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Ask CurlyNikki: I'm Losing My Hair…And I'm Only 17

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Calling all naturalistas! Do you have urgent tress questions? If so, you're in luck. Every Thursday, natural hair blogger extraordinaire CurlyNikki will be solving your curly hair conundrums! Submit your questions by emailing them to BeautyEditors@essence.com.

READER QUESTION: I'm 17 years old and losing my hair. When I started noticing my hair loss issue, I was 16. I started taking birth control, and approximately four months later, I noticed that I was losing handfuls of hair when I was showering and then even more when I brushed my hair or ran my fingers through it. My hair used to be very thick and now it's not. That is not okay with me! Being a teenage girl, it's very rough dealing with this and I would just like to know what I can do to make my hair grow back thick and healthy again. It used to be so beautiful. Also, if it helps, I do straighten my hair about four times out of the week.

CURLYNIKKI'S RESPONSE: I'm so sorry that you're going through this.  You are a very brave young woman to write in and seek help and support.  I would like to first recommend that you make an appointment with your doctor.  As with other medications, especially the ones that interact with your hormones, hair loss can be a side effect.  Sucks.  Discuss this issue with your doctor and weigh all of your options.  In the meantime, let's focus on healthy hair growth from the inside out! 

1. Water- Drink at least half your weight in ounces, every single day.
2. Healthy diet-  Healthy hair has high levels of protein, so kick-start growth by eating protein-rich foods like nuts, poultry, vegetables, fruits, grains and eggs. Also, digestion takes lots of energy — don’t waste it on eating processed foods! The energy it takes to break down a slice of pizza could be going toward healing weak, damaged hair, helping it to grow. Also, speak to your doctor about adding a multi-vitamin to your daily regimen.
3. Exercise- Cardio workouts increase blood flow to your scalp, which delivers nutrients to the hair follicle. Voila, hair growth!
4. Frequent deep conditioning treatments- Try to squeeze in a deep treatment at every wash session.  I like to add oils and honey to my favorite conditioner and then allow it to marinate on my dry or damp hair under a plastic cap and heat cap for up to 30 minutes. 
5. Protective styling-Wear protective styles that are friendly to your delicate situation. These include braids and loose buns and twists as opposed to slick, tight buns. This not only reduces manipulation but also will help to maintain your sanity.

 Good luck and happy hair growing!

Nikki Walton, founder of CurlyNikki.com, is a successful psychotherapist and creator of the most credible online source about natural hair care, maintenance and decoding the psychological ties between black women and their hair. She's the author of the book Better Than Good Hair.

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