Dr Adebola Ogunbiyi, Consultant Dermatologist at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, has said that 47 per cent of Nigeria’s young females have frontal balding before age 19.
Ogunbiyi disclosed this in Ibadan while speaking at a symposium organised to mark the 2015 World Health Skin Day, on June 18, by the National Association of Dermatologists.
She said the frontal balding was as a result of recurrent traction of the hair during braising, weaving and relaxing of the hair.
Ogunbiyi, who is also the President of the association, said this year’s theme: “The African Scalp and hair: Problems and Solutions”, was apt and appropriate.
“The World Health Skin Day was inaugurated in Nigeria in 2014, at a meeting of all dermatologists in Africa.
“We are educating people on issues affecting the skin and scalp, and this year’s theme is dedicated to addressing diseases of the hair and scalp,’’ she said.
Ogunbiyi said Nigerians have no adequate information and knowledge about their hair and skin, because dermatologists are very few in the country and very few people have access to quality skin healthcare.
She said the “function of the skin is to regulate its temperature, produce vitamin D and serve as barrier to infection and sunlight’’.
She disclosed that hair problems in Nigerian women had become worrisome, as most hair stylists were not properly trained and equipped in hair and scalp management.
She added that most of them do not adhere to instructions from manufacturers and as a result the hair and scalp are damaged when applying chemicals and braiding the hair.
“Because of the nature of the African hair which is curly, shorter, breaks easily, various grooming methods have become difficult and painful.
“Traction should be avoided when doing weaving, braiding and corn-rows as this may cause inflammation and breaking in future, particularly to the frontal hair.
“The hair should be washed thoroughly with water through a shower which applies pressure that pushes the chemicals out, after applying relaxers,’’ said the expert.
Dr Omololu Enigbokan, a resident doctor, advised women and men who use bleaching soaps and creams to stop the act because they were injurious to skin health.
“People should know the PH level of the soap they use and routine use of medicated soaps is not advisable.
“They are harsh on the body and contain a high PH level (normal soaps contain 5 per cent) which is not beneficial to the skin,” he said.
Enigbokan advised Nigerians to know their skin types as this would guide them in choosing appropriate soaps and creams.
He said the skin absorbs water into our bodies through hydration, adding that regular bathing with water improve hydration of the skin.
Prof. Kunle George, a consultant dermatologist in UCH, who spoke on how men could manage acne keloidalis (Bumps), said the disease was common in African men.
“Bumps manifests on the back of the head of the black male, itchy and may cause pain when infected by bacteria, adding that it initially appears as painless and un-itchy bumps.
“Avoid scratching which promotes inflammation and scraping it may lead to scar keloids,” he warned.