A lecturer and Consultant Dermatologist at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Prof. Adebola Ogunbiyi, says Nigerians do not have adequate knowledge about their hair.
Ogunbiyi told the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan on Thursday that hair loss is a common condition that affects most people at some time in their lives.
She said many men and women notice mild physiologic thinning of hair from mid 30s and 40s due to illness, emotional trauma, pregnancy, puberty and menopause; which are some major causes of hair loss.
She explained that hair loss from breakage of hair shaft is different from hair loss from decrease in hair growth; while hydro-genetic hair loss is common both in men and women.
She added that hair problems in Nigerian women had become worrisome, as most hair stylists are not properly trained and equipped in hair and scalp management.
Ogunbiyi said thyroid disease, anaemia, protein deficiency and low vitamin levels were major medical causes of hair loss.
She pointed out that alopecia areata (thinning of frontal hair) was a relatively common cause of hair loss.
She noted that “the lack of knowledge about hair management and improper training of local hair stylists are major causes of hair loss among Nigerian women.
“Most of these local stylists do not adhere to instructions from experts and as a result, customers’ hair and scalp are damaged when the stylists apply chemical or braid the hair.
“This is because of the nature of the African hair, which is shorter and breaks easily, Consequently, various grooming methods have become difficult and painful.
“Traction should be avoided when doing weaving, braiding and corn-row styles, as this may cause inflammation and breaking in future, particularly the frontal hair.”
Ogunbiyi advised that after the application of chemicals, hair should be washed thoroughly with water under the showers. This applies pressure that pushes out the chemicals.
She said good hygiene, regular shampooing and good nutrition, medical health screening for hair loss, high iron level and vitamin B are good for the prevention of hair loss.
She said medications indicated for hair re-growth are useful in managing hair loss, adding that these drugs are available over the counter at most pharmaceutical outlets.