Hair Transplants For Black Women May Be The Answer
When we think of hair transplants, the image of balding men and hair plugs comes to mind. However, hair transplants are much more sophisticated and effective. What’s more, they can be an effective treatment option for women, specifically Black women. More than 55 million Americans suffer from at least one type of hair loss, with many of these women. In fact, for black women, up to 50% may experience some form of hair loss. This hair loss can be devastating, severely impacting confidence. The condition is also costly, as many spend thousands per year on methods to cover up hair loss. Hair transplants for black women are a long-term, near-permanent solution for severe hair loss.
At Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics, we’ve helped hundreds of women with hair loss of varying degrees. For patients where the damage is severe, simple over-the-counter treatments may not be enough. When we introduce the idea of hair transplants, patients are skeptical. However, the before and after pictures are undeniable.
We will explore why hair loss happens in black women and what happens during hair transplants.
What is hair loss anyway?
We will see strands of hair on our pillows, in our hairbrushes, or in the shower from time to time. This is a normal process, as we shed up to 100 hair follicles a day. Our hair goes through multiple cycles that begin with the growing phase (anagen), then a resting phase (telogen), to finally a shedding phase (exogen). When too many hair follicles end up in the resting stage, we have hair loss.
New hair follicles cannot grow fast enough or stop growing altogether. When the hair stops growing, there could be damage to the hair follicles themselves, either due to inflammation or scarring.
Hair loss can happen at a specific part of the scalp or impact the entire head. There are several reasons for hair loss, both temporary and permanent.
Reasons for hair loss
Androgenetic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss. This is a genetic decline in the quality and quantity of hair follicles, often called female-pattern baldness. Male pattern baldness happens in an ‘M’ pattern, starting at each side of the temples and receding to the top of the head. Women see thinning at the part line and continue at the top of the scalp. This can happen to almost all women at varying degrees and usually occurs with age.
Telogen effluvium is another form of thinning and baldness. It’s characterized by extreme shedding and hair loss, mainly as a side effect of another concern. Telogen effluvium is often triggered by high stress, childbirth, menopause, or pregnancy loss. Other reasons include a poor diet, hormone changes, an autoimmune condition, or certain medications. Addressing the underlying cause is often enough to restart hair growth.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that creates sudden, excessive hair loss. It’s characterized by patches of hair that fall out of the scalp and can happen on other parts of the body. The white blood cells attack the hair follicles that can slow down hair growth. In extreme cases, patients can experience complete hair loss of the scalp.
Black women and hair loss
Hair loss is a particularly distressing issue for Black women. Hair is a deep part of our culture, and most practices shape cultural norms worldwide. However, most cases of severe hair loss happen over years of these same practices, which are detrimental to hair growth. These include braids, cornrows, and extensions.
There are also several misconceptions and stigmas about natural hair that cause black women to adopt practices that cause long-term harm. For instance, many have been led to believe that natural hair is unkempt and hard to manage. As a result, some women adopt hair relaxers, hot irons, and weaves. These practices can create one (or all) of three conditions:
1. CCCA- A severe form of hair loss
Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA) is a condition where permanent hair loss occurs at the center of the scalp. The hair loss adopts an almost circular pattern at the top of the head that slowly moves outward. CCCA is linked to tight hairstyles like braids, cornrows, and extensions or constant use of chemical relaxers.
CCCA can happen at varying stages, with the most severe (stage 5), causing scarring and permanent hair loss. Along with hair loss, symptoms will include itching, burning, redness, flaking, and small white bumps.
2. Traction alopecia
Traction alopecia refers to hair loss due to repetitive tension and stress on the scalp. Certain hairstyles like ponytails, braids, extensions, and cornrows can damage hair follicles, particularly the hairline and nape. Hair products and hot irons along the hairline can also cause damage and hair loss. Traction alopecia is revisable when identified early. However, most cases cause long-term, sometimes irreversible damage. Like CCCA, you’ll notice redness, itching, soreness, and bumps along the hairline. The hairline will be unable to produce new hair without dermatologist-recommended treatment.
Sometimes, healthy hair can simply break away from the root due to different habits and practices. Using rubber bands and hair ties, for instance, can cause breakage. Blow dryers, hot irons, curling tools, and other hair devices can cause excess dryness, which increases the chances of hair breaking from the root. Some hair products and shampoos with a high pH can cause damage. Breakage and traction alopecia often coincide.
How hair transplants can help black women
Hair transplants are not the first step in treatment. At Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics, we take a comprehensive approach to hair loss. At first, a biopsy can help us determine what type of hair loss you may be suffering from and what treatment options can work.
Early treatment of CCCA and traction alopecia consists of corticosteroids, antibacterial creams, and antifungal creams. These, together with prescription Minoxidil (Rogaine) and hair supplements, can help. However, many cases have severe, permanent scarring. These treatments can help reduce inflammation but may not be enough to regrow your hair. Hair transplants for black women can provide results over time through discreet, minimally invasive treatment.
How hair transplants for black women work
In short, hair transplants take hair from a healthy part of the scalp or body and move (transplants) it to a damaged position to encourage hair growth. Hair transplants have been around since the 1950s and have been mainly popular with men. However, today, more and more women are reaping the benefits of the procedure. Hair transplants are known as the best therapy for hair loss since it uses the body’s hair follicles and provide long-term results. There are two main types of hair transplant procedures: Follicular Unit Transplant and Follicular Unit Extraction.
FUT vs. FUE
Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) is a surgical procedure and the first hair transplant developed by doctors. The process involves removing a scalp sample from the patient, usually from the back or sides of the head. The incision is closed with stitches and hidden within the hair for a natural look. The skin sample is then stripped into 500 to 200 different hair grafts. These grafts are then carefully implanted in the problem area, like the scalp or hairline. The surgeon makes tiny punctures and installs the grafts. FUT is an effective hair transplant method but can be painful and needs some downtime for healing.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) was created as an easier alternative to FUT. The distinct advantage is the removal of hair follicles without incisions, faster recovery, and little to no scarring. The surgeon uses an extraction tool to remove the follicles necessary for transplantation. The strands are treated with a special solution then transferred to the area with hair loss. FUT is an excellent option for patients who have sufficient hair in other areas for extraction.
NEOGraft hair transplants
At Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics, we use the NEOGraft Follicular Unit Extraction method. The NEOGraft device is a semi-automatic process that improves the accuracy and results of the hair transplant. First, we use the device to determine the best follicles to extract without any scars using a suction method. Next, we prepare the grafts then implant them in the target area. Finally, our team implants the follicles so that your hair looks and grows naturally. With NEOGraft, hair transplants are faster than conventional FUE, with a higher follicle survival rate.
What black women should expect during a hair transplant
If you decide on a hair transplant, you will have an initial consultation where we will explain the steps in the procedure. Then, we will identify areas we will harvest the follicles and set a date for the transplant. At this point, patients get a chance to ask questions and address concerns. We will also provide some do’s and don’ts to ensure a smooth procedure. Several weeks before the transplant, you may be required to take supplements or other prescription treatments to increase the chances of success.
On the day of the surgery, we may shave the donor areas to get access to the follicles. In some cases, we will use multiple donor areas to avoid overharvesting. A topical anesthetic will ensure the process is pain-free. The next steps involve removing and treating the follicles, taking 1-2 hours. The implantation period comes next, taking time due to its delicate nature. In some cases, you will need additional sessions to complete the transplant. After transplantation, we will apply a bandage to the treatment areas to start recovery.
Final results and aftercare
Thanks to the NEOGraft process, the recovery time is shorter than surgical transfers. Patients should experience minimal scarring, swelling, and pain. Hair growth should start within 3-4 months. Before then, patients may experience some hair loss, which is natural. It may take up to 18 months to see the final results.
Taking care of your hair during recovery and beyond is critical for a successful procedure. Avoid strenuous activities, sweating, and hair products during the first week of recovery. If you notice excess pain, swelling, or redness past one week, speak with your dermatologist immediately. Use fragrance-free, dermatologist-recommended shampoos during recovery. You may also receive supplements and prescription medication like Minoxidil to encourage hair growth. Follow the instructions for the best results.
When your hair returns, some simple changes can prevent a reoccurrence of hair loss due to excess tension, heat, or trauma. Wearing hair naturally while reducing the length of time in braids, ponytails, and buns can help. Avoid relaxers and harsh chemicals and reduce the occasions you use heat or curling irons. Continue to main healthy hair practices along with a healthy diet, and your hair transplant will last for years.
Hair transplants for black women are a difference-maker
If you’ve noticed prolonged hair loss at the center of the scalp or hairline, you may be experiencing CCCA, traction alopecia, or both. You must take action immediately by seeing your dermatologist or trichologist.
Black women with severe hair loss are often ashamed when they look in the mirror. Most resort to wigs and other hair coverings.
Others contemplate going bald or keeping their hair low when deep down they want to restore their hairlines and scalps.
If you’re one of these women, don’t give up hope.
Hair transplants for black women bring back the joy and confidence lost with these damaged hair follicles. More than 90% of follicles survive thanks to the NEOGraft process, and 80% of patients are satisfied with the results.
Reach out to Eternal Dermatology
At Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics, our lead dermatologist and founder, Dr. Ife Rodney, understands the needs of her patients. Our team provides a comprehensive review of your hair loss and provides the most effective treatment techniques available. We use the latest technology for a fast, safe procedure that brings the best results for hair transplants.
And as a woman of color, Dr. Rodney has a deep understanding of black hair, how it grows, and what it needs to remain healthy. She’s also versed in hair transplants for black women, so the results look as natural as possible. So, if you have been struggling with years of hair loss, let us help you with an urgent consultation. We serve customers in Maryland, particularly Silver Spring, Fulton, and Howard County. At Eternal Dermatology +Aesthetics, we care about your hair, and we’re confident that hair transplants are the answer for long-term, permanent hair loss.