RIP: My Hair
I knew this day was gonna come. I haven’t been a stranger to a pair of shears before, but this time it’s different. I have to cut off all of my locs and rock a prosthetic wig. Hopefully for a lil while until(if) my hair grows back. What I was diagnosed with recently is a condition called Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia(CCCA). I call this disease the silent killer of hair follicles. Not too many people realize they have it because they have been in denial like myself for a while and think that all they need are some herbs and spices, a lil TLC, and the hair should grow back in no time. Over a period of time however, if it’s left untreated, you could damage your head and scalp in what would result in permanent hair loss. That’s what I have in the top and middle parts of my hair.
CCCA is basically scarring alopecia. It is a rare scalp disorder that attacks the hair follicles and causes scar tissue to form underneath the surface. It’s similiar to male pattern baldness and seems to be prevalent in African Americans. Once the scalp has scarred, and there’s baldness, there’s no way for the hair to grow back in that area. It was once called Hot Comb Alopecia back in the 1960′s because if the heat and petroleum products used to straighten hair that ended up burning the scalp and leaving scarring. Many women reported that they have never used a hot comb and doctors even to this day have not figured out what is the main cause. I’m lucky to have caught it in it’s early stage but some, not so lucky. I have a family history of hair loss and I am also anemic, which is another major culprit. Another major killer of course is traction. Any kind of pulling and tugging on my scalp causes severe itching, burning and soreness. Often times I would end up in tears because my scalp would hurt so bad. I tried just about every product on the market to make the itch stop, but nothing seems to work. And plus, I am tired of being one of those sistas that would pat their hair to keep it from itching. Hell I’m wearing my own natural hair!! Why do I need to pat it so much? I would subject myself to a lifetime supply of minoxidil(rogaine) but my mom says that once you’re off that stuf, the itching and burning commences with a vengenance. So yeah, I cut my hair.
My dermatologist is white and I was trying to get a sista derm who understood why I didn”t want to cut my hair just yet. I just started to see some length to my locs and they were already touching my shoulders. Plus, I had to get some hair pieces attached to the thinner ones and my stylist combined the entire fron row because they were so thin. But I can’t take this itching and burning any longer. I am on steroid cream as of right now. It hasn’t quite hit me that I will be losing my hair for the rest of my life and have to wear wigs and hair pieces permanently. It could be a lot worse. I could have been told that I had cancer and losing my hair would have been the least of my worries. I still stand by my post Hair Snobbery and want to add that obessesing over why your hair seems drier than others or what products seem to not work for your hair seems pretty trivial when there could be a underlying issue. I never understood why so many sistas continue to hold on to little strands of hair amidst bald patches. And the only thing they can say is that they just need to find that one magic formula that will make their hair grow back. Sorry, just like the diet pill, a magic hair pill does not exist. Many of us measure who we are by the length, texture, color and style of our hair. It’s a sad state that many women do not know why they are losing their hair and blame other factors besides what’s going on in their bodies and do not listen to doctors who may not culturally identify with our hair struggles but could be right in their diagnosis. Yep, that person was me for a while. I certainly don’t knock the natural hair movement and am happy to see more and more sistas going natural and becoming entreprenuers and giving voice to what someone like me has known for over 10 years now. I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one going thru this so if you want to share your story, feel free to comment.
I want to share this video I just saw about a young woman going thru the same problem I have. I just want to say that I did get a second opinion and was told the same thing, except that I needed to wash my hair more since I also had dermatitis. The 3rd time was when they confirmed what I had and the doc even had the nerve to ask why I hadn’t cut my hair yet. Anyway, here’s the video : Central Scarring Alopecia