Hair transplants offer a permanent solution for those suffering from hair loss, but not all hair is the same. Afro Caribbean hair has a unique texture, so can the same techniques be used on patients with this hair type? The answer is yes! However, an afro hair transplant is a specialist procedure. The hair transplant itself and the end result are still the same; provides hair growth in areas that experienced balding or thinning in the past. It’s just a bit more complex compared to other hair types.
It can be hard to find the right information making it hard to know if you’ve done enough research on this subject. As a result, you may feel confused, overwhelmed and unsure if you’re making the best decision for you. To help you understand everything you need to know about various afro hair transplants; from different hair types to hair care. To help clear up any uncertainty, we’ve put together everything you need to know about afro Caribbean hair transplants.
Types of afro hair
The reason why there is confusion around Afro Caribbean hair transplants is that there are several distinct types of afro hair. Do you have straight, curly or wavy afro hair?
Your hair type will typically fall under a category that ranges from A to C. The letter specifies the type of curl you have on your head. The tighter the curl, the further down the alphabet your score will be. To help you understand more, we’ve broken down each category to help you learn more about the three types of afro hair.
Afro curly hair
Afro curly hair will fall under a selection of subcategories, one of which consists of big, bouncy curls that have a lot of volume. Afro curly hair is often subject to frizz that can lead to dryness, meaning you’ll often need to give your hair a deep condition.
Wavy afro hair
If you’ve got wavy afro hair then you should think of your hair as a pattern. You can have beach waves that are tight and easy to style, or large, long waves. This hair type has similar qualities to straight hair while having less volume compared to curly afro hair.
Straight afro hair
Straight afro hair will have no wave pattern or curls. This type of hair is usually more resilient as it’s difficult to curl. It’s also less likely to experience problems like brittle ends and dryness and is easier to handle compared to other types of hair.
Afro hair vs straight hair
Your hair type will differ depending on the angle the follicles grow. With afro hair, each individual strand will grow at a curly angle from the root; this is what gives this hair type a thick, dense look compared to straight hair.
The curliness of afro hair means it can take longer for oils to rehydrate the whole strand of hair compared to straight hair. This is why it’s even more important for those with curly afro hair to condition their hair after shampooing and to use a hair treatment often.
Reasons for afro hair loss
There are many causes for any type of hair loss; however, due to the unique texture of afro hair, there are other reasons why you may be experiencing hair loss in the first place. While it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for your hair loss, there are circumstances where the hair loss may be temporary or resolve itself with the right care and treatment.
Mistreating your afro hair for a long period of time can cause baldness or hair loss. When you care for your curls correctly, your afro hair will be healthier and more manageable; while preventing an itchy scalp, dandruff, breakages and hair loss. A basic care routine involves:
- Cleanse – To keep your scalp clean and healthy while reducing blocked pores, dandruff, fungal infections and stunted hair growth. A gentle sulphate-free shampoo should be used to wash your scalp every 7-10 days.
- Moisturise – This should be done when hair is clean and dry. Use a water-based moisturising product, hair oil and a moisturising cream or leave-in conditioner. Afro hair that is well moisturised will become longer and stronger.
- Style – Protective styling (where the ends are tucked away in looks such as braids, twists or a weave) is an important part of afro hair care. Avoid keeping the style for more than 6-8 weeks and keep your hair moisturised throughout.
- Repeat – When your hair is clean, dry and styled, the look can be altered throughout the week to match your needs. The main thing you need to do is keep the routine the same and only make minor changes at a time.
Genetics can have a big influence on hair loss for both men and women. Baldness is strongly associated with the X chromosome. Women have two X chromosomes, whereas men inherit their X chromosome from their mother. There isn’t much you can do about male — or female — pattern baldness due to genetics and it can’t be prevented; which is why afro hair transplants exist.
It’s common for stress to cause hair loss and it’s something that we all experience during our lifetime. Hair loss due to stress is normally temporary and should be self-resolved, but you’ll need to help your body recover from this particularly stressful or traumatic event.
It can be tough, but there are things you can do to help manage stress, including a healthy diet and exercise routine and trying out relaxation techniques. It’s easier said than done, but avoiding stress by making smart choices can reduce your stress levels and boost your chances of averting hair loss.
There are a number of medical conditions that can lead to hair loss. Some may be genetic and unavoidable, but others can be controlled or prevented through lifestyle choices. Some medical conditions that can cause afro hair loss include:
- Androgenic alopecia – A genetic condition that can affect men and women. It causes hair loss in those in their teens or early 20s and is characterised by a receding hairline.
- Frontal fibrosing alopecia – A form of scarring hair loss that affects the hair margin on the front of the scalp. It’s thought to be an autoimmune condition and can’t be prevented.
- Lichen planopilaris – A type of scarring hair loss that occurs when a common skin disease, known as lichen planus, affects areas of skin that has hair. The result is permanent hair loss.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus – The most common type of lupus. An autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks its own tissues. Medicine can be used to treat severe lupus.
- Telogen effluvium – A common issue related to stress and is commonly associated with hair loss in women. It causes temporary hair loss that normally resolves itself over time.
- Traction alopecia – A form of hair loss that’s caused by the constant pulling of the hair. This pulling can affect some areas of hair more than others, leading to bald patches. This can be caused by tight hairstyles.
Treatment options for afro hair loss
Afro hair loss in men and women can be treated in many ways. You can combine medications like Minoxidil and Finasteride as a non-surgical treatment option (when approved by a doctor). This method is well-known and can encourage hair growth, which has been backed up by multiple studies.
However, if this doesn’t work for you, then you can opt for a surgical afro hair transplant. This may be more invasive but it has a great success rate. Treatments like an FUE (Follicular Unit Excision) transplant can be used to transfer hair from other parts of the body to your head.
Is FUE the best method for an afro hair transplant?
If you’ve carried out research for an afro hair transplant, you would have come across the term FUE (which has been mentioned previously). While this can be a viable treatment option for afro hair and is usually successful, we would not encourage the use of the FUE method in these cases. You may find more success with another procedure called FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) instead.
FUE tends to leave less scarring compared to FUT because it doesn’t require the removal of a strip of scalp. Instead, individual hair follicles are removed with a specialist technique. Those with darker skin are more at risk of experiencing keloid formation — a large raised scar that can be a different colour to the surrounding skin. A FUT procedure is more likely to cause keloids, but this will vary between individuals.
While someone may want an FUE afro hair transplant over an FUT, it doesn't mean they’re eligible. For many afro hair patients, FUE presents a greater level of uncertainty and unpredictability compared to the FUT method. However, the desired outcome will always influence the most suitable method, as well as the hair type and the reasons for hair loss (both listed above).
Check out our ultimate guide to hair loss treatment here.
Differences with afro hair transplants
Afro hair transplants are typically more complex compared to other hair transplant procedures. This is because afro hair is curled to the root, which can make it hard to extract individual hair follicles without destroying them during the process.
Due to the complexity of this procedure, an experienced surgeon is essential to assess your hair loss and carry out the treatment. However, don’t let this deflate you as it’s still very possible to have a hair transplant with afro hair, you just need to thoroughly research any potential clinics to ensure their surgeons have the skills and experience to carry out the procedure.
Afro aftercare to expect
Aftercare is often one of the main concerns for people undergoing a hair transplant, especially those with afro hair. However, recovery for an afro hair transplant is normally the same as any other hair transplant; which is up to 2 weeks. You’ll have to wait at least 5 days before you wash your hair. You can learn more about life after a hair transplant here.
Are You Interested in Hair Loss Treatment?
If hair loss treatments interest you, then you’ll probably find our frequently asked questions on hair transplants helpful. Alternatively, if you have any questions about this subject, please feel free to reach out and contact us. One of our team of professionals will get back to you as soon as they can.