Avoid damage to African-American hair with these tips!

Apr 19th, 2012 | Category: Beauty Tips!

Not only is African-American hair unique in appearance but its unique structure makes it especially fragile and prone to injury and damage. More than half of African-American women will cite thinning hair or hair loss as their top hair care concern, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. To help minimize damage, dermatologists have shared several hair care tips.

The following information was presented earlier this year at American Academy of Dermatology’s 70th Annual Meeting by Raechele Cochran Gathers, MD, FAAD, senior physician at the Multi-Cultural Dermatology Center of Henry Ford Hospital Department of Dermatology in Detroit.



• Hair should be washed once a week or every other week to avoid build-up of hair care products, which can be drying to hair.

• Conditioners should be used every time hair is washed. Special attention should be paid to the ends, which are the oldest and most fragile part of the hair.

• If you work out regularly, it is a good idea to rinse the hair with water to remove sweat and salt buildup between washings. You can follow with a conditioner. Also, water is good for hair and adds moisture.


• Dr. Gathers recommends hair care products that contain natural ingredients, such as olive oil, shea butter, aloe vera juice or gel, or glycerin, as they help dry hair maintain moisture.

• Shampoos that contain sulfates can be drying for some hair types, especially if hair is washed frequently.

• Conditioners that contain wheat proteins, amino acids, hydrolyzed proteins or panthenol are recommended by Dr. Gathers.

• Hot oil treatments should be used twice per month to add additional moisture and elasticity to the hair.

• Heat protectants should be used on hair after washing and before hair is heat styled to minimize heat damage.


• Relaxers should be applied by a professional hair stylist to ensure they are applied safely and to minimize hair damage

• Touch-ups with relaxers should not be done too frequently (every eight to 12 weeks to new hair growth is recommended), as they can cause hair breakage. Never apply relaxer to hair that has already been relaxed.

• Ceramic combs or irons should be used when pressing (thermally straightening) hair. It is best to use heat no more than once weekly.

• A straightening device with a dial temperature is preferred to ensure the device is not too hot.

• Braids, cornrows or weaves should not be too tight. If it hurts while hair is being styled, tell the stylist to stop and redo it. Pain equals damage.

• Even the slightest bit of noticeable thinning can be the start of hair loss, so women should see a dermatologist immediately if they notice any changes in the texture or appearance of their hair.

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