I am an absolute fan of Serena Willams. I love her drive, style and of course her banging body she is one of my sheroes. So when I saw this post on UK’s Daily Mail my heart sank for her. The mag alleges that weaves have taken a toll on Serena’s hair resulting in a bald patch on her crown. *insert the saddest of all sad faces*
It is unknown if this is actually a bald patch (could be a wig cap showing maybe?) but it does appear to be some form of hair loss. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv, but I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about the subject of weaves and hair loss. We were blown away last year when photos of Naomi Campbell displayed her tragic hair loss due to years of abuse through hair extensions.
- Just Say No. Weave bond/glue can reek havoc on your hair when trying to remove it so pass up the glue. While it is a cheaper alternative, this is not the place to pinch pennies.
- Reap What You Sew. Sewing in tracks is the industry best practice but you still need to be careful. Improper installation can lead to hair loss. Using the incorrect thread, braiding or sewing too tightly or adding to much weight can all cause major problems.
- If Only for One Night. If you want to add length/color/fullness but only need it for a special occasion (prom/wedding) consider using clip-in extensions. These are safer then the permanent alternatives but repeated use over time can also cause hair loss so be mindful.
- Protect the Line. Your hairline is made up of some of the most fragile hair on your head and once it is gone it may be difficult to grow back. Always choose to leave a wide perimeter around your hairline that is not sewn or braided.
- Gimme A Break. Do take a break and allow for your hair to rest without the added extensions. Taking your hair down for a day is not considered an adequate rest period.
- TLC. YOU MUST STILL CARE FOR YOUR HAIR WHILE WEARING A WEAVE! That includes proper cleansing of the scalp, providing moisture and lubrication as needed. You should also be checking for signs of distress. If there is a weft that has been sewn in too tight remove it immediately. Do not sacrifice your hair for a hairstyle! For hair care tips while wearing a weave check out this post from my girl Glamswagger. She has a beautiful head of natural hair but opts to wear weaves as an additional styling option.
If you experience major hair loss please, please, please go see a doctor. Do not try to diagnosis the issue on your own. There are many different types of hair loss and many different types of treatments so it is important that you are taking the appropriate care for your issue. Here are a few examples of possible issues:
- Breakage. Breakage occurs when the hair snaps along any part of the hairshaft. It can occur as a result of mechanical, heat or chemical damage.
- Shedding. Shedding is a result of the hair detaching from the scalp. If you examine the hairs closely you will still see the root bulb attached to the end of the hair. Excessive shedding can result from allergy, stress or hormones (especially after pregnancy).
- Alopecia. Alopecia Areata is a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles which cause them to fall out. (This is not to be confused with Androgenetic Alopecia which is inherited and is permanent.) Then there is Traction Alopecia which is from excessive pulling or tugging on the hair. Most cases of thinning hair around the hairline is traction alopecia from wearing tight ponytails, headbands, or braids.
If you take anything away from this post know that hair loss is real! I have seen traction alopecia in children as young as 6 from wearing ponytails that are too tight. While weaves can be a quick and fun way to change or enhance your style know the proper precautions and how to care for your hair. If you are experiencing hair loss please go see a medical professional. Most importantly avoid the trap of trying to cover up weave damage by installing another weave, that practice never ends well. Know that this is not just a Black girls issue or a natural hair issue, this effects all women who choose to wear hair extensions as discussed on Good Morning America.