The things we do to our hair to make it look pretty can cause a lot of damage and end up making us look worse instead of better. So, why do we do them? While a number of people certainly does their hair to look better to themselves and feel more confident, research suggests that societal pressure could play a much more important role.
So, what is the link between societal pressure and hair loss?
Afro Hair and Perception Bias
This link was explored in the 2016 study by the Perception institute called the “Good hair” study. In this study, 4,163 participants were questioned about their explicit and implicit perceptions of black women’s hair.
Most participants showed an implicit perception bias against Afro hair, regardless of the participant’s race. The study also found that black women feel more anxious about their hair than white women and that around 25% of black women feel pressured to change their hair for work. Around 30% of black women also avoid working out because of their hair.
Hair Loss Caused by Styling
The fact that many black women feel pressured to change their natural hairstyle is very concerning. To straighten their hair, black women will often have to use chemicals and heat to relax the curls. Using too much heat can damage our hair follicles and cause hair loss.
Additionally, hair relaxant chemicals can kill our hair follicles and cause a condition called cicatrical alopecia – permanent scarring hair loss. The least damage these chemicals can do is hair breakage, which is still concerning.
This research found a concerning link between societal pressure and hair loss. So, no matter how you think the society feels about your hair, put your health first and avoid using damaging chemicals to look better to other people.