A hand holding a piece of hair flying in the wind

Managing Lupus Hair Loss

Losing my hair was one of the first symptoms I noticed when I began to get sick. When I brushed my hair, more strands than usual remained in the bristles of the brush. My roommate at the time complained about the hair clogging our shower drain. As my first lupus flare progressed, my hair loss intensified. Once thick, my hair became noticeably thin. I could not run a hand through my hair without several strands detaching and floating to the floor.

Throughout my 12 years living with this disease, I have experienced periods where my hair thins and falls out. Over the years, I have learned a few tricks to minimize hair loss caused by lupus. Some of these tricks involve stimulating new hair growth. Others add volume to thin hair, making tresses look thicker than they actually are. All of them work to keep your hair healthy and on your head.

I wash my hair less often

The more you touch your hair, the more likely you are to dislodge fragile strands. Because of this, I keep any physical manipulation of my hair to a minimum. This includes washing. During periods of increased hair loss, I stretch the time between washes. Instead of shampooing every day, I wash my hair every other day. Less shampooing will also preserve some of the natural oils that your hair needs for nourishment.

I use dry shampoo

While not a long-term solution, I use dry shampoo instead of regular shampoo a few days each week or month. Dry shampoo is usually packaged in aerosol containers. To apply, I spray some on my locks and gently massage them into my scalp. This leaves my hair with a clean scent and a feeling of freshness. I like Amika’s Dry Shampoo or Dove Care Dry Shampoo.

I use a shampoo with biotin

When I do shampoo, I choose a shampoo with biotin and no sulfates. Biotin is a vitamin that promotes hair growth and stronger hair. One of my favorite shampoos for hair growth is Pure Biology’s Revivahair. My hair has never grown as fast as it has when using this shampoo. I have heard that Melanin Haircare’s African Black Soap Reviving Shampoo is also a great product.

I use a volumizing shampoo

A volumizing or thickening shampoo always makes my locks look fuller, even when I'm losing lots of hair. Cake’s The Big Deal leaves my hair thick, shiny, and strong. A small dollop of this shampoo goes a long way. I only need to use a squirt as big as a grape. Carol’s Daughter’s line of shampoos, especially the sulfate-free Black Vanilla Moisture and Shine Shampoo, are also excellent.

I take biotin vitamins

To promote new hair growth, I take biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin. It's present in some multivitamins, but can also be found separately.

Wearing a satin-lined cap at night can prevent breakage

Unlike cotton, silk and satin do not absorb moisture from hair. This keeps moisture in the hair, strengthening strands. Grace Eleyae has great products. Always consult your doctor before trying new products, though.

I brush my hair as little as possible

When I go through periods of excessive hair loss, I stop brushing my hair. I part my hair once with a comb after I shower and do not comb or brush it in the morning. When I wake up, I gently smooth it with my fingers and do not use a brush.

I cut my hair short

Growing up, I had always wanted long flowing hair that fell way past my shoulders. Then a lupus flare 4 years after my diagnosis thinned my hair to the point where long hair was no longer a possibility. I walked into the hair salon nearest to my house with my heart in my throat. When I explained my predicament to the hairdresser, she was kind and empathetic. She showed me a few pictures of short hairstyles. I chose a pixie cut, then put my trust in her hands. Forty-five minutes later, she spun me around in the chair so I could look in the mirror. My damaged scraggly hair was gone, replaced by a chic pixie cut. My entire face shape changed – for the better. My nose, once too long, seemed perfect with my new hair. I have never looked more like me. I found my perfect haircut and never looked back. Short hair is not for everyone, but you never know if it will suit you until you try.

These are all products and techniques that have helped with my own hair loss. However, everyone is different. Be sure to consult your doctor about any new symptoms or treatments.

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