Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 Feb;64(2):253-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2010.05.037. Epub 2010 Aug 21.

Hair care practices and their association with scalp and hair disorders in African American girls.

Author information

Department of Dermatology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.



Few studies have extensively examined the prevalence of hair care practices and their association with scalp and hair conditions in African American girls.


We sought to determine the prevalence of hair care practices and their association with traction alopecia, seborrheic dermatitis (SD), and tinea capitis (TC).


A questionnaire was administered to caregivers of African American girls aged 1 to 15 years. Multivariate analyses were performed to determine the association of hair care practices with reported disorders.


A total of 201 surveys were completed from dermatology (n = 98) and nondermatology (n = 103) clinics. Mean patient age was 9.8 ± 4.4 years. Essentially all respondents reported use of hair oils/grease (99%). Ponytails, braids, and cornrows were worn by 81%, 67%, and 49% of girls, respectively, within the past 12 months. In all, 61% reported hair washing every 2 weeks; 80% used hot combs; and 42% used chemical relaxers. Cornrows were significantly related to traction alopecia among respondents from nondermatology clinics only: adjusted odds ratio = 5.79 (95% CI 1.35-24.8, P = .018). Hair extensions and infrequent hair oil use were significantly related to SD: adjusted odds ratio = 2.37 (95% CI 1.03-5.47, P = .04) and 3.69 (95% CI 1.07-12.7, P = .039), respectively. No significant associations were observed for TC.


Small sample size and disorders reported by caregivers were limitations.


Certain hair care practices were strongly associated with development of traction alopecia and SD. No association was found between hair washing frequency and SD or TC, or between hair grease use and TC. These results can be used to inform practitioners, advise parents, and adapt treatment regimens to accommodate cultural preferences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center