I am a 21 year old African American Female. I started to relax my hair for the first time at about fourteen years old and after a couple months (maybe 6) the hair at the back of my head began to fall out. I then proceded to braid my hair for the next two years and relaxed it again at 16. Again, following a couple of months my hair began to fall out at the same place – the left corner of my head. I put it in braids again. I permed my hair for the last time when I was 18 and then decided that I was going to go natural. I braided my hair for the next two years to gradually grow out my natural hair. I now do not process my hair chemically (or hotcomb it) at all. However, last year after wearing my natural hair out for about 8-9mths my hair fell out in the same place again. Basically – My hair falls out repeatedly in the same place – the left corner in the back of my head. All the rest of my hair seems relatively fine. I usually put my hair in braids when this happens and the vast majority of the hair grows back (pretty quickly too). But after taking the braids out and leaving my hair out for a while, natural (no chemicals, or straightening products – just in a straight afro) it repeatedly breaks in that spot. HELP!! Do you have any hints into what is going on ?
Braiding will cause hair loss from constant pulling pressure, meaning Traction Alopecia. This is a known permanent cause of hair loss in the African American community. All of the things you discussed can cause permanent hair loss if you persist in doing them. I can not tell you if you are past the point of no return, but would strongly advise that to prevent further hair loss, you should avoid braiding and everything else you are doing to your hair. After a year or so, you will know what your new baseline is.
Many women in your situation find that if they put a stop to the things that they are doing to get the style they need to function on a daily basis, then I understand that the problem and the solution clash. Even the wigs used by some women can produce traction alopecia if they pull on the hair, so you have to find a balance between your social needs and the costs (in hair loss terms) between the things you do.