The typical hair and hair follicles of those of African descent are tightly curled, thus producing hair that spirals. Black hair also typically has a larger diameter than Caucasian hair and retains less water, thus its relative “kinkiness.” The many styling methods utilized on Black hair cause concern with hair loss. Black hair is very strong, fortunately so because Black hair styles cause a great deal of stress on the hair and scalp.
For example, using a hair pick to pick the hair up to a bushy style is a very damaging process due to the constant pulling causing stress on the hair shaft as well as the follicle. In fact, combing Black hair in general can create high stress on Black hair and cause breakage, which perpetuates dryness. Conrowing and braiding are methods of hairstyling that pull the hair tight, and this can cause a great deal of stress on the hair and scalp resulting in hair loss. Braiding that results in the hair being pulled very tight can cause traumatic alopecia, a hair loss that is caused by trauma to the hair and scalp. Traumatic alopecia is usually reversible with proper hair care.
Hot combs and relaxers used to straighten hair can cause a great deal of heat and chemical damage to hair and scalp, which can also cause traumatic alopecia, and over time can cause permanent hair loss. This becomes especially true when the heat or chemically processed hair is pulled tight by rollers or a hot curling iron.
Hot oil conditioners are excellent for Black hair, as hot oil treatments contain proteins and polymers vital to repairing the hair cuticles. Hot oil treatments involve heating the oil and putting it into the hair and scalp, then covering the hair with a plastic cap to allow the oil to soak in. Follow the recommendations on the treatment you are using for the amount of time you should leave the treatment on the hair. This process can heal breakages and shinier stronger hair will be the result.