Transitioning from treated to natural hair

Doing our hair is something we all love – but recently, I’ve noticed a shift towards embracing our natural hairstyles, especially amongst patients of African or Afro-Caribbean descent. More people seem to be letting their hair flow freely, perhaps because now, it’s more socially acceptable. Whereas before relaxed and straightened were all the norm, we’re moving towards natural curls and letting our hair be themselves.

The role of haircare in my patients is particularly important for any dermatologist, due to the toll that various hair treatments can take on your scalp, and even your skin. So what recommendations can we as dermatologists give you to help you transition from chemical hair treatments to a natural style?

  1. The ‘big chop’ may be an option if you want a shorter style that will kill two birds with one stone: eliminating the treated hair and getting a fresh look.
  2. Protective styles such as braids, weaves or extensions is likely the most popular option. are a great option as they all for hair growth without breaking and shedding, and you can maintain it by using a silk pillowcase or wrapping your hair under a bonnet or cap.
  3. Simply growing it out – and when you’re ready, you’ll give it the split ends and dried hair a cut!

The most important thing to watch out for is your hair moisture. African hair does tend to retain less moisture than other hair types, so try avoid using products or too much heat that would only deplete it further. By using a sulfate-free or silicone-free shampoo, you’ll avoid stripping your hair and scalp of its natural oils and help prevent damage.

Regardless of whether you treat your hair or not, my key priority is for my patients to be happy with their appearance, no matter how they go about it. Unless they’re negatively impacted by treatments that cause allergic reactions, I fully encourage feeling good about yourself and doing what you need to in order to get there!

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