Is race really a factor when it comes to hair loss?
A lot of people are thinking that it could be as they have observed the characteristic of their own hair loss compared to other ethnicities. To compare, let us look at the three main hair classifications based on race. These are Caucasian Hair, Asian Hair and Afro-Caribbean hair.
If we observe Caucasian hair, its main characteristic is that it is slightly fine to medium in diameter. The colour ranges due to the variety of genetic influences and it can go from straight to wavy. Asian hair on the other hand, can go from straight to slightly wavy, and usually comes in black or dark brown. It is known to be the thickest in diameter among the three. If we look at the Afro-Caribbean hair, it has a flat cross section with a twisting form. And because of this curliness, they have a tendency to look more volumized, and easily get tangled with each other making it more challenging to groom.
The degree of hair loss varies for each of these hair types and races because they typically have varying numbers of hair to begin with. In terms of volume and density, Caucasian hair tends to have more. It is then followed by Asian hair and then Afro-Caribbean locks come in last as they typically have 50,000-100,000 hairs.
However when it comes to growth, Asian hair surpasses the other two with a growth rate of 1.3 cm in a month. Caucasian hair comes in next with a 1.2 cm monthly increase, while Afro-Caribbean hair only grows up to 0.9 cm in a month.
It is important to consider these hair types when it comes to hair transplant. Although the same techniques can be used, but the surgeon should be sensitive when it comes to amount, distribution, and angulation.
Since hair loss is lesser in Asians compared to Caucasians, it is expected that Asian hair transplant will need less grafts to cover the problem. The degree of hair thickness also allows them to require less work because it can already provide a dense appearance.
Afro-Caribbean hair also needs less hair grafts because the characteristic curliness creates volume easily. That is why there is less work when it comes to creating density for this ethnic group when it comes to hair transplant.
However, among the three, Afro-Caribbean hair tends to be highly at risk for breakage during the process of surgical hair restoration. As much as it is curly on the outside, so does the base that runs deep below. Therefore it requires particular skills and cares in order to extract these hairs successfully. Caucasian and Asian hairs can be extracted with better ease, because they have a straighter base by nature.
The same also goes for hair distribution. Expectedly Caucasian hair would need more compared to other two. But this will also be dependent on the extent of hair loss the patient is suffering from.
Proper angulation is also important to create a natural-looking result after hair transplant. Asian hair follicles tend to grow perpendicular to the scalp, while Afro-Caribbean hair runs parallel and Caucasian hair at an oblique angle.