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Relaxer and Hair Shedding

Q: I was wearing my hair natural for 6 months when I decided to relax it. When it was natural I was experiencing some shedding from the root with the white bulb when I would comb it. Now that it is relaxed it is shedding a great deal more (or at least to me it seems to be more) and not just when I comb it. I can scratch my head or run my fingers through it to finger comb the curls and there is sometimes 10 strands of hair with the bulb attached in between my fingers. There are times when there are at least 2 or 3 strands of hair attached to the white bulb. This seems to be happening all over but the bulk of the strands are coming from the front of my hair (the top and temples). Is there a reason for this and is there something I can do to keep this from happening?
 
A: I am concerned that the hair loss you are describing sounds as though the hairs are being pulled from the scalp, rather than being “shed”. Is there any irritation, or itch in the scalp area? I know that some women who attempt to go “natural” with their hair find that the adjustment period for the grooming processes involved is nearly impossible to bear. Then there’s also the possibility that your scalp has been irritated by the relaxer chemicals, causing a weakening of the scalp tissues.
 
      I would suggest that you try using an antiseptic/astringent lotion on a cotton ball to swab your scalp in areas where you feel any itching, and see your doctor to determine if there is any medical cause for the weakening of the scalp tissues. He can also help you to determine the exact nature of the problem.
 
      Remember that a cosmetologist is legally authorized to help with hygiene and cosmetic processes and the grooming of the hair. Namely, we are licensed to treat the hair once it has emerged from the scalp. Any conditions that deal with the way the hair grows or any loss that occurs beneath the surface of the scalp is the purview of dermatologists and other doctors. A cosmetologist who attempts to diagnose or attempts to advise you on treating any scalp condition or offers any medical advice at all is violating his or her licensure, regardless of any good intentions.
 
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