April 5, 2013 by The Lupie Chick
Lupus Related Hair Loss
Lupus hair loss can be caused by the disease itself, as the immune system destroys hair follicles, or by medicines such as prednisone and immune system-suppressants—in which case hair loss often stops once the medicine is stopped. Hair may fall out in strands, or in clumps with the slightest pull, and sometimes it just thins out and gets very fragile and breakable.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, an average person loses anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair each day. This may seem like a lot but keep in mind that it’s normal to lose and re-grow hair. However, when you aren’t seeing any re-growth, then it’s typically a sign that you may have an issue with your hair.
Most people don’t even notice the 50 to 100 strands of hair that they usually lose every day. With systemic lupus, the situation can be very different, with the loss of hair much more dramatic and noticeable.
It’s not a secret that I recently experienced hair loss after my most recent flare up. I didn’t speak about it much as it was happening, but on March 15, 2013 after months of shedding, loc’s breaking off, and obvious balding around my edges, I decided to BC aka Big chop.
I went to see my home girl Camille, Owner & Natural Hair Stylist at Noiree Salon in Silver Spring, MD and had her to take it off. She seemed a little hesitant, saying that she would take me shorter but I didn’t have to BC. I said NO- I’m ready- TAKE IT OFF! In a matter of 5 minutes my two strand twists were laying in a pile on the salon floor.
The previous year, I suffered hair loss and had my cousin April cut my bra strap length hair into a Diva cut.
This time, I was ready to “let it go” (in my Keyshia Cole voice). My TWA has changed my looks. Co workers barely recognized me when I returned to work, and attendees of my event Cupcakes & Cocktails were surprised at the short hair. I rocked a TWA continuously for 7 years back in the 90’s, but most of the people that I socialize with today had never seen me with short hair.
I’m still a little self conscience about the bald spots (especially my edges) – but as we all know-sometimes its part of the process (shrug shoulders).
Beginning today I will document my journey as I take steps to re grow my hair (specifically my edges). I’m not seeking to grow my hair a certain length, I just want to re grow the balding spots.
Check Out These Helpful Tips To Assist With Regrowing Your HairVitamins & Supplements for Hair Growth (Biotin)
- Few people are actually deficient in biotin, which occurs naturally in bacteria in the gut. Nevertheless, therapeutic doses of biotin – also called Vitamin H or B7 – are necessary to achieve benefits in hair health and rapid growth. It is difficult to overdose on biotin – many supplements come in 500 microgram capsules.
- Biotin is useful for those who want their hair to grow faster: some claim it can even reverse premature greying if the greying is caused by marginal biotin levels. Biotin can be taken alone or in conjunction with other B-vitamins. The latter may be a good idea if you lead a stressful lifestyle – B vitamins help to prevent stress, which is a cause of hair loss!
- Peppermint and Rosemary are commonly used to regrow hair, but must be combined with other oils like olive oil or coconut oil (also good for hair regrowth)
- Castor oil and Jamaican Black Castor Oil are often used for regrowth because of their thick quality and ability to thicken the hair. Jamaican Black castor Oil
- You don’t have to BC like I did (that was my personal preference). Long hair is weaker than short, so consider a shorter ‘do’ with layers to hide thinning or bald patches.
- Wash fragile hair with baby shampoo, and use a leave-in conditioner with sun block
- Products like Shea- butter and sesame oil have natural UV filtering properties. And while many hair products claim to protect hair from the sun, unless they have a SPF rating or contain a known sunscreen ingredient, these could be just marketing claims. If you plan to be out in the sun for more than an hour, the best hair care tip is to wear a stylish hat or scarf.
- Avoid adding more stress to your hair from using curlers and alcohol-based styling products, which can irritate sensitive skin.
- Hairpieces and extensions can be added into thin areas to create a fuller look. Just make sure that these aren’t too tight, because tension on weakened hair also can lead to hair loss.
- Wigs come in a wide range of styles, colors, and lengths. Your stylist can custom cut the wig to match your face (and personality). And don’t forget your scalp! Keep it dry to prevent chafing, and remove the wig occasionally to allow your skin to breathe.
Whether you decide to go with a wig or a new hairstyle, remember that there’s no wrong way to deal with hair loss. Everyone has a different comfort level; it should be an individual decision. Stay tuned as I document my attempts!
If you have lupus and are losing hair, do NOT experiment with over-the-counter hair loss treatments. Talk to your doctor about treatment options.