In my pre-teen years, I found myself captivated by the incredible braiding skills of my neighbor, Miss Dorothy. She would sit on her front porch, weaving intricate cornrows and various braided styles for her young daughters, and I couldn't help but be fascinated.
The day my mother finally agreed to let Miss Dorothy braid my hair was thrilling. However, my excitement turned to uncertainty once the process was complete. The braids felt incredibly tight, especially around my hairline, leaving my skin indented. I jokingly looked like I had undergone a major eye lift due to the slanted appearance!
Despite the discomfort, Miss Dorothy's styles were undeniably impressive, and I found myself returning for more on numerous occasions. Little did I know, the damage had already begun, as my delicate and fine hair strands couldn't withstand the stress.
Nobody Knew or Spoke About Alopecia Back Then
The term "alopecia" wasn't part of anyone's vocabulary. All I knew was that I had developed bald patches, particularly around my temples and hairline, from front to back. Unfortunately, these areas refused to regrow. It wasn't until years later, after consulting a trichologist, an expert in hair and scalp disorders, that I received confirmation. The hair follicles were damaged and completely dead, condemning those spots to remain bald forever.
Alopecia Has Various Causes
Alopecia presents itself in various forms, with the most common being alopecia areata, a condition that results in hair loss from different body areas. In my case, traction alopecia was a preventable condition caused by improper braiding and styling techniques.
While it may be too late for me and others who've faced a similar fate to reverse the damage, there's an opportunity for you to learn from our experiences and become well-informed about alopecia, its various forms, and other types of hair loss. This knowledge will empower you to steer clear of the Miss Dorothys of your neighborhood (only the ones with bad braid and weave techniques - we love our Miss Dorothys!) and safeguard your precious coils, curls, and locs.
Remember, saying no to overly tight braids and excessive twisting of your locs is crucial in preventing traction alopecia.
Could You Be Dealing with Alopecia?
Are you concerned about alopecia? If you suspect you might be experiencing it, seeking confirmation from a specialist is essential. Personally, I received my consultation from a knowledgeable trichologist, Dr. Kari Williams, in Los Angeles.
For further insights into the causes and treatments of alopecia, I recommend checking out the informative article 'Do you have Alopecia' by Tia Williams on Essence.com. This article features expert input from Texas-based trichologist Dr. Linda Amerson.
If you're seeking relief from alopecia, conducting thorough research and finding a reputable trichologist can support you.
While I wish things could be different, I've come to terms with my hairline alopecia. I've discovered ways to camouflage it when needed skillfully. Though it isn't always easy, I've found methods to create the illusion of a natural hairline while styling my hair. And, of course, there's always the option to rock a stylish hat, head wrap, or wig when I feel like it. You know how we do! Here's to embracing our coils, curls, and culture! - Pamela