BY DR. CLARENCE WILEY, SR.
To pretend that there is not a hair loss issue in Black (African American) women is like pretending there is no Global Warming contributing to the climatic changes the world is increasingly experiencing. Acknowledging that there are those who will deny Global Warming even up to the point where all the glaciers melt and Oklahoma City is the coastline for the country, let me review “Why (in my opinion) Black Women Are Going Bald”.
When I started my dermatology residency training at Barnes Hospital, Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri, in June of 1978, I had no idea that 39 years later I would be writing an article to try to impact an epidemic problem in our culture, “Baldness in Black Women”. Over those 39 years, I have evaluated or treated a spectrum of hair disorders in all ethnicities. However, the Alopecia (hair loss disorders) especially the scarring group continue to increase in number and severity in black women. On a regular workday, I continue to see a sad procession of black women with hair loss.
As early as 1981, when I started my practice in Oklahoma as the first Black Dermatologist in Oklahoma when the Jheri Curl was popular, I began to see the immediate and long term damaging results of these styles. I spoke to the Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology warning them about my experiences. I have spoken to church groups, schools, Chamber of Commerce, health fairs and more and in recent years at Oklahoma Naturals and Women of Color and basically anyone that would listen about this epidemic. So why, Dr. Wiley, are black women going bald? Well,I’ll give you a “little” hint – Black Culture! Let me clarify.
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Dr. Clarence Wiley, Sr. is a board-certified dermatologist who offers skin treatments and hair restoration for patients of all ethnicities at his Oklahoma City, OK, practice.