Friday, 2 May 2014

Why Am I Losing My Hairline?

photo credit: Imelda Ben

Many black women suffer from some sort of damage to their hairline, ranging from mild to severe. The nature of afro hair, curly or kinky, means that although it appears strong, it is actually very fragile, with the hair framing your face or 'baby hair' being the most fragile.  There are many reasons why your hairline may be thinning out and below we discuss the common causes as well as the difference between shedding and breaking so you can better understand why you may be experiencing hair loss. 

Every strand on your hair goes through three phases, determined by your hair follicles. The growing phase, resting phase and finally shedding phase. The average person sheds between 50-100 hairs a day, but some people will shed more and some less. Shed hairs will have a white bulb at the end, which is the root of the hair, while broken hairs wont. Shedding can be accelerated by hormones, stress, illness or medications, and is usually reversible once the trigger is removed.

Breaking is generally caused by external factors such as handling your hair too much, excessive heat, chemical processes or dryness.

The most common causes among black women for hair loss around the hairline are:

1. Pulling too tight: the most common cause of damaged hairlines in black women. Breakage caused by pulling on your hair strands is known as traction alopecia and is the result of wearing tight braids, weaves or cornrows, tight ponytails or excessive brushing and handling of the hairline.

2. Dryness: Dry hair is fragile hair and is prone to breakage, Dryness can be the result of not having a good moisturising routine or can be caused by excessive use of heat from blow drying, flat-ironing or sitting under a dryer.

3. Chemicals: Perms and relaxers incorrectly applied can cause the fragile hair around your hairline to break. The glue used to attach wigs and weaves can also cause breakage if left on too long or removed incorrectly. 

4. Hormones: Many women experience excessive hair loss after childbirth and while breastfeeding. This is because pregnancy hormones change your hair's usual growing, resting, shedding cycle. Simply put, your hair doesn't shed during those 9 months, and many women have fuller, thicker hair while pregnant. However, on delivery, your body suddenly plays catch up, shedding all the hairs it has been holding on to, leaving a thinned out hairline. 

5. Stress and Illness: Skin conditions that affect the skin on the scalp, like psoriasis, can result in hair loss. Some drugs such as anti-depressants and cancer treatments can also result in thinning or breaking of hair. Stress, particularly after a traumatic event, is a common reason your hair may be breaking or shedding.

Once you have identified the reason for your hair loss, you can then begin to work on reversing the damage and growing back your hairline.


  1. Thanks for sharing this article. Will you follow up with one on how to restore the hairline?

  2. Thank Nina for both posts.