By Brittany Gatson
What are the most common causes of hair loss for black women?
The idea that thinning hair is a guy problem is simply wrong. Forty percent of people who experience temporary or long term hair loss are women. Some have hair that is thinning all over, while others see the center part gradually widen. Still others develop distinct baldness at the crown of the head. Unlike men, women rarely develop a receding front hairline.
The average scalp has 100,000 hairs. Each follicle produces a single hair that grows at a rate of half an inch per month. After growing for two to six years, hair rests awhile before falling out. It’s soon replaced with a new hair, and the cycle begins again. At any given time, 85% of hair is growing, and the remainder is resting.
So what are some common reasons for hair loss in women?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of the neck. It produces hormones that regulate many processes throughout the body. If the gland makes too much or too little thyroid hormone, the hair growth cycle may falter. But hair loss is rarely the only sign of a thyroid problem. Other symptoms include weight gain or loss, sensitivity to cold or heat, and changes in heart rate.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a chronic hormonal imbalance. The body makes higher levels of androgens than expected. This often causes extra hair to sprout on the face and body, while hair on the scalp grows thinner. PCOS can also lead to ovulation problems, acne, and weight gain. But sometimes thinning hair is the only obvious sign.
Alopecia areata causes hair to fall out in startling patches. The culprit is the body’s own immune system, which mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles. In most cases, the damage is not permanent. The missing patches usually grow back in six months to a year. In rare cases, people may lose all of the hair on their scalp and body.
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