Prof. Adebola Ogunbiyi, a Consultant Dermatologist, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, has advised mothers who braid their children’s hair to avoid recurrent traction that leads to receding of hairlines.
Ogunbiyi, who is also the Head of Dermatology Department at the UCH, gave the advice on Monday in Ibadan.
He disclosed that more than 45 per cent of young females in the country have frontal balding before they attain 19.
According to her, frontal balding is as a result of recurrent traction of the hair during braiding, weaving and relaxing of the hair with different kinds of chemical.
She said that mothers and hair stylists who handle their daughters’ hair need proper education on issues or diseases that affect the skin and scalp.
Ogunbiyi said Nigerians lack the information and knowledge about their hair and skin because dermatologists are very few in the country and very few people have access to quality skin health care.
She said the function of the skin is to regulate its temperature, produce vitamin D and serve as a barrier to infection and sunlight.
The expert described hair problems in Nigerian women as “worrisome”, saying that most hair stylists are not properly trained and equipped in hair and scalp management.
According to her, most of the hair stylists do not adhere to instructions from manufacturers and as a result, the hair and scalp are damaged when applying chemicals and braiding the hair.
“Because of the nature of the African hair which is curly, shorter, breaks easily, various grooming methods have become difficult and painful.
“Traction should be avoided when doing weaving, braiding and cornrows as this may cause inflammation and breaking in future, particularly to the frontal hair.
“The hair should be washed thoroughly with water through a shower which applies pressure that pushes the chemicals out after they applied relaxers,” she said.
The dermatologist advised against frequent braiding, saying that the school managements in the habit of calling hair styles for children’s hair should stop this practice.
She identified braiding hair with weave-on or threads as the major factor responsible for traction which in turn leads to receding hairlines and balding in young females.
Ogunbiyi also advised mothers and school managements to employ other various grooming methods that are not difficult and painful to young girls and adolescent ones.