CCCA Alopecia - Hair Loss Series Part 1

30 comments

Hair loss is a topic rarely discussed in the natural hair and beauty community. Often times hair loss can cause emotions of fear and anxiety; it can feel isolating. But it should be discussed so that others can find the help they need. One common form of hair loss among African American women is alopecia. There are several forms of alopecia, but for Part 1 of this series I will be focusing on what I believe to be the lesser known form of hair loss in African American women, CCCA Alopecia.

CCCA Alopecia Explained
CCCA Alopecia or Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia is when the crown portion of the scalp begins to loose hair in a circular pattern. CCCA Alopecia is sometimes called “hot comb” alopecia.

CCCA Alopecia is caused by:
  • Hot combing
  • Chemical relaxing
  • Braids with extensions, weaves
  • Oiling/greasing the scalp – clogs pores
  • Tight rollers or curlers
  • Blow drying
(source: brownskin.net)

All of these styling practices, including those that pull natural hair into tight styles, can cause an inflammation of the scalp which can lead to hair loss and damaged follicles.


Scalp Inflammation and Hair Loss
Inflammation is a process that occurs within the body affecting the white blood cells underneath the scalp. This is called lymphocyte inflammation of the hair follicles. Lymphocytes are white blood cells that are a part of the lymphatic system. When the scalp becomes inflamed it affects the body internally. Prolonged inflammation can “scar or destroy the hair follicles” if not treated properly (Huffington Post).

Signs you may have scalp inflammation:
  • Frequent scalp itching
  • Scalp pumps
  • Pigmentation loss
  • Scalp burning sensation 
(source: webmd.com)

CCCA Alopecia Treatments
Castor oil has been promoted as being a possible solution for those with thinning edges or traction alopecia, which is another form of alopecia caused by the hair being pulled too tightly.
However, if you have CCCA Alopecia, you will need to try other forms of treatment. Start by removing any tight hairstyles like extensions or weaves. Do not hot comb, relax, or blow your natural hair.

The key to treating CCCA Alopecia is reducing inflammation and scalp tissue scarring. You can do this by drinking Calendula tea or Burdock Root tea; both are herbs that help your lymphatic system and swollen lymph glands. You can also use natural ingredients like the ones below in your hair care:
  • Manuka Honey (with UMF of 10 or higher
  • Raw Honey
  • Rosemary
  • Chamomile
  • Calendula
  • Chickweed
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Burdock Root
  • Aloe Vera Gel/Juice
  • Black Soap
Recipes:
Ginger & Calendula Raw Honey Paste
Recipe © Love Natural Sunshine, LLC 2015
Mix 1/4 tsp calendula flower powder, 1/8 tsp ginger powder, and 1 tble of raw honey together. Apply paste to inflamed scalp, leaving on for 10-20 min. Rinse and wash hair with an all natural gentle black soap shampoo like Alaffia African Black Soap. (If you do not have calendula flower powder, you can use chamomile tea leaves).

Ginger & Calendula Spray
Recipe © Love Natural Sunshine, LLC. 2015
Boil on medium-low for 30 min: 1/3 cup of peeled, chopped ginger with 2 ½ tsp of calendula flower petals in 1 cup of water. Let cool and strain. Water should be slightly yellow. Add ¼ cup of aloe vera juice and ¾ cup of water. Pour into a spray bottle and shake. Spray directly on scalp regularly. Keep refrigerated. Shelf life: 2-3 weeks. (If you do not have calendula flower petals, you can use fresh sprigs of rosemary).

Try the recipes above or create your own using the ingredients listed above. You can also visit a dermatologist for help with this issue.

I hope this helps! And as always, if you have questions feel free to leave them below in the comment section.

Read More: Traction Alopecia - Hair Loss Series Part 2 

Sources:
Dr. Susan Taylor’s Brown Skin: Hair Loss
Scarring Alopecia Symptoms
Black Women and Hair Loss
Scarring Alopecia

30 comments:

  1. Um, Alopecia is a genetic disease, not something caused by hot combing or your hair being pulled to tight. Again, it's a disease. There is no cure. This is bogus information.

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    1. Actually this is real what the blogger wrote.. Dermatologist has proof.. I guess it's normal for black woman to have short unhealthy hair and bald spots.. has nothing to do with hair practices

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    2. Hi Tashia! It is actually NOT normal for African American women to have short or unhealthy hair or bald spots. Our hair is GREATLY effected by hair practices. For example Traction Alopecia is caused by the hair being pulled too tightly from braids and extensions. You can read about that here: http://www.lovenaturalsunshine.com/2015/01/traction-alopecia-hair-loss-series-part.html

      Black women CAN have long, healthy, hair without bald spots. Using practices like hot combing or relaxers can damage the hair over time. Avoiding these practices and fostering healthy hair practices are the first steps to recovery.

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    3. We sure can!! Lol I suffer from CCCA, I have been going through it for 3 years now. I have the burning, scabbing inflamed pain. It's so embrassing cause I once had strong healthy hair. I will try some of the teas and see how it work

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    4. Hi Tashia! Yes try the Ginger & Calendula tea spray and black soap shampoo. How have you been styling your natural hair? Make sure to avoid any hairstyles that cause tension or pulling because that can "trigger" burning and pain. I would suggest mini twists as a low tension hairstyle.

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    5. Hi Tashia! Yes try the Ginger & Calendula tea spray and black soap shampoo. How have you been styling your natural hair? Make sure to avoid any hairstyles that cause tension or pulling because that can "trigger" burning and pain. I would suggest mini twists as a low tension hairstyle.

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    6. To the anonymous poster. You are completely wrong. There are several forms of Alopecia... some are genetic and some are caused by styling practices. Learn before you speak.

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    7. My boyfriend never did anything from what you mention as causes of CCCA Alopecia. He uses only natural products (no sulphates, parabens etc), eats clean diet (no processed food at all) for years and has it. So, I don't think you are right about causes at all.

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    8. Yes i went to the dermatologist and had a biopsy done and labeled my alopecia ccca. I notified her my mother and her dad and aunt also have very thin balding hair. My dermatologist stopped me in my tracks and said my condition has nothing to do with my mom. Stop relaxers. She is Dr. Levine in Mineola, NY.

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    9. What the blogger wrote is real. I was just diagnosed with CCCA June 2017 by a dermatologist. It is not just genetic, hair practices can and will cause CCCA.

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  2. According to Dr. Susan Taylor, who is a Dermatologist, Clinical Researcher, and Expert on Treating Skin of Color, as well as a writer for the Huffington Post:

    "The cause of the condition is unknown. Some dermatologists think that CCCA may be inherited and passed from one generation to another. Others feel that hair care practices, such as chemical and heat based straightening of the hair, or pulling of the hair (traction) may be the cause of the condition. There are some who believe that the cause is multiple factors. What is agreed upon is that more research is needed to understand the underlying cause of this disorder."

    So, as you can see, hair practices MAY be a cause to CCCA Alopecia. As this is the case, I am providing solutions for women who believe their CCCA Alopecia is caused by hair practices and not inherited through genetics.

    I included the link to this article by Dr. Taylor in my "Sources" section under the link "Black Women and Hair Loss."

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  3. This is not bogus info.. I have CCCA and my dermatologist said it has become genetic and it mostly effect African American.. it comes from hot combs and blow dryers.. pulling, cornrows, it's like the hot tools can travel down the hair shaft and burn out the follicles.. it's rare but it is very real.. my crown area was once strong, healthy.. I felt the burning sensation, tingling, scalp itching, scarring, and pain.. we need to know more about this.. and for some relaxers very bad and it has a link some how

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    1. I am sorry to hear that you have also had CCCA Alopecia. I hope this information and treatment suggestions were helpful to you! A tingling or burning sensation is a symptom, as is scalp itching and pain. How is your recovery coming along?

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    2. I have ccca but i dont wear braids wigs weaves or use a hot comb or tight hair styles.i am natural and it keeps getting worse. What could ve causing it

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    3. Hi Cheryl how often do you wash your hair? An unclean scalp can cause CCCA to "speed up." Or you could not have CCCA if you have not EVER worn braids, wigs, weaves, hot comb or tight hairstyles. You could just have too much bacteria on your scalp. Wash your scalp with a natural liquid black soap shampoo and see if it improves.

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  4. I have been dx with cicatricial Alopecia think im in remission. still inconclusive as to its causes. In hairloss forums this is the least mentioned sometimes not at all. Grateful for any suggestions cause unlike the others this is not reversable.

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    1. Hi there! Thank you for reaching out. My suggestion would be to see a physician like a dermatologist (if you have not already) to help you find a solution. You can read this article on LNS about a dermatologist that helped one woman by using hair recovery surgery:

      http://www.lovenaturalsunshine.com/2016/04/hair-recovery-series-part-1.html

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  5. WHen you say Chamomille tea leaves , can I cut open a chamomilel tea bag and use the contents as a substitute? Thank you.

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    1. Hi Belle & Chic thanks for your question! It depends on how you intend to use the Chamomile. If you want to use Chamomile instead of Calendula for the Scalp Spray, you can use a Chamomile tea bag - you would not have to cut it open. Cutting it open could make the leaves more difficult to drain, as most tea bags are filled with crushed herbs. Also, make sure you are not allergic to Chamomile before substituting!

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  6. Hello, Lovely.. Thank you so much. your remedies are extremely helpful. It os becoming an epidemic this CCCA type nut im staying hopeful to not lose anymore hair. Do you have any healthy eating tips to counter act the internal inflammation?

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  7. Hello, Lovely.. Thank you so much. your remedies are extremely helpful. It os becoming an epidemic this CCCA type nut im staying hopeful to not lose anymore hair. Do you have any healthy eating tips to counter act the internal inflammation?

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    1. Hi Rhonda! Studies have shown that ingesting turmeric can reduce internal inflammation. You can also try Calendula Tea as mentioned in this blog post. Always consult your doctor before trying any supplements or new herbal teas, etc.

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  8. My name is Betty. I have hair follicles degeneration. What can i do to treat my condition. Dr. Say it can be treated. Reply back

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  9. Hi my name is Betty Whiteside and i have hair follicle degineration. The doctor says it is treatable and i ant to know what is can use to make my hair start back growing. Thank you

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    1. Hi Betty! Thank you for your question. I would say you need to first find out the cause for your follicle degeneration. Is it because of an illness or is it from using harsh chemicals? I would suggest following your doctors instructions and also eating protein and using natural products with protein on your hair. Our hair is made of protein so this may help. Also, I would recommend applying manuka honey to your scalp. It heals. But first find out the cause for the hair loss, then you can treat it.

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  10. Hello! This could be long but I will shorten if possible. I am half Native American and quarter Greek. I had long beautiful thick hair. In my early 20's was put on a medication for acid reflux shortly after that had the depo provera birth control shot. Had two total and gained so much weight I couldn't fit in my clothes. Stopped the Shots and could never lose the weight. Then diagnosed with polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Started metformin. Then noticed in the sun I could see a lil bit of my scalp. It got worse and went to dermatologist who did a scalp biopsy and came back scarring alopecia. I sweat profusely from my scalp only, oily hair and now have type 2 diabetes, Epstein Barr Virus, chronic fatigue, keratosis Pilaris on back of arms. Red patches on my chest and a spot on each cheek bone. Thyroid is fine, been tested for lupus, cushings, Addison's disease, chrones disease and celiac. All came back normal. I can deal with everything except the hairloss! I don't understand how no one in my family has had any issues with hairloss and even extended family. I believe there is something that is causing it and need to figure it out before all my hair is gone. Can't wear wigs cause I sweat so bad from my scalp. Rogaine didn't do anything. Any thoughts or connections to all my health problems that could be causing this? I will appreciate any thoughts and comments and treatments! Thank you!

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  11. Hi Heather,

    Several things: first consult a dermatologist again for their advice. One, I suspect the medications could of caused the reaction of hair loss, perhaps they reacted with the sun or with your body chemistry.
    If you are sweating from your scalp this can lead to a build up of bacteria and even fungus if not treated immediately and regularly. I would suggest washing your hair with a natural, pure Liquid Black Soap Wash. Then dilute Apple Cider Vinegar in water and do an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse to rid yourself of any bacteria. Moisture your scalp in the affected area with 1-2 drops of Tea Tree essential oil diluted in jojoba oil. Do this process every time you regularly wash your hair.
    I would consult your doctor about the sweating as well as it is something that needs to be treated internally. Hope this helps!

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  12. Hello, I was diagnosed with CCCA in 2016 and its been quite a journey. I wear wigs but I hate to do so, I feel I have to for work. The center of my scalp itches so bad sometimes. I was going to the derm to get shots in my scalp - that was painful and worked for a month or 2 before my hair fell out again. I stopped that treatment and have been eating non inflammatory food, using tea tree oil and JBC oil, and praying. I believe God will help my hair to grow back. If not, I am grateful for what I have. Would love to hear from others for encouragement. Hang in there!

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    1. Hello, have you tried any other type of topical remedies like a cream to apply to your scalp?

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