Gimmick commercials, dry shampoos and mythical greases aside, hair loss can be a complex problem to combat. While baldness is traditionally common among men, the idea that it’s a rarity among women is a fading tale. Over 21 million women are affected by hair loss and the matter has become increasingly common in African-American women.

Braids, extensions and other scalp-irritating styles are popular among many Black women. However, they can cause permanent damage.

“So many African American women tend to put braids, tracks or weaves in to compensate for hair loss and all that does is actually make the problem worse by ripping out their existing hair,” said 20-year hair veteran Tiffany Masiello-Helt .

Masiello-Halt is a managing cosmetologist, aesthetician and president of Precision, an Ohio-based hair treatment center known for its development of the state-of-the-art Precision Laser Therapy. With several “cover-up” methods designed to temporarily mask baldness, Masiello-Halt’s laser therapy has been successfully treating patients for over 10 years.

Her hair retrieval method uses a technology known as “cold lasers” which works to stimulate the hair re-growth process at the cellular level and is one of the few treatments that works effectively on women.

A number of fabrications make hair loss a misunderstood enigma. Wearing hats, washing hair too often, losing hair with age or the notion that hair loss is irreversible are some of the misconceptions outlined when discussing baldness, a series of falsities that Masiello-Halt dismisses quickly.

“There are 1,000 fallacies out there about what causes hair loss but all hair loss is genetic no matter what,” Massiello-Halt said. “Proper nutrition and diet will help (prevent hair loss) but if you’re predestined to have it, it’s not much you can do.”

The trained cosmetologist revealed several biochemical mishaps that can lead to baldness, including hormonal disturbances and distress.

“Hair loss is caused from an enzyme called DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) and what that is a byproduct of testosterone,” she revealed. “Testosterone being the main hormone in the male body but women’s bodies still produce a small amount of testosterone. So any time a woman has a hormonal fluctuation in the body, that’s what kicks in the DHT. The DHT also creates an over productivity of the spacious gland where all that extra oil and it will actually clog underneath the scalp so that you’re not getting the oxygen enzymes and nutrients from the body that it needs to grow. What our laser does is that it penetrates the scalp, breaks off that enzyme, the body flushes it out naturally and the hair will begin to grow.”

The success of Massiello-Halt’s therapy has resulted in the opening of numerous hair centers throughout the nation along with heavy distribution of its equipment to several specialists. The results of the therapy are permanent depending upon the patient and typically prices close to $3,500 with financing options available.

As a result of genetics, hair loss continues to be an ongoing problem for many races. With the increasing practice of hair retrieval solutions, the art of combating the issue is slowly gaining some much needed assistance.

For more information on Precision Laser Therapy, contact Tiffany Masiello-Helt at


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO