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Lupus and Hair Loss: Why This Can Happen and Treatment Options

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Hair loss can be a common effect of lupus. And, while this is not a dangerous effect of this condition, it can be bothersome and negatively affect a person’s self-esteem and confidence.

Not everyone with lupus will develop hair loss, and those that do may not experience the same type of hair loss or to the same extent. 

Below, we will briefly cover what lupus is, how lupus can cause hair loss, the two different types of hair loss seen with lupus, and the ways that you can help avoid or improve lupus hair loss.

What is lupus?

Lupus is classified as an autoimmune inflammatory disease, where the body is erroneously attacking its own tissues.

Lupus can cause symptoms including:

  • A butterfly-shaped facial rash, or rashes elsewhere on the body
  • Joint pain, stiffness, and/or swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Lesions on the skin that worsen with sun exposure
  • Fingers and toes that can turn white or blue with cold exposure or stress
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Hair loss

How can lupus cause hair loss?

There are a few reasons why lupus can lead to hair loss. Lupus can lead to increased inflammation of your skin, including the skin on your scalp. Inflamed skin can make it that your hair follicles are not growing the healthiest hair, including hair that is very dry and brittle or slow-growing. Very dry and brittle hair may break off, leading to small strands of broken hair. This tends to be prominent along the hairline in people with lupus. And, many short broken-off hairs along the hairline may be referred to as “lupus hair” in those with the condition.

Another potential cause of hair loss in those with lupus is a scarring type of hair loss where hair falls out in clumps. Since lupus can cause rashes on the skin, these rashes can occur on the scalp as well. And, when they do, they may cause the hair to fall out where the rash was located. These sores are sometimes referred to as discoid sores, and they may scar over stopping further hair growth on the area.

In addition to inflammation, rashes, and sores, some of the medications used to help treat or limit lupus symptoms could potentially come along with some hair loss. Steroids and immunosuppressant medications may have the potential for hair loss alone. If you are concerned about the medications you are using for lupus causing or exacerbating hair loss, talk to your doctor about it. Never stop or change your medication regimen without consulting with your doctor first.

The two types of hair loss seen with lupus:

There are two types of hair loss that can be seen with lupus, hair loss which tends to grow back, and hair loss which will likely not grow back.

If your lupus hair loss is from breakage, general thinning from scalp inflammation, or a medication. Your hair is likely to grow back or recover if your overall lupus is better controlled, your scalp health improves, your work to reduce the brittleness of your hair with hydrating hair products, or the offending medication is stopped or adjusted (only through speaking with your doctor, of course).

However, if your hair loss occurred due to discoid sores forming on your scalp, there may be scarring of the skin which can cause permanent hair loss in that area.

What are the ways to help treat hair loss from lupus?

The best way to help treat hair loss from lupus is to help keep your overall lupus controlled by using treatments as prescribed and avoiding common lupus triggers like sun exposure and excess stress.

If you feel that your hair loss started or became exacerbated due to a medication you are using for your lupus, you may be able to talk with your doctor about the issue to see if adjustments can be made to your treatment regimen.

If you are finding it is the dryness and brittleness causing excess hair breakage, utilizing highly moisturizing and gentle hair products may help limit additional breakage. Avoiding heat styling, bleach, and hair dyes may also help improve your general hair health and reduce breakage.

While scarring discoid sores on your scalp can lead to permanent hair loss in the area, getting better control of your lupus going forward may help limit more sores from forming and causing additional hair loss. Your hairstylist may also be able to help you come up with a hairstyle that can help hide temporary or permanent hair loss from lupus.

Strut Health prescription hair loss treatments online

Here at Strut Health, we do not treat hair loss from lupus specifically, but we do offer customized hair loss treatments that target genetic hair loss like male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss.

We can combine multiple active ingredients into one convenient topical formula according to your hair loss symptoms, goals, and preferences.

If you are interested in seeing if a prescription hair loss treatment is a good route for you, simply select the hair loss medication you are interested in from our website and you can have a free online questionnaire and image-based telemedicine consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors in under 15 minutes.

If you are a good fit for treatment, your medication can be shipped to your front door with our free shipping.

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