What is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your own tissues. Inflammation can affect many different body systems, namely the skin, which is the largest organ in the body. Although it mainly affects women, anyone can be diagnosed with the illness. Damage to all parts of the body can occur, and while Lupus can be treated, there is currently no cure.
Does Lupus Cause Hair Loss?
A question that many patients have regarding Lupus is if it causes hair loss. In short, the answer is, yes. The inflammation that affects the skin, especially on the scalp and face, causes hair to gradually thin out. Round lesions can develop on the scalp, causing the hair follicles to be scarred, and the hair to slowly thin out. In some cases, patients can lose large chunks of hair, however, this is quite rare. In addition, the hair along the hairline can also become easily breakable. Patients can also notice the loss of eyebrows and lashes, as well as beards and body hair.
What are the Types of Hair Loss?
Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss, with the two types being scarring and non-scarring. When the alopecia is scarring, the hair follicles are completely destroyed, and regrowth is not possible. This often occurs with Discoid Lupus. However, if the inflammation is caught in an early stage, regrowth can occur. In non-scarring alopecia, the hair follicles remain intact, so patients will likely experience regrowth. When patients experience hair loss due to the medications they are taking, regrowth is also possible.
Can Hair Loss Due to Lupus Be Minimized?
As one of the first symptoms of Lupus, we understand that patients may not know how to proceed. Hair loss adds stress to an already difficult situation. While a patient may not be able to prevent thinning altogether, there are steps that he or she can take to minimize the loss of hair. Remember to get Lupus treatment as soon as possible, avoid sun exposure, and manage stress levels to avoid lupus flares. If you notice the hair loss to be significantly more than thinning, it is important to contact your doctor immediately. He or she can help you determine if the hair loss is due to prescribed medications and may be able to adjust the dose accordingly. Once your Lupus is under control, your doctor can take you off all medications, and you can experience complete regrowth of your hair.
What Can a Patient Do About Hair Loss?
There are several ways to deal with the experience of hair loss for those with Lupus. Patients should remember not to use over the counter hair treatments without first consulting their doctor. These treatments are intended for a different type of alopecia, and will not be effective for Lupus patients. With that in mind, patients can consider the following:
• Experiment with wigs - this is the perfect time to try a fun new look that can be achieved through the use of a wig. A custom wig for thinning hair is one of the most excellent solutions.
• Hair extensions - you can achieve the added volume that you need during this time. Hair extensions are applied with non-damaging techniques, are gentle to wear, and quick to apply.
• Try a new style - a professional stylist can help you with a great new hairstyle that will work to minimize the appearance of thinning hair.
• Take care of your hair - use a satin pillowcase, avoid harsh or rough brushing, and avoid aggressive chemical treatments that can damage the hair.
If you are a Lupus patient experiencing hair thinning or loss, contact us at New Look Institute. We have a variety of helpful options that we would be happy to discuss with you!
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