Scab Hair Myth or Reality...Chime in!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rana at the Elle 25 Summer Cocktail Party in The Hamptons.

This last post on Kurly Kichana mail where frustrated Kui explained how hard and unmanageable her hair was, has brought on a debate on the reality or lack thereof of scab hair.

We have never relaxed our hair hence have no clue on scab hair, we enlisted the help of Kinky_lockz...our loyal follower and great friend to the blog to open up to our readers on her experiences with scab hair.

Here it for Kinky_lockz!!

Scab hair – Hair that is directly underneath the scalp that has been affected by the hash chemicals(i.e. relaxers, texturizers). Even though the hair is new growth it isn’t “trained” to behave in it’s natural state. The hair can be straight-wiry, very dry, hard, and brittle. It usually takes somewhere around 6 months to a year to completely grow it out. – Derived from

*googling "scab hair natural hair" provides more resources
My thoughts: In short, scab hair may be considered a theory as not everyone experiences it. I believe scab hair is correlated to having had a relaxer and scalp burns. The defining factor that led me to conclude that scab hair was present is the front section of my hair was brittle, excessively shedding, wiry and would not hold moisture in comparison to the rest of my hair. It looked alright but it felt a mess... this was my second time 'going natural' so I had an idea of my texture and this was not a true representation of that. A few months down the line, this section was prone to single strand knots (SSKs) like no other, and the scalp was tender, almost sore during detangling sessions. I feared to comb this hair and baggying/deep conditioning seemed futile.

I did want to break down in a fit of tears yet I remained consistent with my routine...when it was shorter I co-washed regularly and when it had some length I began to do more twist-outs. In November 2010 (approx. 16 months post BC) I blew out my hair and flat ironed. The ends were rough and remained 'bushy', untamed by heat. I could fully see all the SSKs and feel the texture difference so I trimmed. I was merciless, probably hacking an inch or more all over. Currently, this section retains moisture better and has a defined hair type, kinky and frizz-prone if you will.

Disclaimer: (1) I will admit abuse to my hair: I was double processed, chemical relaxer and hair dye. The front section is where I experienced relaxer burns. Furthermore, during my transition I applied the most amount of heat to this area and wore heavy extension braids on my fine strands. However, I knew this unruly texture was not as a result of heat damage nor over manipulation because this section did not have split ends or breakage and it did have a curl/wave pattern.

(2) After the chemically damaged follicle shed I did not have a new curl pattern, e.g. i didn't go from '4g' to '4a'.

(3) Of course, it is possible to have different textures on one head of hair.

Chime in and give your opinions and experiences on scab hair and how to deal with it.

Big thanks to Kinky_lockz for this info :-)
Erika said...

Okay, I was hoping to see something really disgusting (don't judge!) I've never heard of this. I BC'd and I didn't notice anything like that.

kinky_lockz said...

lol. it's not as disgusting looking as it sounds. just resembles matted hair in some cases and in others it feels weird but looks 'normal'. google :)

Honey said...

I heard of scab hair when I first BC too. I think I might have experienced it. My hair did not look different but when I first BCed my ends felt so rough and my hair had a hard time retaining moisture, it was always dry. After months of cowashing, deep conditioning, hot oil treatments. My hair changed. The texture did not changed, am still a 4b perhaps 4c but my hair is always so soft even when it needs moisture and its dry, its soft. I also most add that this was after trimming my hair 2-3 times. So does scab hair exist am not sure but there is definitely something about how your hair feels after all those years of perms.

Kui said...

I definitely concur with honey & kinky_lockz. From my own experience, after years of relaxing and colouring my hair, my natural hair is definitely different from my pre-relaxer hair - and not different in a nice way! So I reckon this scab hair thing is more of reality than myth except some people are fortunate enough not to experience it when they transition back to natural hair. The only consolation is that it sounds like eventually the hair does "settle down" or atleast attains some semblance of the pre-relaxed hair.

Anonymous said...

I have scab hair and it looks bad!!If I could attempt to describe it, it's growth with weak hair strands (still have chemical) on top of the growth. You actually look sick especially if the weak hair strands are a different colour, due to overprocessing, from the growth. The growth part is very dry and hard!! Trust you can/will break several combs. I am transitioning, it's been 7 months since the last time I relaxed my hair, and damn it's hard to manage natural hair! I have been braiding to avoid combing the steel wool but my hair line is receding so i'm taking a break from the braids. Today I tried castor oil with mink and my ooh my~I had a reason to smile. My hair is soo soft I cannot believe I hadn't tried it all this time :)

Rose Mburugu said...

scab hair is real...i big chopped 3 weeks ago and i have 1 inch growth of scab hair...and beneath the scab hair there lies my beautiful real hair...i am waiting for the next two months and i do a secondary big chop to cut out the scab...the secret to managing scab hair wet your hair..water is the best moisturizer..and then u lock in the moisture with pure castor oil...its working for me i hope it works for u too.

Mary said...

Based on experience and also with some researches, deep conditioning will somehow help to lessen or prevent scab hair. Also, try eliminate heat and keep your natural hair nourished inside out. I've read on the comments that keeping your hair moisturize will help too! :) Have a great day everyone!

Anonymous said...

I too am experiencing what appears to be scab hairs in the crown, sides, nape, and a small portion in the back of my head. It is frizzy, hard, and extra dry. Luckily every part, besides the crown, has about a half of an inch of softer, smoother hair growing behind it. The crown has it too, but not as much. In hindsight I remember these areas never got straight with heat, no matter how much I applied to it. There is something to this scab hair busines. Not everyone gets it, but then again everyone's hair is different... And not everybody burned with their relaxer. I happened to remember burning in all my scab hair areas.

Anonymous said...


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