The question often arises whether African American men will benefit from a standard hair transplant. Men’s African American hair transplants are similar, but not the same as a hair transplant conducted on a Caucasian man. First, Men’s African American hair transplants sometimes happen for completely different reasons than hair transplants in other ethnic groups. Not only is the reason for the procedure sometimes different but the actual hair itself is different amongst all the ethnic groups. For instance, Men’s African American hair grows slower than Caucasian, or even Asian hair.
Fortunately for African American men, it is the Caucasian ethnic group that experiences hair loss the most, according to Men’s Health. However, that is not to say that Men’s African American Hair transplants aren’t a major industry and cannot be approached in the same way as a hair transplant for a Caucasian or even Asian. In fact, Men’s African American hair transplants are some of the most difficult to perform and require a hair transplant specialist knowledgeable about men’s African American hair.
African American Hair Style and History
In ancient Africa, hair styles were used to convey status and wealth. Back when Africa was composed of several kingdoms, a citizen’s hair would immediately denote someone’s social and economic rank in their particular kingdom. (Byrd & Tharps 2014, 2020). For instance, a warrior in the Wolof region would braid his beard while preparing for war so that everyone that gazed upon him would know what he is about.
Hairstyles also had a spiritual connotation to the ancient Africans as it was considered closest to the god or gods due to their position on the top of the head. The ancient Africans would often shave a newborn baby’s head, and also shave the head of the newly passed away family member as a signal of the person’s beginning and ending in this world.
A Lack of Freedom With One’s Hair
However, as the European Nations began to decimate the indigenous population of Africa with slavery, it became common practice for the slavers to shave the heads of the Africans that they had captured in an attempt to erase their individuality and culture. (Byrd & Tharps, 2014).
Even after slavery was abolished in the United States, the Men’s African American hairstyle was still seen as derogatory by the white-dominated culture. With the feeling of white superiority commanding the U.S. during the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras, it was only the wig makers that mainstream advertised a black hairstyle as a standard of beauty at that time.
During this time African American women would even attempt to assimilate into the white-dominated culture by Afro texturing their hair. Afro-texting is a process where African American women would attempt to straighten their curly hair with a hot comb. (Rooks, 1996).
Since cosmetic technology back in those days left a lot to be desired, women would often take hours to straighten their hair in an effort to be more accepted in the racist, white-dominated culture. It would sometimes take hours and hours to finish the process and the burning and damaging of the hair and scalp were common with this practice. (The Hot Comb Is Back – But Is That A Good Thing?, 2021).
African American Hair in the Modern Era
Then along came the Afro hair style in the 1960s. The Afro was a symbol of cultural pride and revolution to the African American population back in the ’60s. The Afro was a staple of the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement of the time in the U.S. One Angela Davis, a college professor at UCLA and an associate of the Black Panther Party was at the forefront of associating the Afro hair style as a political statement for both women and Men’s African American heritage.
Today for both women and men’s African American hair style culture, there has been an increase in embracing a natural look of hairstyle. More and more African Americans are resisting the use of products and chemicals to alter the look of how their hair grows naturally. The Natural Hair Movement has been greatly promoted by the media as well as respected African American Celebrities such as Maya Angelou and Solange Knowles.
Traction Alopecia and Men’s African American Hair Loss
The regular, common type of hair loss in both men and women is called androgenetic alopecia. This type of hair loss is what more than 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States suffer from. Nine times out of ten, androgenetic alopecia is this condition that brings patients into our clinic here at Best Hair Transplant for their hair transplant procedure. Androgenetic alopecia affects African American men and women, but it is much less common. The type of hair loss that generally will bring about men’s African American hair transplants is a condition known as traction alopecia.
Traction alopecia is hair loss that is a direct result of prolonged repetitive tension on the scalp or hair. This is most common for individuals who prefer a certain hairstyle that creates a great amount of repetitive tension on the scalp hair. Hairstyles such as cornrows, dreadlocks, weaves, and braids are known to cause traction alopecia. There have been cases of traction alopecia in individuals with extremely long and thick hair as well. These particular hair practices are what is known to cause traction alopecia, not any particular ethnicity. However, the particular hairstyles favored by a certain culture do increase the risk.
If a physician tasked with diagnosing traction alopecia does not have any evidence of aggressive traction on the scalp, then traction alopecia can be hard to diagnose. Traction alopecia generally affects the front and sides of the scalp. It does not start from the hairline nor recede backward like normal hair loss. Therefore, this is one sign that a doctor would look for in a diagnosis. Another sign of traction alopecia is called the “fringe sign”. This presents as a number of hair follicles that have retained along the front and sides of the hairline.
Treatment With Surgery
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent traction alopecia that does not involve surgery. Switching up your hairstyle every few weeks can relieve the traction on the affected areas even if you are adding more traction to other areas. Avoiding hair relaxers, rubber hair ties, and plastic bands will also be a step in the right direction. Also, if you wear locs, keeping them thick instead of thin will reduce the amount of traction on the scalp. As a result, you’ll slow the onset of traction alopecia.
Hair replacement surgery for Men’s African American traction alopecia can be very successful. Since traction alopecia is not a result of genetics like traditional hair loss, the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) hair transplant procedure can be very effective. This is frequently an additional step in a standard hair transplant procedure. PRP is a process where Platelet-rich blood is extracted from the tissue right below the skin. This plasma processing takes place in a centrifuge. Then it’s injected back into the scalp that is affected by the traction alopecia. Then the platelets will interact with hair follicles there and stimulate them to regrow.
The FUE Over FUT for Men’s African American Hair Transplants
There is a dramatic difference in Men’s African American scalps and hair density as opposed to Caucasian or even Asian men’s scalps. African American hair is much less dense than Caucasians. As a result, there is a great deal less hair available to transplant in a hair transplant procedure. However, this is actually a good thing for African Americans who need a hair transplant. That’s because much less hair actually needs to be transplanted in order to produce a natural look. That means less downtime, less surgical time, and possibly, a reduced cost!
The hair transplant specialist can cover a larger area of your scalp with fewer follicular units. This makes for a much quicker procedure with much less post-procedure discomfort. Also, due to a much lower contrast between the hair and the scalp for African Americans, after a successful hair transplant, their hair will look much fuller than for a white or Asian man.
Follicular Unit Transplants
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) is also known as the “strip method” of hair transplants. This is because when using the FUT technique large strips of tissue containing the hair follicles are removed from the back of the scalp. After the removal of the strip of tissue, the individual hair follicles are processed “harvested” and re-implanted back into the scalp. This process has its up and downs compared to the FUE method.
FUT is a much quicker process than FUE. However, there are much higher levels of discomfort felt by the patient. While the transplanted hair follicles have a much higher survival rate than with FUE, the FUT technique leaves the patient with a sometimes-large linear scar on the donor area.
Follicular Unit Extractions
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a less invasive procedure than the FUT technique as it involves the extraction, processing, and re-insertion of individual hair follicles instead of “strips”. This process is normally done using a micro-punch device that leaves very minimal scarring after the procedure. The side effects are normally a bit of swelling and sensitivity that goes away after a few days.
One major difference when it comes to the challenge of a Men’s African American hair transplant is the hair follicles are much curlier than any other ethnicity of hair type. The problem is that the hair follicle curls even under the scalp. Consequently, this makes the extraction of the follicle much more difficult.
Another challenge the hair transplant specialist needs to address in men’s African American hair transplants is the possibility of keloid scarring. A keloid scar is a growth of extra tissue that appears after a wound has already healed. Keloid scars can happen to any ethnic group, but they are much more prominent in individuals with darker skin. This makes the possibility of keloid scarring and African Americans much more likely.
FUE May Be the Best Choice for African American Patients
Due to the nature of African American hair follicles and the possibility of keloid scarring, the FUE hair transplant procedure is a much better choice for African Americans. In other words, there is a much less chance of scarring with FUE over FUT. As a result, the chances of keloid scarring taking place are also less.
With FUE, the surgeon will have much more control over the removal of the hair follicles. For Black hair transplant patients, this allows the curly hair follicles to be removed intact and go undamaged. Consequently, odds drastically increase in your favor for growth and restoration.
The Professionals at Best Hair Transplant Specialize in Men’s African American Hair Transplants
As you can see there is quite a bit of difference in both women’s and men’s African American hair transplants as opposed to other ethnicities. African American hair is different in its very nature. It’s very unique. Therefore, transplanting that hair must be approached differently. Because of this, it’s not a good idea to put your trust in a clinic that specializes in facelifts and Botox. When it comes to men’s African American hair transplants, choose a specialized clinic.
Our hair transplant specialists here at Best Hair Transplant have performed many successful men’s African American hair transplants. We can create your new look for a competitive and affordable rate. If you’re curious about learning more about hair transplants, feel free to reach out to us.
SUFFERING FROM HAIR LOSS?
Best Hair Transplant is the best place to schedule your hair transplant in Los Angeles. We’ve helped both men and women regrow their lost hair. But don’t take our word for it. We suggest learning as much as possible about hair restoration. Do so prior to making a decision on how to address your hair loss. Not every procedure is right for everyone.
At Best Hair Transplant, we’re proud of our results and happy to provide hair restoration services. Additionally, we’re proud to make hair transplants affordable and help you save money on a variety of hair transplants.
To ensure your ease of mind, you can view our customer recommendations HERE. Furthermore, you can also see our Google reviews and Yelp reviews. We can’t wait to help you start restoring your lost hair.
YOUR HAIR RESTORATION SOLUTION
- Byrd & Tharps 2014, p. 2. (2020). A History Of African Women’s Hairstyles.
- Byrd, A., & Tharps, L. (2014). Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America.
- Rooks, N. M. (1996). Hair raising: beauty, culture, and African American women.
- The Hot Comb Is Back – But Is That A Good Thing? (2021). British Vogue.