Friday, November 19, 2010

Local dermatologist says black women are losing their hair faster than other races

Dr. Larry Shapiro says while hair loss is common for all women who constantly manipulate their hair with the use of extensions or chemicals, it is more common for black women and the damage done is hard to reverse. "It's going to pull your hair out."

It's a message Dr. Shapiro says he has been trying to put out there for years. "Extensions will cause a lot of weight, they pull on the hair. We see a lot of hair loss because of extensions."

Dr. Shapiro says the frequent use of wearing extensions can eventually cause a condition called traction alopecia. The hairline is pushed back and can ultimately disappear. Though they're popular with women of all races, they are most popular with black women right after relaxers.

Stay at home mom Peta-Gaye Watson says she has relaxed her hair for over 10 years but has never experienced the healthy long hair she has strived for.

"I had immense tremendous breakage especially on top here, it happens to me every two or three years," says Watson.

Dr. Shapiro says while aging does contribute to hair loss, relaxers speed up the process for black women as they age. "Relaxers are terrible for the hair they'll lose their hair over a period of time."

Watson says in most black homes the idea that relaxed hair made a woman more beautiful, acceptable and her hair more manageable, has been passed down for generations.

"We were all raised that way all of us, our parents, our moms taught us, their moms taught them and that's why we relax."

Watson decided to take a drastic step that many black women are considering...she chopped her hair off.

"OK this is me this is what I look like this is who I am."

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