BEAUTY: TRACTION ALOPECIA IN AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN IS EASILY PREVENTABLE.

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BEAUTY: TRACTION ALOPECIA IN AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN IS EASILY PREVENTABLE. Dr. Joshua Fox, leading dermatologist in the New York area, and founder and president of the New Age Research Foundation: “Nearly one-third of African-American women and more than 17 percent of African-American girls ages 6-21 will lose their hair due to a condition known as traction alopecia. By simply changing their hair care and styling practices, many of these girls and women will be able to retain and enjoy their hair for years to come. Traction alopecia is a condition most commonly seen in the African-American population and is caused by specific hair styling practices, including tight braids, cornrows or weaves, as well as the use of chemical hair straighteners, dyes or bleaches. An estimated three-quarters of African-American females straighten their hair. Ironically, the very hair care and styling practices designed to improve their appearance can actually cause these young girls and women to lose their hair and feel that they no longer look as good as they want to.”

African Americans at Risk for Hair Loss

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According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly one third of African American women and more than 17 percent of African American girls ages 6-21 will lose their hair due to a condition known as traction alopecia. Dr. Joshua Fox, leading dermatologist in the New York Area on Tips for Saving, Improving Hair.

Roslyn, New York (PRWEB) May 22, 2010 — According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly one third of African American women and more than 17 percent of African American girls ages 6-21 will lose their hair due to a condition known as traction alopecia. Dr. Joshua Fox, leading dermatologist in the New York Area says that by simply changing their hair care and styling practices, many of these girls and women will be able to retain and enjoy their hair for years to come.

Traction alopecia is a condition most commonly seen in the African American population and is caused by specific hair styling practices including tight braids, cornrows or weaves as well as the use of chemical hair straighteners, dyes or bleaches. An estimated three fourths of African American females straighten their hair. “Ironically, the very hair care and styling practices designed to improve their appearance can actually cause young girls and women to lose their hair and feel that they no longer look as good as they want to,” says Dr. Fox, founder of Advanced Dermatology, PC and founder and president of New Age Research Foundation (http://www.newageskin.org) and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology.

Traction alopecia occurs more frequently in children, teenagers and young adults then it does in older women and men, however, it can occur in people of any age or gender. “If diagnosed early, traction alopecia is reversible,” Dr. Fox says, “but it may lead to permanent hair loss if it is undetected for a long period of time.” Dr. Fox advises that people should see their dermatologist at the first sign of any of the symptoms of traction alopecia so that the condition can be properly diagnosed and treated.

Dr. Fox says the symptoms of traction alopecia include: pruritus, or itching, with or without dandruff; perifollicular erythema, or inflammation; thinning of the hair, with large strands coming out when the hair is combed. Many may feel a tingling sensation or pain in the area where the hair loss has occurred. Additional symptoms may include hyperkeratosis, a thickening of the skin on the scalp, and the development of pustules and scales. Eventually, patients may notice many broken hairs. Soon, the hair follicles will atrophy and no longer produce the typical long and coarse hair. Instead, thinner, fine, short hair is generated. Pitting in fingernails is a sign of severe traction alopecia. Most important and commonly, is that the frontal hairline is moved backward in the area being pulled. Other times, the area of the part is thinned-out as this is area of the pulling.

“The key to stopping traction alopecia is detecting it early,” Dr. Fox says. “Most patients do not notice this “slow killer” of hair as it happens so gradually over months and years – much as people often do not notice themselves putting on weight or aging.” Once traction alopecia has been diagnosed, patients must immediately discontinue any hairstyling practice that causes traction on the hair and switch to looser, gentler styles. “Doing so early can lead to complete reversal of the hair loss and regrowth within several months to a year or longer,” Dr. Fox says. “In addition, your doctor may prescribe topical or oral antibiotics or cortisone or even give injections to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. Patients should also make sure they get enough iron and protein in the diet to help promote hair regrowth.

“When traction alopecia is not detected early, the hair loss may be permanent and irreversible,” says Dr. Gregory Pistone, Hair Restoration Specialist and on staff at Advanced Dermatology, PC., as well as serving as Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, “There is no medical treatment available today to reverse late-stage traction alopecia. Patients then may have to consider surgical hair transplantation procedures. The scarring, which traction alopecia causes, makes hair transplantation more difficult. One should only utilize a skilled ‘expert’ hair transplantation surgeon when attempting to ‘cure’ their hair loss. The results can be quite dramatic, however it is always better to prevent the problem than to require a hair transplant.”

AFRICAN AMERICANS AT RISK FOR HAIR LOSS: Dermatologist Joshua Fox Explains Traction Alopecia, Offers Tips for Saving, Improving Hair

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AFRICAN AMERICANS AT RISK FOR HAIR LOSS: Dermatologist Joshua Fox Explains Traction Alopecia, Offers Tips for Saving, Improving Hair

Roslyn, New York, May 2010 – According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly one third of African American women and more than 17 percent of African American girls ages 6-21 will lose their hair due to a condition known as traction alopecia.  Dr. Joshua Fox, leading dermatologist in the New York Area says that by simply changing their hair care and styling practices, many of these girls and women will be able to retain and enjoy their hair for years to come.
 
Traction alopecia is a condition most commonly seen in the African American population and is caused by specific hair styling practices including tight braids, cornrows or weaves as well as the use of chemical hair straighteners, dyes or bleaches. An estimated three fourths of African American females straighten their hair.  “Ironically, the very hair care and styling practices designed to improve their appearance can actually cause young girls and women to lose their hair and feel that they no longer look as good as they want to,” says Dr. Fox, founder of Advanced Dermatology, PC and founder and president of New Age Research Foundation (www.newageskin.org) and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology.
 
Traction alopecia occurs more frequently in children, teenagers and young adults then it does in older women and men, however, it can occur in people of any age or gender.  “If diagnosed early, traction alopecia is reversible,” Dr. Fox says, “but it may lead to permanent hair loss if it is undetected for a long period of time.” Dr. Fox advises that people should see their dermatologist at the first sign of any of the symptoms of traction alopecia so that the condition can be properly diagnosed and treated.
 
Dr. Fox says the symptoms of traction alopecia include: pruritus, or itching, with or without dandruff; perifollicular erythema, or inflammation; thinning of the hair, with large strands coming out when the hair is combed. Many may feel a tingling sensation or pain in the area where the hair loss has occurred. Additional symptoms may include hyperkeratosis, a thickening of the skin on the scalp, and the development of pustules and scales. Eventually, patients may notice many broken hairs. Soon, the hair follicles will atrophy and no longer produce the typical long and coarse hair. Instead, thinner, fine, short hair is generated.  Pitting in fingernails is a sign of severe traction alopecia.  Most important and commonly, is that the frontal hairline is moved backward in the area being pulled.  Other times, the area of the part is thinned-out as this is area of the pulling.
 
“The key to stopping traction alopecia is detecting it early,” Dr. Fox says.  “Most patients do not notice this “slow killer” of hair as it happens so gradually over months and years – much as people often do not notice themselves putting on weight or aging.”  Once traction alopecia has been diagnosed, patients must immediately discontinue any hairstyling practice that causes traction on the hair and switch to looser, gentler styles.  “Doing so early can lead to complete reversal of the hair loss and regrowth within several months to a year or longer,” Dr. Fox says.  “In addition, your doctor may prescribe topical or oral antibiotics or cortisone or even give injections to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. Patients should also make sure they get enough iron and protein in the diet to help promote hair regrowth.
 
“When traction alopecia is not detected early, the hair loss may be permanent and irreversible,” says Dr. Gregory Pistone, Hair Restoration Specialist and on staff at Advanced Dermatology, PC., as well as serving as Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine in Philadelphia,  “There is no medical treatment available today to reverse late-stage traction alopecia. Patients then may have to consider surgical hair transplantation procedures.  The scarring, which traction alopecia causes, makes hair transplantation more difficult.  One should only utilize a skilled ‘expert’ hair transplantation surgeon when attempting to ‘cure’ their hair loss.  The results can be quite dramatic, however it is always better to prevent the problem than to require a hair transplant.”

Top Skin Conditions For People of Color

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Top Skin Conditions For People of Color

People of African, Asian, Latin and Native American backgrounds know that their skin, hair and nails are subject to conditions that do not affect lighter skinned people. “While most of these are not serious, they may be disturbing, troubling or unsightly,” says Joshua Fox, MD, a leading dermatologist, founder of Advanced Dermatology and an official spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery.

“Fortunately, your dermatologist is well acquainted with these conditions and can help people with dark skin to diagnose and treat their concerns early and quickly,” says Dr. Fox. He offers the following listing of the top skin conditions faced by people of color and how it differs from lighter-skinned individuals.

1. Acne – Many dark skinned women suffer from acne vulgaris, sometimes combined with hyper pigmentation, or skin darkening in spots or patches, which occurs in response to the outbreak of acne. Unlike fairer-skinned individuals, the discoloration plays an integral role in treatment. Surprisingly, these patients are more bothered by the discoloration than the acne itself. Treatments may include topical skin lightening creams for dark spots, sunscreen and topical, prescription acne medications.

2. Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra – These brown or black raised spots, which commonly affect African American women and people of Asian descent, may look like moles or flattened warts. They are always benign, never lead to skin cancer and are not harmful. However, some people do have them removed for cosmetic reasons. Typically, up to 50 percent of Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra patients have a family history of the condition, and up to 35 percent of adult blacks in the United States have it. They are easily removed with minimal to no marks.

3. Eczema – Very common among those with brown skin, eczema is an itchy, irritating rash that can occur in skin of any type or color. However, according to the National Eczema Society, it is found twice as often in black skin. When it does occur, differences in the structure of black from Caucasian skin can cause related problems including excessive pigmentation and a thickening of the skin that can also cause changes in skin color. “Because eczema is harder to identify in dark skin, and is often confused with psoriasis or fungal infections, getting the right diagnosis and treatment can be difficult,” Dr. Fox says. “Once the correct diagnosis has been made, topical medicines are quite helpful.”

4. Keloids – Scar tissue caused by abnormal healing of the skin occurs frequently in individuals with brown skin. Any time dark skin is injured, the risk of keloids is dramatically increased. According to Skin & Aging magazine, up to 16% of black and Asian people suffer from keloids. Keloids can develop immediately following an injury or take a long time to grow. Sometimes they itch, are painful and burning or feel tender to the touch. Treatments include cortisone and other injections, radiation therapy, pressure dressings, silicone gel applications and several types of lasers are extremely helpful. Keloids can also be removed via traditional or laser surgery.

5. Traction Alopecia – This hair loss condition is caused by damage to the hair follicle from constant pulling or tension over a long period of time. It is most common in African Americans who braid their hair tightly, but can also be caused by over processing of the hair through dyes, bleaches or straighteners. According to the National Institutes of Health, some 17% of African-American schoolgirls (6-21 years) and more than 30% of women (18-86 years) suffer from traction alopecia. While this condition can be reversed if diagnosed early, it can lead to permanent hair loss if it is undetected for a long period. These people – mainly women – should change to looser, gentler hair styles and should see a dermatologist. Unfortunately, no medical treatment is available to reverse late-stage traction alopecia; hair grafts, transplants or wigs have been identified as the only practical solution.

6. Melanoma — Those with brown skin often have a false sense of security when it comes to skin cancer. “While increased skin pigmentation offers some protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays,” Dr. Fox says, “melanoma can and does occur,” unlike in the lighter-skinned individual, it occurs especially on the palms, soles, fingers and toes, nails and mucous membranes (such as the mouth or nose). “A new dark mark or a mark that changes in size, shape or color in these areas should be seen by a dermatologist immediately. Even people with dark skin should always use a sunscreen when spending extensive time in the sun,” he says.

7. Pigmentation – Women with brown skin, particularly those of African and Latino descent, have a high incidence of hypertension, diabetes and heart disease and thus take medications for those medical problems. These, as well as other commonly used medications (LIST MEDICATIONS THAT CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS) can cause various types of allergic reactions that frequently lead to hyperpigmentation, or dark patches. While the dark spots can fade over time, women should seek treatment early. Procedures such as chemical peels and skin bleaching, designed to lighten the darkened areas, can help, as can diligent use of sunscreen. The new Fraxel™ is the first laser approved for treatment of melasma – a type of pigmentation disorder of the face.

8. Vitiligo – Skin gets its color from pigment cells. When those cells are damaged or destroyed, they no longer produce pigment, causing white or colorless spots to appear. The spots can grow larger over time and eventually blend together so that large portions of the skin have no color at all. While no one knows why this occurs, many suspect it is related to problems within the autoimmune system. Vitiligo also may be hereditary. While people of any skin color can develop Vitiligo, it is most obvious and therefore debilitating on dark skin. One common treatment is PUVA — a repigmentation therapy involving the drug psoralen combined with exposure to UV light. A simpler, newer and equally efficacious treatment is narrowband UVB light treatment. The newest laser treatment though is that of the Excimer laser 308nm which markedly shortens the number to treatments and spares unwanted streaks. This process help increase the amount of pigment cells at the skin’s surface. Other treatments include prescription-strength corticosteroid cream, light/laser treatments and, in rare instances, skin grafting.

Bald Today…Hair Tomorrow

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Bald Today…Hair Tomorrow

The state of the art in Hair Restoration surgery involved the transplantation of minigrafts and micrografts from the donor scalp to the recipient area. This technique ensures a natural appearing hairline that is apparent from 6-12 months after the procedure. Each session can be approached as if this is the only session that the patient will ever have. By starting with the proper hairline design, usually one that frames the face, there is no specific requirement for future sessions. (more…)