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Can Lupus Cause Hair Loss?

Posted on January 18 2019

Today, we’re going to take a step back to examine one of the lesser known causes of hair loss. For the majority of people that wear wigs, hair thinning or overall loss is a huge motivator to their decision to enter the world of wigs. We understand that it can be embarrassing and cause a lack of self-esteem — but it’s okay! There’s nothing to be ashamed about, it happens all the time and to more people than you might think, and that's what we're here for!

So why does this happen? Maybe it’s due to natural thinning of hair, medical or other reason, but one question we have been asked is about a disease known as lupus, and if this disease can contribute to hair loss. Before we answer that question, let's first get a good understanding of what lupus is.

What is Lupus?

Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) is a disease that causes fatigue, inflammation, joint pain/stiffness, and even a rash on the face. Not in every case, but lupus can be so severe that it can also cause round discoid lesions on the scalp, which can result in damage to hair follicles, and — depending on the type of lupus you have — may result in a permanent hair loss.

The two types of lupus that most people will experience are one that is permanently scarring to the scalp and can permanently damage your hair, and another that is non-scarring, and can allow for hair to grow back. But because lupus can be very subtle at first, many can experience a gradual thinning or loss of hair over prolonged amounts of time without even knowing they have the disease. Learn more about lupus at www.lupus.org.

Hair Loss From Lupus

Lupus has a range of causes including heredity, chemical damage (such as using bleach or dye), poor nutrition, and much more, so pinpointing where it came from or if you have it can be tricky. Lupus can be very slow and subtle at first, making it so many people aren’t even aware that they have it.

If you start to notice a significant increase in hair loss (through brushing hair, washing hair, or even running your fingers through it), you may have the first signs of developing lupus. When this occurs, hair may come out in clumps, excessive shedding, or may even break off easily, and appear very brittle and weak. This can be widespread across your entire head or focused on a single spot

We always encourage you see a doctor if you start to experience significant hair loss, as there are many reasons it can occur. Lupus is just one of the reasons to be explored!

How is Lupus Treated?

If diagnosed, your doctor may prescribe an antimalarial drug, biologics, or vitamin supplements which can help to relieve lupus symptoms, and even work to prevent or reverse further hair loss (always consult doctor before taking any medications). 

In addition to the possible treatments that could be done for this disease, there are also some precautions you can take at home daily to combat loss and promote healing.

  • Rest, rest, and more rest

 As with most diseases and illnesses, avoiding stress, anxiety, or high velocity activities is key for proper healing. Make sure you take time every day to ensure you are getting plenty of sleep, and aren’t pushing your body beyond it’s limits.

  • Avoid sun exposure put that tanning oil away!

Because the sun can be so powerful, avoiding excessive sun exposure is ideal for avoiding lupus and healing quicker, as the sun can trigger discoid lesions. This can be easily avoided if you wear sunscreen, hats, or limit your heads exposure to direct sun.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet

 And of course, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! To combat hair loss from lupus, try your best to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet, as this can offer your body vitamins and nutrients that it needs for proper protection, growth, and healing. 

  • Take care of your hair treat yourself!

Because lupus isn’t always reversible and can’t always be prevented, it’s very important to take care of the hair you do have by deeply moisturizing, staying away from harsh substances such as heating products or dyes, and regularly hydrating hair strands (especially if your hair is very dry and brittle).

  • Rock a new style consider a wig or topper

If you aren’t a fan of wigs already, even considering the possibility of them can be difficult. But in order to give your hair proper time to heal and potentially grow back, you have to leave it alone as much as possible. Wearing a wig is a good way to protect the hair you have, and give the look of healthy, full hair in the meantime.

This can be a serious confident booster for you and help you to stay positive during the healing process (and it never hurts to spoil yourself a little).

Read next: 

The Relationship Between Stress and Hair Loss

All About Traction Alopecia

What Vitamins Are Good For Hair Growth?

Do you have lupus or another disease causing hair loss? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

4 comments

  • The Wig Experts: February 04, 2019

    Kirsten,

    We are so glad that you found wigs.com to help with your coverage needs due to hair loss! One of our very top priorities is making sure that women are educated, not only on the wigs themselves – cap constructions, colors etc. But also the various causes of hair loss, and hair loss as a symptom of certain diseases and disorders. Thank you for your feedback!

    The Wig Experts

  • Kirsten Cione: January 25, 2019

    I have Lupus and have significant hair loss, it shocked me how many people did not know what lupus was and nobody knew that it caused hair loss. Thank you for your article and educating the public, i remember when I first was diagnosed with lupus and I started to slowly lose all my hair , i had to wear wigs people didn’t believe me that lupus caused hair loss there was very little information out there about Lupus. Thank you wigs.com!

  • The Wig Experts: January 21, 2019

    Amy,

    It’s stories like yours that motivate us to do what we do and make sure that there are beautiful, high-quality wigs and hairpieces as an option for those with diseases or illnesses that cause hair loss. It’s important that hair is something you don’t have to worry about while dealing with illness. If you’re not already part of our forum, I encourage you to join as you will find other women going through something similar and you’ll most definitely get plenty of love and support. You can find it at https://www.wigs.org/

    Thank you for your feedback!

    The Wig Experts

  • Amy Rutherford-Close: January 21, 2019

    I have Hashimoto’s disease. It took a long time for the correct diagnosis. I take Thyroids meds, but still, have flares which include hair thinning and extensive loss. It’s been a hard road but entered the world of wigs to cope. Still not fully comfortable yet but getting there.

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