Recently I came across the video below from popular YouTuber glamfun who’s had some distressing news from her dermatologist. In essence she noticed some thinning in areas of hair on her scalp and after which she was diagnosed as having the beginnings of Central Cetrifugal Cicatrical Alopecia.
The Wikipedia definition of Central Cetrifugal Cicatrical Alopecia is:
Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, hot comb alopecia, or follicular degeneration syndrome is a type of alopecia first noticed in African Americans in the 1950s and reported by LoPresti et al. in 1968 as a result of application of petrolatum followed by a stove-heated iron* comb. The original theory was that the hot petrolatum would travel down to the hair root, burn the follicle, and after repetitive injury scarring would result. Later CCCA was realized to affect men and women without a history significant for use of such styling techniques. Consequently, the terms “follicular degeneration syndrome” per Sperling and Sau in 1992 and then CCCA per Olsent et al. in 2003 were evolved. Plausible contributing factors may include other African-American styling techniques such as relaxers, tight braids, heavy extensions*, certain oils*, gels or pomades.
Yet another reason not to put anything but a natural oil near your scalp methinks. Anyway, if you have watched the video you will know that the dermatologist both recommended an ointment to help deal with the inflammation as well as a suggestion to consider relaxing her hair.
Glamfun has shown concern over the fact that the cream she was given contains petroleum/mineral oil* in it. The pharmaceutical industry uses mineral oil widely in their topical products because it is lightweight, but mostly because it is incredibly cheap.
There was also a 2005 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology which found that the purified and highly refined mineral oil used in the cosmetics industry actually doesn’t clog pores. But I’m not sure I would completely take the results from just one study as the last word on the subject.
I also understand that most of us after having seen our hair’s health improve after ditching the mineral oil*, the thought of having to use a product containing it again is frankly repulsive.
A Relaxer To The Rescue?
What really surprised me though was that the dermatologist suggested that she should get a relaxer to deal with the condition.
I am no doctor but I find this extraordinary advice especially considering that relaxers are noted as a possible cause of alopecia in the first place. Not to mention all the success stories from ladies who have had long standing bald patches begin to grow back in once they stopped using relaxers.
I can totally understand why one would think that a relaxer would help in her situation. With straight hair, the need to braid after every wash would undoubtedly be removed. This would mean less pulling on her scalp. But would it resolve the inflammation permanently when a relaxer is being re-applied every few months? Somehow I doubt it.
The truth is that treatments for Central Cetrifugal Cicatrical Alopecia are purely investigational at the moment which is fancy talk for there is no cure or treatment available yet. For this reason I think it would be important to follow a course of treatment that is the least likely to cause further scalp problems. Like I said, I am no doctor but somehow I don’t think that a relaxer is the answer.
What would you do if you were in her situation?
Mieshel Jett says
I would take hair supplements..
Angela Williams says
A doctor who advises someone to get relaxer to treat alopecia of any kind doesn’t have their patient’s best interest at heart, either that or there’s some collusion between the medical industry & hair care/relaxer manufacturers.
Roxanne Young says
Honestly I have seen amazing results with the Syntonics relaxer. I seems to make bad hair good. Its botanical and leaves the hair in outstanding condition. That’s the only one I would use!
Theresa Loscocco says
I was natural all my life and had no problems with my hair/scalp until 19 when I decided to try out the relaxers. After about 6 months of using them I started experiencing scalp issues, which took my dermatologist a year to diagnose as CCCA. Even after my diagnosis I continued to relax and noticed I was constantly dealing with flare ups. When I made the decision to stop using relaxers and go natural the health of my hair and scalp improved dramatically. CCCA is an auto immune inflammatory condition in which flare ups may occasionally be experienced, however, I have not experienced a single flare up in the last 4 years of being natural. I’m convinced that using relaxers directly lead to the development of my condition and I strongly discourage anyone from using them. There is nothing good for you in a relaxer. Period.
Yowanda Washington says
I was her. My dermatologist prescribed me antibiotics and a series of shots. I’ve been good for 2 years or better now. He made it very clear “no more relaxers”.
camile scott says
did you hair grow back?
Candace M. Chambers says
People just dont get it…no matter how “healthy” your hair may seem with a relaxer….chemicals are chemicals..smh. This stuff can eat through a coke can. Why does your stylist have to ” base ” your scalp down before applying?—so you wont get BURNS. I did the big chop 4-17-14 and it was one of the best decisions of my life. My hair is sooo much HEALTHIER, THICKER, AND GROWINH fast! I can put water/olive oil on it everyday, go swimming, workout/excercise, and the options go on. Compare your hair before the relaxer and after and there is a MAJOR difference. Thin, stringy, prone to breakage. #teamnatural
Candace M. Chambers says
LaKendra Glenn says
I think she was lying about what her doctor recommended.
Latoya Aaliyah Small says
5 years ago said goodbye to relaxers so not missing it!
Kimberly M. Thompson says
From the looks of her hair it seems like she had way too tight braids for years on end. Our hair needs a break and cannot take all that tugging!!!
Princess Taylor says
but its odd i never experienced, the breakage and hair loss on my temples when I did have a perm
Princess Taylor says
but I would not go back to the creamy crack of relaxers uhh uhh lol
Calandrial A. Afriyie says
I think i would just wear wigs when away from home.
Chantelle Dee says
It really pisses me off when African Americans seem to think that all black people are African American, black people do exist all over the world, not just in America
Jacey Nivar says
Over 6 years chemical free including products on the market .Some of the hair/skin products on the market contain the same ingredients that’s in a relaxer,Sodium Hydroxide (lye) etc….
Wanda Young says
I have the same diagnosis. I use the solution on my scalp and make sure I use a good shampoo and conditioner. I don’t know what else you can do. I’ve been dealing with this at least 5 years. The good thing it has not spread. Its only in the crown of my hair. But my hair is long enough that I can keep it pulled up. Thank God for that..