The truth about before and after pictures:
Everyone loves a good before and after picture. They show what is possible and achievable with dedication and commitment. However, some can be misleading and sometimes darn right lies. I will not address liars today. But there is a special place in hair hell for those who say rice water gave them waist-length hair in 4 weeks. And yes, including the Youtuber who grew her hair overnight with an egg and oil concoction – words fail me, she even had pictures! hellfire!!
Misleading Before and After Pictures:
Look at the picture I have put up now. I could put it on Instagram and say, ‘this lady started my course in November 2019 and finished in April 2020’. I would not be lying. She did start my course in November 2019 and finished in April 2020. Technically, this would be true. But most definitely it would be half true, shades of lies. Leaving the story there would be misleading advertising and information.
can see why people are tempted to constantly churn out before and after pictures; they are feeding into that instant gratification that consumers love. That visual representation that a lot of us buy into. You see it in fitness too. And there is nothing wrong with before and after pictures. They are amazing, I use them when I can. But there are occasions where the person sharing the before and after pictures needs to be a little bit more responsible. Because half-truths are a disservice to the community. Half-truths can stifle knowledge acquisition. It can lead to unrealistic expectations. It can breed mistrust when others do not achieve the same outcome. And in the end, it can directly or indirectly harm all those offering a service in this area.
The truth behind the picture:
My amazing client did start my course in November 2019, primarily for her three daughters. She had been diagnosed with Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA), with little prospect of recovery. But she did not give up. She joined my course and started to learn good hair practices, which she applied to her daughters and herself. At the same time, she proceeded with medical intervention, despite the low prospect of a cure. Let me be clear, it was emotionally draining for her especially because she felt that she contributed to the condition. CCCA is a form of scarring alopecia on the scalp that can result in permanent hair loss. It is currently the most common form of scarring hair loss seen in black women. And it is linked to certain hair practices, although an assumption can’t be made that those who suffer from it have been complicit in the condition– that would be too simplistic. My client’s medical intervention included a mix of topical and oral medication. A qualified dermatologist prescribed Plaquenil (chloroquine) and a topical steroid to control the inflammation in her scalp. In addition, she had blood tests each time she went to the dermatologist. She was being monitored properly whilst on these medications. In fact, when she showed us these pictures in the support group, she also said that she and her Dermatologist had begun discussing how to wean her off the steroids.
Sometimes it takes a team:
In addition to all of this medical intervention, she had been adopting my teachings; washing weekly, conditioning, treating the hair with love and she even said she was prepared never to wear braids again (applicable to her in the context of her experience) I am sharing my client’s story to show you that there can be more behind a quick before and after picture. And that with hair loss some people may need multiple support. I am grateful for dermatologists and science that means people like her can get help. I am grateful for Trichologists who do amazing work. We can all work together successfully to help the need out there. But we must focus first on the need. And where we have jointly made a positive impact, let us give credit to where credit is due.