Black women have got it hard! First Glamour magazine tells them that Afros and dreads are absolutely not okay for the workplace, and now a new study shows that wearing tight braids/cornrows yields extreme hair loss in women:
A study of nearly 2,000 adults and children in South Africa found that one in seven schoolgirls and a third of women were suffering from "traction alopecia", hair loss thought to be caused by excessive and prolonged pulling of the hair....Hair loss was found to be more common in children whose hair had been chemically "relaxed" or straightened to form a ponytail. One in five children with relaxed hair had traction alopecia, against just one in twenty of those with natural hair. In adults, hair loss was found to be more likely among women with either "relaxed" hair or braided natural hair, as against natural hair without braids; and it was most common when the hair was relaxed and also had extensions (such as braids or weaves) attached.
And while women have to worry about baldness, men aren't free and clear either:
[T]he frequent close-shave haircuts that are popular among black men...could also increase the risk of blood-borne infections....To achieve the shortest possible haircut, electric shavers are often dug into the scalp. The possible risk for blood-borne disease transmission, such as viral hepatitis and HIV, associated with such haircuts needs to be quantified and nonmechanical methods of cutting hair may be safer.
Now wait a second — HIV?! No way in hell is Glamour magazine going to stand for that one! Though, then again, they might still prefer the symptomatic extreme weight-loss that commonly accompanies AIDS to the horrors of non-chemically straightened black hair. 'Cause, well, y'know.
Why Children Who Braid It Like Beckham Risk Losing Hair [Times of London]