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Friday, February 25, 2011

The Retouch Addict

The Retouch Addict.  Yes, you guessed right.  In the world of "creamy crack" and "hot comb warriors" the term "retouch addict" has made its mark.  

Retouch addicts are those who retouch their hair frequently and as a result, they suffer from over processed hair.  Often times, they mistake the damage from over processing with other forms of hair loss  that result from systemic or hereditary conditions. 

In my opinion, there are three kinds of retouch addicts: 
1. the Relaxer Retouch Addict
2. the Color Retouch Addict
3. the Hot comb/Flat iron Retouch Addict

There are many dangers when someone becomes addicted to retouching their hair excessively.  Some examples include excessive breakage in the hairshaft, scarring on the scalp (with chemical applications) and scarring alopecia - a gradual process that is often noticed too late. These dangers often occur when individuals retouch their hair at home.  In a previous blog, I commented on the dangers of doing your hair yourself.  There are licensed stylists who are trained to properly apply chemicals to your hair.  If you have your own heat styling tools at home, I understand, you want to touch up your roots with your flat iron or hot comb.  However, most of the time your hair is dirty, or oily and adding heat or chemicals to your hair  aides in breaking off your hair.  This is when the client misappropariates the blame onto the stylisits. 

Of course, I wouldn't recommend relaxing your hair at all.  But at least wait 8-12 weeks before retouching your hair.  The key thing is to try and find a style in between your scheduled touch-up time that will keep your hair nice and fresh so that you are not tempted to retouch those curly roots. For example, pin curling it at night, wrapping your hair around rods or any style that will give you volume and blend in those roots.  

As always, I want everyone to embrace their curls.  I'm THE Curl Loving Doctor.  But if you choose to chemically straighten your hair, color it frequently or hot comb it excessively, be careful because the incidence of hair loss in the black community is higher than in other communities. 

We must balance our hair priorities carefully.  Either we can resist the retouch or face the consequences of scarring alopecia at age 40.  We can resist the retouch or struggle with dry brittle hair.  We can resist the retouch or suffer from excessive breakage.  

To all of the retouch addicts, I encourage you to receive some Retouch Rehab by pairing up with a stylist that can offer alternate hair styles in between your touch ups and some maintenance strategies so that you can preserve your hair into your older age. 

Happy Hair is Rehab Free!!!

Scarring Alopecia - potentially permanent, irreversible damage to hair follicles and the replacement with scar tissue.

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