Intervention on Alopecia: Hair Loss explained

23rd June 2023

UKZN Extended Learning

– by Ayanda Radebe

For each and every individual person, hair can hold different meanings or significance in their lives. These meanings can be influenced by a number of factors such as culture. To many, hair is associated with beauty and can be a very important aspect of their physical appearance, while to some it forms part of their identity or self-expression.

Some may ask why people grow or cut their hair. In some cultures, hair identifies a person’s social status and to some individuals, hair can hold a vital spiritual significance. The way an individual chooses to wear their hair may even be due to health conditions they may be facing. It is vital for people to embrace and take care of their hair, and therefore important that they are educated on how best to do this. UKZN Extended Learning hosted the Introductory Masterclass to Hair Loss and Scalp Disorders for Hairstylists on the 8th of May 2023 with the aim of educating hair stylists and enthusiasts on the various scalp conditions and measures to treat them. The Masterclass featured numerous local experts as well as global facilitators across borders.

Dr Refentse Thobye, Dermatologist and lecturer (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) introduced the class by taking delegates through the anatomy and physiology of one’s hair and scalp. This is essential as it contributes to the understanding of hair types and the correct products one can use and how one can heal hair disorders. This further assisted delegates to understand why hair grows and how to differentiate between normal and abnormal hair loss. Hair can be affected by various disorders and one of the most common disorders are ‘traction alopecia’ which in the Nguni language is better known as ‘injibhabha’. Professor Ncoza Dlova, Dean and Head of School of Clinical Medicine Skin and Hair Professor and Dermatologist (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) took delegates through this type of disorder and some of the hairstyles that contribute to it that many hairstylists are not aware of. These include dreadlocks, braids or tightening hairstyles as well as hair relaxing. Professor Dlova advised that although these hairstyles can be used, it is also essential for one to understand the period in which you keep them and the right procedures for removing them. Alopecia commonly known as ‘hair loss’ can further lead to scarring that is permanent or non-permanent. For some patients, this can result in one having a dark face and can further lead to the loss of eyebrows.

Although there are methods that can assist in treating hair conditions, for example, hair transplants, this procedure is not a solution for everyone. While Certified Trichologist Lorna Jones (London, UK) took us through the tricks and trade of alopecia, deeply explaining hair camouflage, Dr Kavish Chouhan, Director & Co Founder of Dermaclinx (India) took delegates through the fundamentals of the hair transplant procedure and the post treatment. Dr Chouhan, also shared some of the natural products one may use depending on the type of hair they have, this included products such as, berries, yoghurt and eggs which are some of the key ingredients one may find in hair products.

Loreal works on coordinating product testing of African hair in which they are also deeply involved with dermatologists to exchange knowledge with the goals of educating individuals on hair. The research helps individuals in classifying hair or curl types and further provides knowledge on hair diversity and ways to work with sensitive scalps. In as much as accurate knowledge may be shared, dermatologists shared a fair amount of concerns patients present to them in the process of the diagnosis and treatment of hair. Below are some of the myths shared by Dr Yolanda Lenzy, Dermatologist (Washington DC, USA):

  • Protective styles make your hair grow
  • Dirty hair grows better and dandruff means hair is growing
  • Biotin is needed for hair growth
  • Oils and Butters is the best moisturizer for dry hair
  • You have to use topical minoxidil/Rogaine for life

The Masterclass aimed to provide knowledge for hairstylists to detect scalp conditions early and minimize the effects of hairstyles or products that may negatively affect patient’s hair. Delegates also found the class to be fruitful and informative, where one expressed that “I was very happy to learn about the different chemicals and their effect on hair because before I would just recommend any to my clients for as long as their hair is moisturized”.

Diane Bailey, Master Stylist and educator from the USA, provided coaching on damaged hair and shared health tips as well as appropriate shampoos and conditioners for different hair types. She also alerted stylists on shampoos that can cause hair freeze if used aggressively.

It is important to remember that hair loss is a natural part of the aging process for many people. However, if you are concerned about your hair loss, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor or a hair loss specialist as they can assist to determine the cause of your hair loss and recommend the best treatment plan for your individual needs.

For the Introductory to Hair Loss and Scalp Disorders Masterclass for Hairstylist, Loreal has sponsored spaces for any hair stylists across the globe who may be disadvantaged and wish to gain skills in this sector, the individuals are eligible to complete the masterclass via this sponsorship.

If you missed this Masterclass but would still like to register for the recorded programme, please click here for more information.