Coping With My Hair Loss As A Black Woman With Scalp Psoriasis
Last updated: October 2021
A woman’s hair, specifically a black woman’s hair, symbolizes royalty. Your hair is considered your "crown". Every day, whether through social media, television, magazines, there are constant reminders of the image of beautiful hair from the beauty industry.
A painful reality
Imagine living as a woman who once had a head full of thick, beautiful, healthy hair then boom, the devastation of sudden hair loss, pain, bleeding, and constant shedding of scales. All from a major flare-up of scalp psoriasis.
For me, this was not my imagination, but my reality. When this happened I was completely pulled toward a downward spiral. My hair loss was a result of a flare-up coupled with prescribed medication that I believed caused hair thinning.
Fixing my crown
When I first met with my dermatologist, she explained a prescription shampoo regimen that I would have to use to manage my symptoms. What she didn’t understand, in my opinion, was that I knew the regimen would be difficult for my texture of hair as a woman of color.
I tried to explain to her my concerns, and I felt that she didn't have a true understanding of the hair care differences for someone like me.
That week I began the medication and almost as quickly as I started, I noticed major thinning and hair loss. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't attribute it solely to the medicated shampoo. Often at night, I would scratch my scalp in my sleep or even in my waking hours because it was quite unbearable.
I know this could have also contributed to my hair loss. Ultimately scalp psoriasis flat out robbed me of my glorious crown. Feeling embarrassed, self-conscious, depressed, and not heard by my provider I felt lost. My self-confidence was shaken and the hair loss was just another visible sign of my autoimmune disease.
The inner queen reigns supreme
One day it happened! I literally rose up out of my despair and decided to have an attitude of gratitude. I no longer wanted to feel sad about what I was experiencing. It was then I began playing around with blends of oils that helped ease my symptoms.
Wig shopping became a go-to and my favorite hobby! I purchased several wigs and many head wraps that I would wear with a full-on glam face of makeup. Self-love became my best love!
The decision to make the sweetest lemonade out of lemons changed my life. This inner awakening of self-love served me in many ways beyond the surface of my hair. I became committed to advocacy and using my voice for myself and others like me. The cultural competency of providers is one of my new platforms.
My hair has begun to grow back, but it no longer defines me nor validates my royalty. I am beautiful, simply because I am Ayesha. Scalp psoriasis may have taken my hair, but it blessed me with accepting the core of my beauty on the inside.
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