Saturday, July 14, 2007

Lock Memoriam...and word to the wise...

This morning, I lost a lock. I wasn't surprised. Last night while watching television and looking for locks to re-tighten, I discovered this one hanging on by mere threads.

The loss of this lock is pretty timely actually. Yesterday an anonymous person asked me about hair loss and thinning with her Sisterlocks. I suggested that she see a dermatologist. A little poking around on the web reveals that over 30% of Americans experience hair loss. That figure is even higher for African American women. Hair loss may be due to a variety of factors and its possible with the intervention of a doctor to find the cause and possibly alleviate the problem.

Anonymous had thinning hair and was frustrated with her consultant. I wasn't quite clear if the two problems were related. But she asked about combining locks, I'm assuming to give the appearance of thicker locks. I thought combining locks for that reason was a bad idea. Especially because her hair is thinning all over. If your hair is thin all over, combining locks might make them too heavy and susceptible to breakage. Consultation with a Sisterlock provider you trust is key. I thought Anonymous should with with her doctor on the cause of her hair loss--medication-- rather than focusing on cosmetic bandaids. Usually combining locks is a technique to address problems with specific locks, not a solution to all-over thinning.

I know we all grew up with hairdressers who claimed to have the ability to 'grow' hair with their cutting techniques, product use or positive energy. But if you think about it, none of these approaches could possibly solve the causes of hair loss. My own grandmother was a hairdresser and claimed to have any number of remedies for hair loss. She sincerely believed they worked and many of her clients did too--who knows maybe they did, but I think we often misdirect our energy looking to someone who is trained to style hair to solve what may be a health problem. Previous generations may not have had access to doctors trained to address skin and hair problems, but now we often do. So use the right tool for the job, so to speak. See a hairstylist for arranging your hair and a doctor to address problems.

Black women are susceptible to alopecia--which can be episodic or permanent-- or hereditary baldness patterns. Medications or untreated health problems could be the cause of hair problems. Don't be afraid to go to the doctor and find out what might be happening.

After I got Sisterlocks, I had hair grow in and had to start new locks in places. And on occasion, I have lost locks. The first time it happened, I was shocked. It's not easy to lose a patch of hair like this. The one that broke this morning came out right in front, taking a chunk of real estate from my hairline. It will require some rearrangement for awhile to cover. But the section of hair where the lock belongs will grow back and I'll start another one. It probably broke due to too much tension...being pulled back into ponytails everyday or when I did the Soft Spike set. That's one reason to keep up with re-tightening, it stabilizes the tension of your hair at the base. It's possible the breakage is due to stress, poor nutrition, reaction to medications...etc. All these factors can affect our hair. Also don't put too much stress on your hair with too-tight hair styles. How many of us have seen poor little girls whose mothers have pulled their hair way too tight-- or teenagers giddy with independence over-processing their hair with too-frequent relaxers and color-- or grown women so determined to get their weave on that patches of hair are missing? Sigh. Many days I have walked around Harlem just marvelling at how we are collectively suffering hair trauma...but that's the subject of another post, another day.

I don't want the loss of my lock to be in If you lose a single Sisterlock, it probably isn't cause for alarm...though it may feel like it at the time it happens! If you are experiencing noticeable hair loss, please take care of yourself by seeing a dermatologist. You may just find that there is something that needs your attention. Hopefully, you'll also get a real solution to your troubles. Take good care of yourself, eat healthy, drink lots of water, take a biotin supplement. Don't ignore health problems. And if necessary, see a dermatologist. At the end of the day, our health is a lot more important than our hair!


Maryee said...

Sorry you lost a lock in the front. I've lost two on both sides like Goodnapps. I've lost so many til the sadness leaves quickly. I will definitely head out to see a dermatologist when I get gainfully employed. Thanks for sharing this post.

dalia said...

sound advice. i have a small patch of alopecia, and this has definitely halted my quest for locs. i don't want any undue tension on an already fragile spot... and since i love to do a pull-back style (and both sides of my hairline have always been thinner than the rest), i don't want to do any more damage. for now, i'll rock a twa, and be done with it.

oh, but how i wish i could have me some SLs, though...