Hair Care Can Pose Health Risks for Black
THURSDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Certain hairstyling
practices can result in serious hair and scalp diseases for some
black women, an expert warns.
"Hair is an extremely important aspect of an African American woman's appearance," Dr. Diane Jackson-Richards, director of Henry Ford Hospital's Multicultural Dermatology Clinic in Detroit, said in a hospital news release. "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."
Black women tend to shampoo their hair less often than other
ethnic groups, and about 80 percent of black women use chemical
relaxers, Jackson-Richards said.
She also said frequent use of blow-dryers and hot combs,
combined with popular hairstyles such as weaves, braids and
dreadlocks, cause physical stress to the hair and contribute to
scalp diseases such as alopecia, or hair loss.
Proper hair care can help prevent diseases such as alopecia and
an inflammatory skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis,
Jackson-Richards said Monday during a presentation at the American
Academy of Dermatology's annual conference in San Diego.
She said dermatologists need to become more aware of the hair
and scalp issues that can affect black women, and also offered the
following grooming tips to reduce the risk of developing a hair or
- Wash hair weekly with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner,
and limit the use of blow-dryers, hot combs and other heated
hairstyling products to once a week.
- 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
- Allow two weeks between relaxing and coloring.
- Wash braids or dreadlocks every two weeks. Don't wear braids
too tight and don't wear them longer than three months.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers an overview of
hair dyes and relaxers.
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