Woman Loses Hair From Weaves — and She's Not Alone

Beth Greenfield
·Senior Editor

An Instagram post from a hairstylist known for her stunning before-and-after shares of clients has gone viral this week, as it focuses on a young woman who has experienced severe hair loss due to years of wearing weaves and tight braids.

“This baby is 23 years old and suffering from severe hair loss due to braids, sew-ins, quick weaves, etc… Just by her letting me post this will change lives all across the world. Thank u for being a blessing,” wrote Jasmine Collins of Atlanta’s Razor Chic alongside her May 26 video post, which has had more than 324,000 views. “Again let me say that I’m not anti-weave, u just cannot live by it on an everyday basis. I tell people all the time, clients are chasing styles and stylists are chasing the dollar and ain’t nobody listening to the hair. This has to stop!!!”

Related: Rosie O’Donnell Gets Real About Women’s Hair Loss

In the short video, Collins is inspecting the young woman’s head while asking her about the “sew-ins” she has worn for years. “I want to let my hair breathe,” says the client, noting that she had worn the style since she graduated from high school.

Collins, a master stylist, continued her post by explaining that she felt compelled to use Instagram and her 409,000 followers as a “platform” to raise awareness. “These women are coming from all over the world to sit in my chair cause they want out and are tired, but can’t find anyone who can take care of their real hair,” she wrote. “If u only knew how many tears are shed in my chair cause of the mistakes they made chasing styles and convenience. Where in the hell is all the real stylists that know hair?”

Her post drew more than 2,000 commenters, some sharing their own stories of traction alopecia — oft-irreversible hair loss caused by styling stress, such as wearing too-tight braids or damaging weaves, which causes bleeding in the hair follicle. “A lot of women especially of color can relate to this hair crisis!!! I am glad there are stylists who truly care to educate women about their hair,” wrote one supporter.

Related: Could Your Favorite Hairstyle Be Leading to Hair Loss?

An 18-year-old commenter shared her own dilemma, noting that she has had similar bald patches for three years now. “It has grown back a little but after awhile it comes back again. I used to wear braids everyday to hide it but now I’m wearing wigs because braids just made it a lot worse,” she wrote. “It’s not easy being in high school and having so many people make fun of you because of the way your hair is.”

A recent study out of John Hopkins University and published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology found a “strong association,” particularly for African-American women, between hair loss and certain hair-stressing ’dos — including tight ponytails, tight buns, braids, dreadlocks, weaves, extensions, and chemical straightening, all of which were among the high-risk group. Moderate-risk hairstyles included thermal straightening, permanent weaving, and wigs with clips and hairline adhesives.

Back in 2012, the American Academy of Dermatology presented a report at its annual meeting regarding African-American hair, and the special care it needs in order to avoid damage. “Not only is African-American hair unique in appearance, its unique structure makes it especially fragile and prone to injury and damage,” the report began. “More than half of African-American women will cite thinning hair or hair loss as their top hair care concern.” Styling tips included having relaxers done only by a professional and touch ups not more than every eight to 12 weeks; to not heat hair more than once a week; to ensure that braids, cornrows, and weaves are not too tight (“Pain equals damage,” it warns); and to see a dermatologist at the slightest hint of hair loss.

Follow-up images of the 23-year-old client, posted by Collins, show her hair styled into a glossy pixie, with no visible bald patches. Most of the comments were shout outs to the stylist, noting, “She slayed this,” “Excellent,” “gifted hands,” and “Kudos to you for doing this.” At least one, though, pointed out that the style was not exactly natural, and wondered about how healthy it would be.

“You did an amazing job BUT it looks like you put a chemical straightener in her hair,” she noted. “I have been chemical free for 5 years and my stylist uses Basics which is an amino acid shampoo system that will keep the hair straight for up 12 weeks or 22 washes. No Chemicals!”

Yahoo Beauty has reached out to Collins for her take on this beautiful fix and has not yet heard back. But in the mean time, it was yet another commenter who might have put the solution into perspective: “This won’t solve it, but hair growth treatments and letting her hair follicles breathe and heal will,” the person notes. “In the meantime, she should be able to feel comfortable and confident. This provides that.”

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