Five Most Popular Reasons for Thinning Hair on African American Women

This is a really good article about the issue of hair thinning with African American Women. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Peace 🙂

Healthy Scalp, Healthy Locs

Nyesha Samuel – Master Loctician

Five Most Popular Reasons for Thinning Hair on African American Women

As if black women didn’t have enough “hair issues”, there is yet another that many are plagued with: thinning hair. Men of all ethnic groups are typically plagued with receding hairlines. Nonetheless, it can be particularly distressing when black women discover that their hairlines are beginning to dissipate before their very eyes. But what some women don’t realize is that the thinning has much to do with what they’re doing (and having done) to their tresses. In the attempt to affect that perfect style, African American hair is often manipulated in ways that create cumulative damage. There are actually some pretty explicable reasons for this kind of damage.

Unbe-weavable Thinning

Many women have their hair weaved while they’re attempting to grow out an unflattering haircut. Others wear weaves to cover already thin areas. Ironically, the weaves themselves are frequently damaging to the hair. For instance, when hair extensions are glued in, they must be removed with a substance designed to dissolve the glue. Some weave-wearers actually pull their own hair out, by failing to remove the extensions properly. The destruction isn’t always seen right away. But over a period of time, constantly pulling these track extensions results in thinning in the areas where the weave was applied. The same sentiment also applies to lace front wigs: the glue used to secure the wigs must be applied in such a way that the natural hairline is not affected. Nonetheless, those who are not schooled in the correct way to apply and remove these units often do more damage than they realize.

Braids Should Help, not Hurt

Another popular reason why black women see the hair literally falling away from their edges is because of the way their hair is braided. In short, having your hair braided shouldn’t hurt. Seeing redness, bumps, or excessive scaling around the edges each time your hair is braided means that it is being braided too tightly. Some hairstylists don’t know the strength of their own hands. Other stylists braid tightly at the customer’s request, in an attempt to maintain the style as long as possible. Again, if a woman wears this fashion for a long period of time, having her braids “touched up” frequently, the breakage will occur. In many cases, the breakage becomes so severe that the hair fails to grow back.

Chemical Over-Processing

Chemical relaxers are the primary cause of hair damage. Over-processing runs rampant in the black community, as women don’t like seeing their new growth popping out along their edges. But this incredibly sensitive area of the head should be left alone to grow out for at least 6 to 8 weeks. Continuing to get touch-ups on these areas makes them weaker, especially since the probability of inadvertently re-processing the shaft is highly likely. If you have ever wondered why you can’t seem to get the front of your hair to grow as long as the back, it is probably because this area of your scalp is never afforded the chance to catch up with the rest of your hair.

Allergies to Products

There are also so many styling products on the market that African American women fail to appropriately test them to see if their skin is compatible. Every woman can’t handle the harsh chemicals in some of the styling products. Some gels and waxes used to smooth edges actually contain alcohol, which ultimately is a drying agent. Coupled with the extreme brushing and manipulation, the hair can literally be brushed into “thinness.” Read ingredients carefully to make sure that you’re putting something in your hair that won’t damage either the shaft or your scalp.


Yes, there are definitely genetic issues that will cause a black woman to experience thinning. Sometimes, the thinning accompanies aging. Some suffer from a condition called androgenetic alopecia (female hair loss.) But in essence, if you’ve noticed that hair seems to be leaving the crown or other areas of your scalp, there may be a dermatological issue at hand. The hair sheds naturally. So seeing a few hairs in your brush or comb is certainly normal. But if you notice that the hair left in your comb seems a bit thicker than it should be, you should definitely keep an eye out. Gather the hair, and place it in a plastic zip loc bag. This may sound strange; but doing so will help you to gauge exactly how much hair you’re losing. Your dermatologist will also be better able to diagnose a problem if you can attest to how much hair has been lost—and over what period of time.

By Ayana G

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4 thoughts on “Five Most Popular Reasons for Thinning Hair on African American Women

  1. This is not a new article judging by the dates of the past comments, however the information is new to me!. I am a loc newbie, so I really appreciate this information. Thank you!

  2. This is a very informative article. I can attest to using chemicals not realizing how damaging it was to my hair. I can certainly appreciate being natural and locked, coming to terms that my hair will not do what the media deems the epitome of beauty. Knowledge is power. Thanks you for sharing.

  3. The article was informative. Some stuff about thinning hair, I knew but it never hurts to reinterate. I have been dealing with thinning myself. Part of it is hereditary. Also, I have worn braids years ago and often times too tight. That pulling has caused damaged at the nape as well. I did “chop” all the perm out and got my hair cut to a twa. So right now, I’m trying to learn to live without the harsh chemicals. I’m letting my natural hair do it’s own thing and will take it as it comes. As always, thanks for the info.

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