Atlanta-Many women see their hair stylist more often than they see their doctor. That’s why a program at Atlanta Technical College is teaching new stylists how to pick up clues their client may need to see a doctor.
When Jaunessa Jackson came to see Lyric Elise at Elite Beauty Master Salon in Union City, right away – that very first visit – the stylist sensed something was wrong, with Jaunessa’s hair.
Jackson remembers, “She sat down, and looked at it, and she’s parting it and she’s saying, “Jaunessa, we got some issues here.”
Jaunessa had noticed it: the thinning around her hairline, the fallout. She was self-conscious about it. She says, “I mean you can just see the bald spots. And at the top of my hair it was thinning. I just didn’t want that to be seen.”
Lyric began asking questions. Did Jaunessa have a family history of hair loss? Had she gone through any hormonal changes, started taking a new medication, or been under stress?
All of those things can cause hair loss in women.
Over the years, Lyric has become kind of a hair detective, trying to help her clients tease out why they’re losing their hair.
She thinks her role goes well beyond taking care of her clients’ hair. Elise says, “Obviously, styling hair is important, but how do I keep it on the client’s head? How do I assist them outside of styling the hair?”
At Atlanta Tech’s School of Cosmetology, Lyric teaches future stylists to really study their clients hair and scalp, learning to recognize what’s normal and what’s not. Dr. Jamie MacKelfresh, an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the Emory School of Medicine, says, “We all use a little bit of hair over time, and that’s normal. What isn’t normal is bald patches, or significant thinning.”
Lyric has no formal medical training. Still, Dr. MacKelfresh says this program to train stylists may be a good thing, because stylists may be the first to notice something is wrong. MacKelfresh says, “They do see the scalp more than anyone else. You go to your regular doctor, they may not look at your scalp.”
Elise says she’s noticed thinning hair, scalp irritations and other potential problems. She says, “I see a lot of patients suffering from dehydration. And, a lot of women, especially African-American women, suffer from fibroids. Typically, when they have fibroids, they’re anemic. Because they lose a lot of blood.”
Anemia can cause the hair to fall out. And Lyric suspected that’s what was happening with Jaunessa Jackson. She recommended Jackson go see her physician, and Jackson says, “When I went to the doctor, sure enough, that’s exactly what they said, and I said, ‘Okay, what do I need to do.’ And I feel a whole lot better.”
Jaunessa says she was diagnosed with fibroids and is now undergoing infusions to treat her anemia. But Jackson says she may have never known why her hair was falling out without Lyric Elise. She believes she’s feeling better because the woman she trusts to make her look goodlooked deeper. Jackson says, “Lyric tell us all the time, your hair detects and tells what’s going on on the inside. And I’m a believer in that because it’s so true.” (http://www.fox10phoenix.com/story/27470809/hair-stylists-look-for-clues-behind-hair-loss#.VKN2E4cC-OY.facebook)