Last week as part of the reader's choice week I discussed scab hair. I followed this up with a poll asking whether or not you had experienced scab hair. Thank you to the 152 participants.
The poll was intended to be a blind study. I really wanted to test the theory if people with scab hair relate it to having relaxer burns. The overwhelming answer is yes. Of the 85 people who said they had scab hair, 81 of them also reported relaxer burns (95%).
What does this mean?
Reader B suggested that scab hair could arise from hair growing out of a chemically damaged follicle. This may arise if the scalp was burnt by the relaxer.
Is there evidence of this?
Not directly. Normally the reports are of hair loss (alopecia) related to the scalp burn. I have not found evidence of continued hair growth in an abnormal manner which the theory would suggest.
However the theory of a damaged follicle producing a damaged hair shaft for a while until it gets to its shedding phase is a real possibility (See the diagram, click to enlarge it). The shedding phase could be induced early as a result of the damage or the hair could keep growing for its full growth phase (as long as 2-5 years).
Can you really identify scab hair so easily?
1. No, many people have been relaxed for so long that they really do not know what their 'normal' curl pattern really is.
2. Natural hair intrinsically has the same properties as scab hair - i.e it is naturally dry and the curl pattern can be erratic
What can you do?
My advice, wait it out. Appreciate the fact that your hair is still growing on your scalp. Be extra gentle with it .
Could 89 people really be wrong? I don't think so, some scientific studies take into account as few as 1-2 indiviuals. I am convinced scab hair is very much real for some of us.