There are so many things that are affected when a person has lupus that this alone can cause confusion, apprehension and stress when dealing with the disease. One of the symptoms of lupus that can be especially difficult to deal with for women is hair loss. This loss of hair may be one of the first signs a person notices that something is medically wrong with them.
They may wake in the mornings and notice their pillow covered in hair. For some this loss can be extreme leaving bare patches. In at least fifty percent of lupus sufferers there is a certain amount of reversible thinning or actual loss of hair. The key word here is reversible. When the disease is in remission the hair will regrow, slowly, but it will grow back.
During a flare-up the hair itself becomes so brittle that it now breaks constantly with very little effort. The hair can fall out easily as well. A person can run their hand over their scalp and come away with clumps of hair. There are also hairs that grow oddly, nicknamed lupus hairs, because they are short hairs that seem to grow at the line of the forehead.
When the lupus sufferer notices new hair loss it is important for them to contact their health care provider since this is often a sign of a flare-up. It is possible if the physician is contacted early enough that treatments can begin quickly and so the hair loss can be contained.
How to Avoid
There are some basic steps that can be taken to try to avert excessive hair loss. First if a person is using hair color this should be stopped. It damages hair enough when there is no problem coloring it. During a stage of hair loss it will only make it worse.
The same goes for curling irons, hot rollers or the overuse of hair dryers. Stay away from perms as well. If the hair is kept shorter it will be easier to deal with and the weight of the hair will not add more stress thereby encouraging it falling out.
There are a few others things that can be done to help reduce hair loss. Using a milder shampoo that has a detangler will make brushing or combing hair that has just been washed much easier. In fact using a rubber tipped brush or a wide toothed comb will also make for less pulling on already fragile hair.
Try to let the hair dry on its own after a gentle toweling. Anything that puts pressure on the hair is bad. That means that pulling it back into a bun or ponytail should be avoided. Do not use barrettes or any kind of hair clips. Any of these may make your hair look nicer but it will also put stress on it and could add to the hair loss.
The only time that the hair would not regrow is when the scalp has been scarred by lesions and so the follicles themselves wind up scarred. This does not happen very often.