What is traction alopecia? 'Bad Hair Day' star Dr Meena Singh reveals why Black women lose more hair

What is traction alopecia? 'Bad Hair Day' star Dr Meena Singh reveals why Black women lose more hair
Dr Meena Singh tries tohelp her new patient, Shanae (drmeenasingh/Instagram, tlc)

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS: TLC aired a new program called 'Bad Hair Day,' starring Dr Meena Singh, an Overland Park dermatologist, on August 24. Shanae pays her a visit and expresses her wish that Dr Meena can perform a transplant.

Dr Singh works in Overland Park with another dermatologist and a hair restoration surgeon to address some of the most challenging hair-related cases. The show includes shots of Kansas City and follows real-life patients from their initial consultation through their follow-up. TLC began filming in 2020, so this show has been in the works for some years. During the broadcast, she revealed some startling facts about Black women and their struggle with terrible hair.


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Almost 50 per cent of black women suffer from hair loss. Few doctors, however, are aware of black hairstyling techniques, leaving many women to pick through useless – and even hazardous – advice on their own. Dr Singh, one of just a few dermatologists in the country who specializes in hair loss, gives advice to women on maintaining their hair and spot frequent warning signs of hair loss. She explains how hair loss was one of the main reasons for which Black women, in particular, sought dermatological care. For other demographics, she adds acne, skin cancer, and other issues that may be more widespread, but for Black women, it was hair loss. This signifies that it had a huge impact on the community. Black women, in particular, are prone to traction alopecia, a kind of hair loss caused by chemicals, heat, and tight fashions that pull at the hair root, such as certain dreadlocks, braids, extensions, and weaves.

Shanae informs Dr Singh that she has been experiencing hair loss for almost 10 years. It began from about the time she was in the military. Since military personnel are required to wear their hair back, this might have exacerbated the hair loss. Shanae had previously been diagnosed with traction alopecia, which Dr Singh wished to confirm.

Traction alopecia, according to Dr Singh, is caused by tension or tight hairstyles. She recalls how most people are raised by mothers who want their children to seem flawless and do not want others to believe they are failing to care for them. In this case, parents prefer to pull their children's hair back into tight ponytails, which may appear beautiful on the day, but those recurrent hairstyles might cause hair loss over time.

'Bad Hair Day,' TLC's latest medical reality show, airs every Wednesday at 10 pm ET.

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