Dr. Jackson-Richards makes the following suggestions to those who may be worried that they are ruining their hair:
- 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.
I can admit that I use to murder my hair. I did so much damage to my hair that I am surprised that I have not been charged with Assault and Battery…or Attempted Murder.
I got my first perm at the age of 11 and until about 5 years ago I was guilty of abusing my hair. Like clock work I relaxed my hair every 6 to 8 weeks because I wouldn’t dare be caught with rough edges and I flat ironed and curled my hair daily. As I entered my teens I discovered the power of micro braids so in addition to perming my hair I would then put braids in which only added more stress to my hair. I took it a step further when I discovered weaves. Luckily, I have always been blessed with having long hair and even when my hair would break off it didn’t take long for my hair to grow back.
It wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I became more conscious of the way I treated my hair. For a while I continued to relax my hair but instead of relaxing every 6 to 8 weeks, I would stretch for about 12 to 16 weeks. I then learned of something called protective styling. By using protective styles such as sew-ins, wigs, “bunning” and my new best friends Senegalese Twists, I was able to completely transition my hair to a healthy and natural state.
No one is saying that we can not style our hair to our own enjoyment or that these styles can not be done because if they are done properly and properly maintained, then these styles can actually help hair growth. However, the problem is that most black women do not know how to properly care for their hair. I have met many women who believe that leaving their braids or weaves in for months and not caring for their natural hair underneath will make their hair grow. This has to be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard, right next to the old belief that your hair will grow better the dirtier it is.
Are you killing your hair?