10 Common Problems With Black Hair and Their Solutions

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The problems associated with black hair can be numerous, but they can vary depending on your hair care routine or the products you use. You can make tremendous changes to the look and feel of black hairstyles with a simple change in your hair care routine.

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Here are 10 common problems with black hair and their possible solutions. 

10 Common Problems With Black Hair and Their Solutions

10 Common Problems With Black Hair and Their Solutions
A lady combing her afro hair. Image source: Freepik licensed under CC BY 2.0

1. Hair Breakage

Black hair, though unique and beautiful, has its challenges. Problems with black hair can be traced to its shape, which increases tangling and makes combing harder. The shape of black hair also makes it susceptible to internal strain when it is unbent, untwisted, or stretched. 

In turn, this leads to breakage. When your black hair constantly breaks, it stalls its growth. 

Solution: To tackle hair breakage, make sure your hair is always moisturized. It’s important not to keep it over-moisturized, as that may cause build-ups, eventually worsening the situation.

Use a quality leave-in conditioner to moisturize your hair, and do not forget to seal the product with a quality sealant. You need to incorporate a plan into your hair care routine if you want to keep your hair moisturized for a longer period. 

Keeping your hair damp or moist before combing also helps prevent breakage. Stress can damage hair, according to research. To keep yourself and your hair healthy, the best thing you can do for yourself is lower your stress levels. 

The easiest way to stop black hair from breaking is to straighten and comb or brush Afro-textured hair while it is still wet.

People Also Read: 10 Interesting Natural Hairstyles for Black Women 

2. Split Ends

While black hair is generally strong, it’s still susceptible to damage from wear, tear, and all the protective braids. Since the oldest and most fragile strands of your hair are at the end of your hair, that area of your hair is most likely to suffer split ends.

When you use too many products to treat your hair, many issues can result instead of solutions. 

Some products cause your hair to become weak and prone to breakage or splitting. The result can be unhealthy or floppy hair. Continued and untreated damage may eventually result in thinning hair and bald spots. This results in split ends. 

Using blow dryers, hot combs, and/or curling irons frequently and on high settings can also cause split ends, as can swimming in chemicals in swimming pools. 

Solution: Since there are no treatments or cures for split ends, the only way to get rid of them is to get your hair cut or trimmed to match your other hair. By doing so, you can prevent your hair from splitting further up the strand, avoiding further damage to your hair.

Also, avoid washing your hair daily. Constantly washing your hair daily means you’re getting rid of natural oils that are there to moisturize your hair. Washing your kinky hair two to three times a month is okay. And don’t forget your conditioner!

3. Single Strand Knots (SSKs)

Single-strand knots are one of the problems with black hair. It describes small knots that form along black hair due to how it coils. A strand that grows from the follicle can loop and tie around other strands or itself. 

This causes a knot to form. Since coily textures shrink significantly, the strands condense and create even more knots. You can worsen single-strand knots if you don’t care for your hair properly. 

When you have naturally curly hair, single-strand knots are practically unavoidable, but there are steps you can take to reduce their damage and breakage.

Solution: Once you notice single-stand knots in your hair, you must trim them. When cutting the knot off, make sure to use sharp shears to prevent split ends and unnecessary damage.

Also, having healthy and hydrated hair is key to preventing single-strand knots. Keeping your hair moisturized makes it less likely to tangle because it’s softer and smoother. A good moisture routine starts with a super-hydrating deep conditioner.  

Use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair, avoid knots, or opt for finger-detangling to have straight hair.

4. Hard to Comb

10 Common Problems With Black Hair and Their Solutions
Afro hair can be hard to comb. Image source: Freepik licensed under CC BY 2.0

Black hair can be challenging to comb evenly, especially if it’s dry. While combing kinky hair can stress the hair roots, it can also be a painful routine. 

Solution: Stretch your hair by braiding or twisting it up at night. Wearing silk scarves and headwraps can also greatly help. You can still achieve a curly style, but the hair won’t be as shrunken and easier to comb. Also, doing this at night will reduce friction between your strands. 

Always use a wide-tooth comb and moisturize your hair before combing.

In addition, protective styling also keeps the ends tucked away and protects them from knotting, thus making it difficult to comb. Braids and twists are easy protective styles you can wear.

A combination of stretching and protective styling reduces friction and keeps strands from wrapping around themselves.

And lastly, I’ll advise you to wash your hair in sections rather than loose.

5. Itchy Scalp

An itchy scalp is usually caused by sensitivity to hair products, especially shampoos containing Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and artificial fragrance.

The substance was developed as a low-cost surfactant during the industrial revolution to clean machinery. Large cosmetics companies occasionally choose SLS because of its low cost and high foam production. 

SLS is also used in allergy tests as the control substance to be applied to the skin because it is a known irritant that will cause the skin to become red. 

Using heavy oils like castor oil directly on the scalp and irregular washing of afro hair can also clog the pores and cause product build-up or excessive sebum production, which results in itchy hair.

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Solution: First, avoid using a shampoo containing SLS and opts for plant-based alternatives. Also, avoid tight hairstyles or cornrows. Tight hairstyles stress your scalp and cause itching. Above all, keep your hair moisturized. 

6. Tangles

What happens if you put several coil springs in a box without putting anything in the space between them to prevent them from touching one another?  They mix up together like natural curls.

You see, when natural hair is left loose for an extended period, that is exactly what happens. When hair is left untied, it will entangle with itself to create tangles, which can result in knots and eventually breakage.

Not brushing your hair regularly, particularly at night, is one of the biggest contributing factors. And the drier and more damaged your hair is, the more likely it is to tangle. Using many different products and not washing them out thoroughly can also cause your hair to tangle.

Solution: Section your hair when you want to wash it. If you’re worried your hair won’t stay in place once you split it, use hair clips to ensure it all holds in place. Wash your hair section by section with a conditioner. Allow the hair to soak in the conditioner for 10-15mins for the conditioner to go to work. You can use a shower cap at this point to prevent drying. 

Then use a wide tooth comb to detangle the hair section by section and rinse thoroughly. 

Besides, to avoid problems with black hair tangles, put your hair in a protective hairstyle e.g. locs. This way, each hair strand will be restricted from moving around and forming tangles everywhere.

People Also Read: 15 Best Skin Care Products for Black Women

7. Dandruff

10 Common Problems With Black Hair and Their Solutions
Adding moisture to afro hair. Image source: Freepik licensed under CC BY 2.0

Dandruff is a common scalp condition in which small pieces of dry skin flake off your scalp. If you have dark hair or are wearing dark clothes, you may notice the flakes in your hair or on your shoulders. Dandruff may also make your scalp itch.

Using harsh hair products can cause dandruff and severe flaking. A microbial fungus overgrowth is one of the main causes, which, if not treated and controlled, which can result in severe dandruff. Your scalp’s natural production of sebum, which can worsen when combined with skin shed, can also contribute to dandruff. 

If your hair isn’t washed frequently, then sebum, skin flakes, and product remnants build up, leaving your scalp vulnerable to dandruff. Another common cause of dandruff is simply having a dry scalp. It’s common in black Americans because of their skin color.

Solution: The most effective way to treat and control dandruff is to use dandruff shampoo and scalp treatments. With kinky or afro hair, only shampoo using a dandruff shampoo once a week. For test results, see a board-certified dermatologist for the best product recommendation for dandruff.

8. Hair Shedding

Shedding hair isn’t a problem, as it’s a natural process for white women and women of color. It occurs during the four stages of hair growth. However, when hair shedding becomes excessive, there’s a problem.

For instance, if you notice that chunks of your hair are falling off faster than normal, especially during bathing or washing, it would be in your best interest to see your medical physician. Excessive hair shedding could be a sign of a medical symptom that might need immediate attention.

When the hair follicles on your scalp transition prematurely from the growing phase to the resting phase of the hair growth cycle, the hair falls out as a result.

Solution: You should visit your doctor if you notice excessive shedding. 

9. Hair Loss

10 Common Problems With Black Hair and Their Solutions
A stylist taking care of a client’s afro hair. Image source: Freepik licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hair loss is another problem for people with black hair, and it can be aggravated by wearing tight braids or extensions. Also, damage from rough handling and the use of chemicals like relaxers are all common causes of hair loss.

Besides, using inaccurate tools can result in hair breakage and loss. For example, combs with a lot of tiny teeth or brushes with rough bristles will pull out your hair and harm the hair that is left behind. 

Long-term mistreatment of afro hair can lead to permanent hair loss and bald patches. Stress and a poor diet can also result in hair loss.

Sometimes, women lose some hair after birth. And this is about 3 to 4 months after giving birth, many women discover they are losing hair in large amounts. It may be frightening, but there is nothing to be concerned about. 

Normally, we lose 100 hairs daily, but during pregnancy, the hair follicles still grow and do not shed. Once your baby is around three months old, the 100 hairs per day that would have been lost throughout the nine months of pregnancy usually fall out at once. Although this may seem alarming, it is completely normal and passes after a few weeks.

Solution: Ask your stylist to create looser braids or dreadlocks. If you have braids, remove them after 6 weeks or a maximum of 2 months. If you prefer to wear weaves or hair extensions, remove them after eight weeks.

Make sure a professional works on your relaxed or dyed hair if you have either of these treatments. If you continue to experience hair breakage or shedding, avoid chemical treatments.

Above all, minimize or avoid using heat styling tools, including hair dryers, flat irons, and curling irons. These wear out the hair and can lead to long-term hair loss.

10. Weak Edges

Most protective styles, like tight braids, can affect your hairline. Tight hairstyles that tug at the fragile strands along your hairline. Over time, all these characteristics remove the hair and can damage the hair follicle.

Solution: If you have edges, avoid braiding tight styles or using edge support creams. Avoid holding pony hairstyles. Allow some air and freedom.

Black hair has long been a subject of beauty, culture, and unique identity. However, it also carries some challenges for many individuals with this hair type. From breakage to hair shedding to dry hair, the problems with black hair are deeply rooted and multifaceted.

But as much as there are challenges with black hair, there are also solutions. Use the valuable information shared on YouTube or visit your preferred salon. Using the right conditioner, keeping your hair moisturized, and avoiding tight braids are just a few tips to remind ourselves how to care for our kinky hair.

I hope this article helps keep your kinks or afro hair healthy and strong.

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Sedi Djentuh
Sedi Djentuh
Hey, Sedi here, a content writer. She's fascinated by the interplay between people, lifestyle, relationships, tech and communication dedicated to empowering and spreading positive messages about humanity. She's an avid reader and a student of personal weekly workouts. When she's not writing, Sedi is busy advocating for plastic-free earth with her local NGO.

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