Commentary: Living with Alopecia
by Danielle Belton
Paparazzi photos of supermodel Naomi Campbell revealed severe hair loss from Traction Alopecia. There were lots of murmurs online about a woman who is prized for her looks being “imperfect.” But for many Black women, seeing Campbell’s scalp was sadly familiar…
It’s believed that Campbell’s hair loss came from years of damaging hair weaves that eventually broke away the root of her hair along the sides — one of the most common forms of hair loss for Black women.
It’s a scary reality for a woman to witness her hair thin, break off or fall out. In many cases, a change in treatment gave the hair a second chance at becoming healthy or growing back. But for too many Black women this hair loss becomes permanent. In most cases it comes from years of hair “abuse” — from bad weaves, too-tight braids, too heavy or tight locs and the misuse of perms, dyes and chemical treatments — or from the actual autoimmune skin condition of Alopecia Areata, which affects more than 4.7 million in the United States alone.
New York-based interior designer Sheila Bridges suffers from Alopecia Areata. At the time she was diagnosed with the disease, she was busy with her career, filming episodes for her design show.