Why do people with Lupus suffer with hair loss?
This is a question we all ask ourselves, as gradually our hair thins and, in some cases, we even develop bald patches.
Reasons for hair loss
One of the reasons is Discoid Lesions, which is a chronic autoimmune disease that specifically affects the skin and can cause permanent hair loss due to the scarring on the skin and hair follicles.
However, people with SLE Lupus also experience hair loss, and we know that our immune systems attack our healthy cells, and these include the skins cells and hair follicles, and the hair follicles can no longer hold onto or grow the hairs required. It is normally a gradual process, and we don’t always notice immediately. I however did notice that when I brushed my hair, there were larger amount of hair on my brush than in the past, and when I wash my hair, I also lose a lot of hair.
Our eye lashes, eyebrows, etc. can also be affected by the hair loss. This has happened to me, where I used to have full long eye lashes and now have very short fine lashes, and my eyebrows have also thinned.
Hair Loss can could also be due to certain medications, so check the side effects of your medications, and/or ask your doctor
Hair loss can also be caused due to the inflammation that we experience all over our bodies, and our corticosteroid and anti-inflammatory drugs could help with this. One could also get an injection in the scalp if it is severe or apply cortisone ointment/cream if needed. Please speak to your doctor if you have lesions on your scalp or severe itching.
Coping with hair loss
To try to help you cope with hair loss, there are a number of things you could try.
- Eating a healthy diet will ensure that you are putting in the right vitamins and minerals that you body needs to grow healthy hair. Refer to my blog “What is the best diet for Lupus”
- Avoid sun exposure, which I know many of us do already, due to the reaction that we experience on our skin due to sun exposure.
- Stress can also lead to hair loss, so try to limit your stress. I know! Easier said than done, as we all experience stress in our lives.
- Sleep is a very important aspect for healthy living, so once again get plenty of rest.
- Head Massages, using hair oils/masks can also stimulate the scalp and may help improve hair thickness.
- You could also try a supplement that is specifically for hair loss. Biotin which is vitamin B7 is important for cells in your body and is usually found in these types of supplements. The other vitamins that are beneficial are Vitamin E, Zinc, Vitamin A, and all the B vitamins, and these types of vitamins are also often in hair loss supplements. I take a hair loss supplement, which I personally found has helped me.
- There are also natural remedies for hair loss, which could assist in minimizing the hair loss, such as Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil, Ginseng, Rosemary Oil, Fish Oil, which contains Omega fatty acids, Ginseng, Geranium Oil, and Lemon. You will often find shampoos, conditions and hair treatments that contain these ingredients. When looking for a good hair product, check to see if they contain any of the above.
There is no quick fix for hair loss, or any of the many side effects we experience due to our Lupus. For each of us it is a journey of self-discovery, and what works for our bodies specifically.
There are no miracle cures or a one experience fits all.
The more knowledgeable you become about Lupus and the more you try different things to see how your Lupus and body reacts, the closer you are to learning how to control and manage your Lupus.