Type in “Naomi Campbell” in Google Images and a picture of her thinning hairline comes up in the first row of results. For even more fun, type in “Naomi Campbell hair” or “Naomi Campbell hairline.” Unfortunately, Ms. Campbell has become the poster child of Traction Alopecia (TA) and the several blogs that have written about the subject (us included ;)) all use that infamous image of her as a cautionary tale.
The fact is Traction Alopecia is something we, as black women, should all be aware of given how much we style our hair. The condition is a form of hair loss due to force or excessive pulling on the hair. (Alopecia = gradual hair loss; traction alopecia = gradual hair loss from pulling). The bottom line about TA is once the damage is done, it likely can’t be repaired! So it’s very important to do what we can to prevent it.
What Causes Your Hairline to Thin
If you’re experiencing thinning edges it’s important to first understand what might be causing your edges to thin. Here’s a list of common culprits from Black Girl Long Hair and other hair authorities:
- Tight braids
- Weaves (as a result of the braids)
- Tight pony tails or buns or puffs
- Head bands, bonnets or wraps that are too tight around the edges
- Clipping in wigs can put strain on your hairline
- … do you see a trend…
- Chemical treatment like relaxers and hair dyes
- Using a brush and gel on your edges
- Too much heat
- Products with breakage inducing alcohols
- Dry edges
- Touching your hair too much
- You have fine hair to begin with
- Vitamin deficiencies, especially Vitamin D and iron
If none of the above is a possible cause of your hair loss, check with a dermatologist or doctor. There might be an underlying issue causing the loss.
What to do About Traction Alopecia
Give your Hair a Break
The biggest step to prevent or stop TA is to STOP WHATEVER IT IS YOUR DOING TO CAUSE IT. That means if you’re braiding your hair frequently. Stop. If you’re relaxing your hair frequently. Stop. Tight pony tails? Stop. Or at least give your hair a break. There are lots of alternative hair styles out there; just browse the looks on our site :).
Eat Right and Exercise
We’ve heard this before, but it’s the truth. Preventing or treating thinning edges and encouraging hair growth in general really requires a lifestyle change, that first begin with eating well and exercising.
Per, Naturally Curly, “Eating foods rich in protein will provide structure and strength. After all, the main component of hair is the protein keratin. Exercise also stimulates the blood to flow. If you eat the right foods, the nutrient-rich blood will nourish each hair follicle, promoting healthy hair growth.”
Try a Few Follicle-Cleaning and Stimulating Products
There are some products that can help stimulate growth by cleaning out the follicles and stimulating your scalp. TransitioningMovement.com has a great list. Below’s a summary of their reccos.
- Jamaican Black Castor Oil. This product came up a lot in articles about TA and comments on those articles. TransitioningMovement.com says “A daily or weekly (depending on the severity) deep temple massage will greatly improve circulation and stimulation of the hair follicle. JBCO is scientifically proven to remove toxins and impurities from the scalp.” Get it on Amazon
- Peppermint Oil & JoJoba Oil. “Peppermint Essential Oil is an antibacterial, known for removing impurities causing growth obstructions. Its cooling effect also relaxes the follicle, promoting healthy hair growth. Since Jojoba is the oil closest to that of our own natural oils, it is the best choice for a carrier oil. A soothing carrier oil is needed with Peppermint Oil because of how potent it can be.” Get Peppermint Oil and JoJoba on Amazon
- Aloe Vera. “The anti-bacterial properties of Aloe help you maintain a build-up-free scalp. While unclogging, it also balances and restores the pH, aiding in hair growth, shine and overall health.”
I must say that, although Naomi’s hairline is a little disturbing, I have to give her kudos for not letting it hold her back from enjoying fancy yacht vacations in Ibiza! It’s great to not care if the world sees you when you’re not looking your best. But if you can avoid being in that situation to begin with, I highly recommend that route.
Get the Products