Today, one of my friends expressed concern about her thinning edges and how she has not seen any growth.
I think it’s important to take notice of the fact that a number of women in the African American community have balding spots from traction alopecia on their temples or hairline due to tight hairstyles from having weaves, or braids, etc. It is also interesting to note that the talk of edges is tabooed, especially because hair is such a heavy topic amongst black women and even men. I rarely ever come across any sites that talk about the health of edges in great detail. And what I have come to realise is that when black women begin to experience these issues, they are often incredibly embarrassed or even devastated. And rather than trying to find ways to alleviate this issue, many may resort to weaves, braids, wigs, or even “slick down” the little bit of hair that is left as a means of eluding. However, I want to try and desensitise the topic by being brazen enough to share my own experience.
Almost two years ago, I actually experienced traction alopecia, as you can see on the photo to the left. I had box braids for two months in January of 2012, and they completely destroyed the hair around my temples. However, I later noticed that the elastic lining of my silk scarf was exacerbating my traction alopecia, as well as my tight updos when I removed the braids. In June of 2012, I knew that it was time to assess the damage, and to try prevent it from furthering. Rather than trying to hide this issue, I made it my personal mission to nurture my thinning edges back to health after going through my second big chop. Though it has taken a little over a year, they have grown back.
What did I do to grow them back?
For starters, I stopped with excessive updos all together. As much as I loved them, they had to go. I began to practice low maintenance hair styles (two strand twists mostly), so that the hair on my temples could get a break. I also wear my silk bonnet inside out now, so that my scalp is not in contact with the elastic cotton lining. This truly makes a huge difference.
I realised that I had to learn to become more consciously aware of incorporating the health of my edges into my hair care routine. I began massaging a mixture of castor oil and rosemary essential oil into my thinning edges consistently, about 3-4 a week. Rosemary essential oil helps to stimulate blood flow to the scalp, resulting in promotion of hair growth. And with the use of castor oil, whether black or clear, it’s anti-inflammatory properties is incredibly helpful with growing back thinning hair. This becomes a winning combination.
Also, when I deep condition or do hot oil treatments, I apply them generously to my edges and my nape area as well. I think that is incredibly important, because often times these two areas get neglected. Lastly, I don’t slick my edges with product. Instead I just spray water and brush them down with an eyebrow brush, and I am honestly good to go. And a year and about four months later, here I am on the photo to your right.
I truly believe that with proper and persistent care, thinning edges can definitely be nurtured back to health and traction alopecia can be stopped when it starts. It will take some time, but results do come!