I've always known that I would one day see a medical professional for my hairline woes.
Not because of any chronic conditions, but because I'm often governed by vanity, and if there's a solution for any minor cosmetic inconvenience, I'll sign up for it.
Laser hair removal for underarms? Been there.
Microblading my eyebrows in order to be more economic with the time I spend doing my makeup? Done that.
Chemical peels to treat blackheads on my nose? Got the good skin.
And my latest non-invasive cosmetic procedure is most probably the one I'm most invested in as someone who's incredibly insecure about their hairline. This is no thanks to the fact that I not only inherited my dad's hairline, but I also have a very visible case of traction alopecia.
See, "snatch my edges!" doesn't quite have the same ring to it when your edges are literally receding so fast it could give Caster Semenya a run for her money on the track.
A previous W24 article shed light on how disproportionately alopecia affects black women as compared to women of any other race, where it was implied that the cause of this can be attributed largely to the types of hairstyles we've been doing since our fledgling years - relaxers, braids, cornrows, and now wigs.
In this same article celebrating Professor Ncoza Dlova's breakthrough study for hair loss, the following was also explained;
"Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA) is a condition that largely affects women of African descent. CCCA has been reported since the late 1960s and was previously referred to as ‘hot comb alopecia’ because it was thought to be related to the use of hot combs for straightening hair."
It was further highlighted that "CCCA is known to be aggravated by trauma-causing treatments that are unhealthy for the hair. This includes chemical treatments and excessive tugging and pulling of the hair that is seen in people who have very tight braids, weaves, extensions and chemically processed hair.
“When we pull the hair (with or without braids) or attach weaves, we cause mechanical trauma which leads to hair inflammation which, after repeated episodes, leads to permanent hair loss."
Fortunately for me, my hair loss is not permanent, and I'm definitely in the process of preventing that.
However, I'm so concerned with hiding the effects of what braids and my dad's genes have done to my hairline, that every hairstyle I've chosen over the past few years has been a strategic means of concealing the problem when all I really wanted to do was to pull my hair up into an updo like Rihanna.
But I still take an immense amount of pride in the fact that my hair boasts inches. Inches!
But in the same breath, holding onto bragging rites about length is also the reason I didn't treat the problem sooner by simply cutting my hair and starting afresh.
Here are a few examples below of how I've been covering up these exposed temples of mine that are a great source of insecurity:
The Solange circa 2013
And beneath my wigs, I part my hair in such a way that I won't see my receding hairline even in the comfort of my own home.
So when I found out about the hair loss restoration treatments that Dr Reza and Dr Mia of Anti-Aging Art offer, I didn't hesitate to book my first appointment about two months ago. I also didn't care how painful the procedure would be - I was just happy to finally have access to a treatment with guaranteed results.
Yes, many black women have heralded the topical use of castor oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, and even Vicks VapoRub as solutions to injibhabha - and I'm not dismissing these affordable fixes as ones that have indeed worked - but none have worked to my personal satisfaction.
And it would appear I'm not alone.
When I posted videos of my second appointment last month on Instagram stories, I received an influx of responses from my black women followers asking an array of questions either for themselves or another woman close to them.
So here are all the details you need to know about my hairline restoration treatments, as described on the Anti-Aging Art website:
My first treatment was the injectable hair filler procedure.
On a scale of 1 - 10, how painful is it? A solid 8
How long does it take? You can use your lunch hour.
What does it do?
These injections promote increased blood circulation to the scalp and hair follicles. Additionally, they do the following:
- Revitalises hair follicles and helps with Hair stem cell proliferation.
- Induces hair growth by increasing the size of the hair follicle.
- Prevents hair loss.
- Maintains hair growth.
Use of the hair filler does not rely on the scalp’s skin needing to absorb the product to be effective. By injecting this innovative sustained release complex of peptides into the dermis of the scalp, where the hair follicles lie, it places the necessary active ingredients directly into the area of concern, thus increasing efficacy.
How do they do it?
First, a numbing cream is applied on the are of concern, allowing about 20 minutes for it to kick in. You then recline in the hot seat with a stress ball in hand, and the hair filler is injected all along your hairline. You can then swing your wig back on a few minutes after the quick procedure is complete.
Dr Reza instructed me to not have a hot shower that evening, but I could do so the next day and even wash my hair.
Exactly a month later, I visited Anti-Aging Art for my second procedure - PRP Hair Restoration Treatment.
On a scale of 1 - 10, how painful is it? Definitely 10
How long does it take? Another lunch hour.
How does it work?
PRP Platelet Rich Plasma is the use of a person’s own blood platelets to enhance hair growth. Yes, this means that you will have blood drawn from before you start.
Dr. Mia uses PRP treatment for hair loss or to improve the recovery and results of hair transplant surgery. In the field of tissue regeneration, research is continuing to progress regarding the use of PRP’s ability to stimulate stem cells, improve wound healing, and rejuvenate skin and hair follicles.
Are all PRP treatments the same?
No, Dr. Mia uses the FDA approved Celluvance PRP process to separate and activate Platelet Rich Plasma for use as a stand-alone therapy or in conjunction with hair transplantation.
Does the treatment need to be repeated?
Initially, patients would return for three treatments over three months. It typically takes another three months to measure the improvements.
Over time, the course of treatment may need to be repeated depending on the patient’s response to therapy, hair loss condition and goals. Additional treatments with PRP may be necessary in order to maintain the desired results.
As a result, I'm due for another appointment at the end of this month, and although extremely painful, I'm looking forward to it.
Any results thus far?
Not yet, but I am confident that by December I'll be tying my hair up like RiRi.
Do you have a hair loss story? You can share it with me here.
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