This Disease Causes Severe Hair Loss For Black Women


By Victor Trammell

Spectrum News NY1, a cable news channel that serves all five boroughs of the Greater New York City Metro Area did a special report on Saturday (July 15th), which covered a common disease that primarily affects women of African descent.

Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (or CCCA) is a disorder that causes hair loss in the scalp’s central area. It is not completely clear to mainstream dermatologists how or why CCCA affects roughly 40 percent of black women at some point during their lifetime.

However, many experts blame the usage of hot combs, excess heat and hot oils applied to the scalp, chemical hair relaxers, repeated tension from braids, tight hair rollers, weaves, extensions, as well as hereditary factors.

Venee Kimpson, a black woman who was diagnosed with chronic CCCA 15 years ago told Spectrum News NY1 that it has been difficult for her to accept her ordeal. She experienced discoloration in her scalp, itching, and eventually substantial hair loss.

“It was difficult to muster up the strength to go out every day. People would stare at you. You felt like they knew what was going on under that turban,” Kimpson told Spectrum News NY1 in her exclusive interview.

Kimpson also suffered from psoriasis of the scalp and told Spectrum News that her condition was mistreated by doctors she saw in the early stages of her diagnosis. However, a physician named Dr. Andrew Alexis (the Director of  Mount Sinai’s Skin of Color Center in New York City) did the right thing for Kimpson.

“When managing scalp psoriasis in African-American women, one has to take into account their hairstyle, their hair-washing frequency, the hair products that they’re using, their overall hair care practices, and weave in a regiment — a prescription regiment — that’s compatible with their hair care practices,” Dr. Alexis told Spectrum News.

Professionals like Dr. Alexis are opposed to the excessive usage of the popular hair care techniques, which are theoretically thought to be responsible for the increased cases of CCCA in black women. This is a good reason why a natural hair movement embraced by black women is taking shape.

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