Black Hair Care Basics: American Academy of Dermatology Weighs In

It looks like a long fight to the finish in the battle over black hair. But while the natural versus relaxed debate rages on, experts are turning attention to how black women care for their hair, and practices that they say can lead to serious hair and scalp diseases for some people.

Beyond personal preference, proper hair care is the key to warding off diseases like seborrheic dermatitis and alopecia, says Henry Ford Hospital dermatologist Diane Jackson-Richards, M.D., who presented research on black hair at the the annual American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) conference in San Diego, News Medical reports.

While dermatologists are often the first line of defense in helping African-American women with hair problems, hair loss or balding being the fourth most common reason for trips to the doctor, Jackson-Richards says dermatologists are ill prepared to treat it. "Many women who have a hair or scalp disease do not feel their physician takes them seriously. Physicians should become more familiar with the culturally accepted treatments for these diseases," she said.

Dr. Jackson-Richards and the AAD recommend these best practices for hot (and healthy) black hair.