The dreaded hair loss that we all experience with Lupus.
It sucks so much to see your hair fall out while you shower, run your fingers through your hair, or even brush it. It got to the point that I didn’t want to brush my hair. Don’t worry, I still did though.
It made me feel ugly, less womanly, and less beautiful. I had an epiphany throughout my journey with Lupus.
I don’t need to wave the white flag and submit to Lupus because I’ve learned that we can control the severity of our flare-ups and grow our hair back even if it’s from our meds, the sun, or stress.
By applying these 3 simple Lupus life hacks (TM), you’ll have shiny, thicker, and healthy looking hair whether you’re concerned about your eyebrows, eyelashes, or scalp.
Let’s not waste time getting to the goodies.
- Discoid Lupus
- Systemic Lupus Hair Loss
- Will Hair Loss Grow Back?
- Nutrient Deficiencies
- Hair Mask/Treatment
What Types of Hair Loss Can Occur?
Alopecia or hair loss is a common symptom of Lupus. About 50% of Lupus sufferers experience this. Alopecia can be temporary and sometimes it’s permanent. This depends on the cause of your hair loss.I’ll get into that shortly.
First, we have to know the difference between the two so that we better understand and can determine which we are suffering from and how to prevent the severity of both, as well as, treating it without harsh medications and chemicals.
Systemic Lupus Hair Loss – Non-Scarring Alopecia
- Systematic lupus – If the hair loss is caused due to systematic lupus, then it is known as telogen effluvium. It is basically caused due to severe illness that flares up the inflammation on the scalp and face.
- In systematic lupus, you may see hair loss to be most pronounced in the frontal area of the scalp. But, it can happen in different areas.
- This is preventable, treatable, and your hair tends to grow back, but it never grows back the same unless you do what Lupus warriors find so very helpful. I’ll get into those details shortly.
Discoid Lupus – Scarring Alopecia
- Cutaneous or discoid Lupus is where thick and scaly lesions form on our skin, scalp included. Our skin is the largest and most sensitive organ of our body.
- Discoid Lupus actually kills the hair follicles. Meaning, the follicles can’t produce hair anymore and it is usually a permanent loss.
- Prevention is better than any cure, so by following my tips below, you’ll support your hair and skin for long-term hair gains.
- We’re learning with proper treatment, we can lessen the severity of damage and promote healing all while growing some of your hair back. So, don’t get too discouraged! It may not grow as thick as previously, but proper nutrients will definitely help lessen the severity and promote healing before it’s too late.
What Causes Lupus Hair Loss?
1. Lupus Flare-ups
When we go through an active flare-up our inflammation is much more prevalent in our body. Our antibodies are created by the body and attack the hair follicles causing the hair shaft to be rejected by the body. So, it falls out or becomes very brittle.
When a stressful situation occurs, cortisol is supposed to tap into our blood glucose reserves to give the energy for flight or fight. When bodies don’t complete this process, the system thinks it is in shock. Nervous shock can cause telogen effluvium (TE) or temporary hair loss in a non-patterned way.
Typically, hair grows in three stages:
Hair growth stage where individual strands may grow roughly half an inch per month
Following the anagen phase, the catagen is the end of hair growth and lasts about 10 days
This is a resting phase where the hair is released and falls out. After falling out, the hair follicle remains inactive for 3 months and then the process will repeat.
The problem is when too many hair follicles go into the telogen phase especially at the same time and for an extended period of time.
3. Sun Exposure
As a flare-up is triggered by the sun or UV lights, it can cause the rashes or lesions to occur because the cells on our skin are unable to get rid of the dead cells caused by sunburn. They also are more sensitive to the UV rays causing dysfunction in the cells of our scalp. When discoid lupus causes hair loss, inflammation and scarring damage the hair follicles, which can progress to irreversible baldness.
However, you can prevent the severity and promote healing by using the same hair mask I do for hair loss treatment.
Many medications like NSAIDs, antidepressants and anti-blood-clotting drugs can cause hair loss, but there are a few common ones that I’ll discuss how they cause hair loss. Even though they do affect our hair growth, my treatment plan is still effective at stopping this and able to promote your hair to grow faster by counteracting it.
Prednisone causes hair loss because it’s a synthetic version of the steroid hormone that is naturally produced in your adrenal gland. So, as it takes over your natural balance of hormones, it throws off the balance in hormones that affect the cycle of hair growth.
It causes you to enter the telogen effluvium phase of your hair growth earlier than normal. This is one of the phases that I talked about earlier.
These types of drugs affect the anagen effluvium phase where the hair stops growing. It causes the loss of body hair too. these drugs do this by damaging the healthy matrix of cells. Although this is usually unavoidable, there are other options to consider before having to resort to this sometimes. Low dose naltrexone (LDN) is a very reliable off-label use drug that contains and balances your immune system. The best part about it is the high success rate and no crazy long or short term side effects.
Read section two of this blog to learn more about LDN.
5. Nutrient Deficiencies
Iron, biotin, and selenium are common deficiencies that affect us and our hair. We normally don’t know our levels because doctors don’t test for this unless we really push. So, reach out to a functional medicine doctor or find a doctor that will work with you on making your blood work in optimal ranges rather than “normal ranges”.
The difference between an optimal range and normal range is what determines your success with treatments for any chronic issue.
Many people still feel symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, brain fog, hair loss, and more due to fluctuating levels of various vitamins and hormones in your bloodwork. The ranges that are currently listed on your bloodwork are out of date and are too wide of a range for most.
An example would be your vitamin D levels. They should be between 60-90 ul, but your bloodwork states anywhere after 30-100 is okay. However, many studies suggest that your immune system functions much better and bone pain decreases when your levels are between 60-90 ul.
This has the biggest impact on long-term health goals.
Iron deficiency can cause hair loss. If hair follicles don’t get enough oxygen, they ‘rest’ and hair falls out. So, it’s important to check for this deficiency too.
This is one of the most common deficiencies in the US. If you’re diabetic on metformin, take antiacid, have GI autoimmune diseases, you’re even more likely to suffer from this. This deficiency causes premature hair loss and greying.
This is part of the vitamin B’s. It produces fatty acids and amino acids and activating amino acids in the hair roots and nail cells.
Selenium is very important for your thyroid. It’s a powerful antioxidant that minimizes free radicals that form from the difficulties chronic illness brings to your body. Also, that’s what contributes to maintaining hair and nail health. If you have untreated thyroid issues, it will make your hair loss or hair breakage worse.
If your blood work shows TSH above 2.0 and you have thyroid antibodies, this means your thyroid is dysfunctional and LDN with Synthroid is one of the best Rx to take to help alleviate your symptoms and lower your thyroid levels with very little side effects.
Lupus Hair Loss – Will It Grow Back?
Most cases, if lupus is controlled or treated, the hair tends to grow back. This usually happens in systemic lupus, wherein although the effects are dramatic, but if treated well then things seem to go back to normal in about six months. However, we can make it much better faster by applying my methods below.
Lupus Life Hacks™ to Prevent and Treat Lupus Hair Loss
This specific treatment has helped my hair grow 1 inch within a month. It’s known to promote hair growth by 3-5 times the normal rate.
This is the best treatment for your hair because you’re directly applying natural, organic products to your hair so that it can absorb the nutrients it’s lacking and help tame your scalp inflammation during a flare-up too.
100% organic castor oil and avocado oil, organic rosehip oil, grapeseed oil, and JBCO are mixed together to give you the perfect ratio of much-needed nutrients, antibacterial properties, and antifungal qualities.
You can apply this to the hair on your head, eyebrows, and even eyelashes!
Since avocado oil is rich in antioxidants, has a perfect mixture of the compounds that make up vitamin E, and is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin E how can you resist it?!
Avocado oil contains polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols which can reduce skin damage, tighten skin and reduce wrinkles as a bonus for skin use.
The antioxidants in castor oil support keratin in your hair and help make it stronger, smoother, and less frizzy.
When suffering from a discoid lupus flare, this is especially protective of your scalp and will help alleviate symptoms while protecting your scalp and hair from further damage.
I use this regularly and it’s my go-to for hair strengthening, length, and to promote thickness.
Try it out for yourself today, you have nothing to lose, only beautiful, strong hair to gain.
Poor blood flow in your scalp can make your hair loss worse. This can be caused by stress because our muscles constrict, restricting blood flow. Plus, inflammation makes it more difficult for blood to flow as well.
So, who doesn’t love a scalp massage?!
Our bodies are inflamed and need some extra TLC to get fluids moving and blood flowing. If blood isn’t properly flowing and messages from our nerves are not being transmitted making our body happy to let us know aka we experience symptoms.
This is also a two-fold resolution.
First, this can be something your supportive partner does for you before bed.
It’s relaxing, it makes them feel like they’re doing something that helps, and it brings happy chemicals to our brain as we bond with our partner.
Second, it feels sooo good. Need I say more?!
I feel like a broken record, but diet plays a major role in whether our disease is active more often or not. Plus, it’s great at preventing inflammation if we eat the right versions and variance of vegetables and fruits that are tailored to our specific needs. These needs will change throughout our lifetime too so don’t get discouraged if you try a diet and it doesn’t work.
It also takes months for some to see changes because our body needs time to re-balance itself while healing.
The best way to determine what foods feed your inflammation and which will help is to take stool samples and get them tested by a trusted company. They will determine how much good vs bad bacteria you have. From there, it will help you determine what to remove from your diet so the bad bacteria will starve and die.
In general, we all need to eat organic as much as we can and have whole foods with a plant-based diet. It will help feed your body all the nutrients it so desperately needs to function correctly. Plant-based doesn’t mean become a vegetarian or vegan either; don’t freak out just yet!
It means your meals largest portion is made of organic, non-GMO veggies.
Don’t be afraid to be picky when it comes to what kind of meat you eat too.
Pasture raised, free-range, and organic meat is more beneficial for your overall health. No chemicals or GMOs from the grains eaten by animals will be able to harm you if they eat off the land as nature intended. Plus, protein is important as they’re the building blocks of collagen matrix for your hair.
General Lupus Hair Loss Prevention Tips
- Don’t put chemicals in your hair, that includes hair coloring. Chemicals trigger and support a flare-up because our body is ultra sensitive and can’t naturally detox or get rid of chemicals as well as a healthy functioning person.
- Use gentle shampoo & conditioners with clean and natural ingredients. My favorite to use is Andalou because it’s hypoallergenic, pH balanced and its 98% nature derived. My hair isn’t greasy so fast, and it’s gentle on my hair while keeping it clean.
- Don’t wash your hair every day. Try to work your way up to washing every 2-3 days.
- When your hair is wet, brush from the bottom up. If you can avoid brushing it while it is wet that is best. If you can’t, you can use a brush specifically made for wet hair.
Are you going to make the changes necessary to see your hair healthy again?!