Black Women and Hair Loss and Solutions

Black women say they have had enough
they are going natural


It’s a nine billion dollar industry. From hair relaxers, to extensions and now the popular lace front wig, black women are the biggest target for hair companies, known to spend large amounts of cash on their hair no matter how much the economy flips.

“I asked my stylist if he was worried about the recession, he said no because black women will always get their hair done, ” says Peta-Gaye Watson.

Hair relaxers promise to take the “kink” of black hair and make it bone straight and whether they are glued in or sewn in, hair extensions give black women the shine and length they want while wigs make it possible to do all three in less than five minutes. Dr. Larry Shapiro, a dermatologist in Delray Beach, has been doing hair transplants for more that 20 years. He says all this manipulation black women do to their hair is causing it to fall out.

“It’s going to pull your hair out and your going to have permanent hair loss, I see it all the time in my practice.”

Most black women know the unpublished rules to follow before getting a relaxer.

“You’rer not suppose to scratch,” says Laurendia Rabeau,” you can burn, get scabs, some people cry.”

And traction alopecia can be a result of braiding and wearing extensions for long periods of time, causing the hairline be pushed back or disappear. But despite the harmful health effects those images of long, straight hair have taken a toll on young black girls like Gianna Louisma. Gianna is all smiles while playing at home but her mother, Joe-Hannah, says it’s a different story when she goes to school.

“She would voice to me that her friends would tease her about her hair.”

Joe-Hannah says because young black girls, like her daughter, have been conditioned to believe beauty is having long, straight hair they develop insecurities as youngsters.

“She wanted that straight flowing hair, she wanted hair like her friends and she also mentioned she wanted hair like mine.”

Joe-Hannah says she’s been getting her hair relaxed for over 10 years but never thought her hair habits would affect her daughter so deeply.

“I tried to reassure her that her hair was beautiful like her mommy and daddy,” Joe-Hannah says.

“After seeing her first grader being teased on the playground and watching her insecurity build, Joe-Hannah decided to take a big step.

“One day after school I picked her up and went to the barber and chopped it off, she loved it she was like ‘oh my gosh mommy you look so beautiful you have hair like me!’ ”

And this is where the story hits home for me. When I started in television news I was told I needed to get extensions, so I did and began to almost immediately move up the news ladder. For six years I faithfully wore extensions and wigs, but like these women I was tired of the damage being done to my real hair. It grew but was weak from all of the pulling and I began losing it. So after years of manipulation I took the brave step of going natural. It’s a big change for the women who take this path.

Peta-Gaye Watson says while she feared the stereotypes of going natural she let go and also made a drastic change.

“I’m seeing myself for the first time ever in my life,” says Peta-Gaye.

“I don’t care what other people think, get used to it because this is the way it’s going to be from now on, ” says Joe-Hannah.

Since cutting of her hair Joe-Hannah says her daughter has a new sense of pride in watching mommy’s hair grow like hers.

“I did it for my daughter and it makes me feel good inside.”

“I love my natural hair. It’s like my mom’s and it’s beautiful,” says little Gianna. There are solutions and lifestyle changes we can make to keep our hair.

Looking Great With Purpose

Achieving Body Sculpting Results without Surgery

Cosmetic surgeons can alter the contours of the body through various techniques, such as liposuction, tummy tucks, lifts and implants in order to achieve specific results. It is a booming business and the results are usually pleasing to patients. Is it possible to achieve some, if not all, of the same effects through diet and exercise without having to ‘go under the knife’?

The answer is both yes and no. We can definitely tone muscle groups for a firmer, well defined look. It is hard work and involves a change in both diet and physical activity. In order to alter body chemistry through the metabolic process, we need to adopt dietary plans that keep muscle tissues strong and flexible. Eating lean proteins as well as a diet high in antioxidant rich foods is important and keeping saturated fat levels to less than 7-8% of total consumption is a critical component of lifestyle body sculpting techniques. Exercise goes hand in hand with these dietary recommendations and is generally the hardest part of the sculpting process; not because the exercises are too hard, but because they take time, effort and discipline to order to complete. So, if you want the easier, more costly way out, go see a cosmetic surgeon. If you are willing to work hard and take the high road, come with us…

Cardio Work is a key component to getting rid of fat. Engage in activities that increase your heart rate. These include swimming, walking, bicycling, stair-climbing, elliptical training, running and dancing to name a few. Because these kinds of exercises engage the major muscle groups in your body, they burn calories efficiently. If you are looking for quicker results, try interval training wherein you alternate periods of low and high intensity exercise. For example, you could walk for three minutes and then jog for two or swim one lap in the pool as quickly as you can, followed by one lap of leisurely freestyle strokes. The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) recommends engaging in moderate intensity exercise five days per week for 30 minutes each session. It may seem like a lot of time, but within a 24 hour period of time, 30 minutes adds up to about 2% of the total day.

Strength Training will help to define sleek muscles. By using lighter weights and more repetitions we can create stronger muscles which in turn support skin. Because the skin is the largest organ in the body (about 15% of the body mass for the average adult) and skeletal muscles form the largest collection of body structures (about 40% of body mass), it makes sense that they are significantly affected by each other and strength training improves both by increasing the blood flow to the various parts of the body through exercise. An additional benefit of strength training is that more muscle mass (and less fat) helps to burn calories at rest. Try to incorporate strength training into your program at least two days per week.

By lowering body fat through diet, cardiovascular exercise, interval and strength training, we can achieve a leaner musculature and tight, ‘toned’ figures. It won’t happen overnight, but is well worth the effort.

Check with your physician or other heath-care provider before starting any diet or exercise program.

You must pay the price for better health and it is worth it.