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Can Lupus Cause Hair Loss? What You Need to Know

An autoimmune condition known as lupus produces weariness, joint discomfort, stiffness, and a facial rash in the form of a butterfly. Moreover, some lupus sufferers lose their hair. It might be upsetting to lose your hair, but there are methods to cope with this issue. Everything you should know about lupus hair loss is provided below. Lupus sufferers often experience thinning hair. In addition to affecting the skin and joints, the autoimmune disorder causes systemic swelling throughout the body. This might lead to hair thinning or loss (alopecia). Are you dealing with unexplained hair loss and want to know if can lupus cause hair loss? Get the facts on this link between lupus and hair loss from our experts!

Hair loss associated with lupus may be slow and gradual, leading to a general thinning of the mane. Additionally, lupus may cause hair loss in patches, which often take the form of small, circular bald spots. Medical treatment for lupus is not without side effects, including thinning hair.

This page provides in-depth coverage of lupus hair loss, including its causes, common medicines that lead to hair loss, and examples of lupus hair loss. Also discussed are alternative causes of hair loss, therapies now on the market, and effective methods for keeping lupus hair hidden.

What Is Alopecia?

Loss of hair, or alopecia as it is medically known, is a common sign of many conditions, especially autoimmune disorders like lupus or thyroid issues. Scarring and bald spots appear on the scalp rapidly, sometimes within only a few days. 1 The fingernails and toenails may become brittle under certain conditions.

Hair loss occurs when the body’s immune system wrongly identifies healthy hair follicles as foreign invaders and begins fighting them. Are you dealing with unexplained hair loss and want to know if can lupus cause hair loss? Get the facts on this link between lupus and hair loss from our experts!

Hair loss may have several causes, including medication side effects, aging, and emotional or physical stress. Lupus is an example of a condition that may cause hair loss by disrupting the body’s immune system. Some other possible explanations include:

1. Heredity/genetics.

Androgenetic alopecia, which describes hair loss that runs in families, is the most common cause of baldness. Baldness or thinning hair is more common in men than in women. While there is currently no cure for pattern baldness, medical treatments may help reduce its progression.

2. Reactions in the chemical realm.

Hair dyes, tints, bleaches, straighteners, and other chemically treated hair treatments may dry out the hair and make it more prone to breakage and loss. If you suffer from this kind of alopecia, you should simply stop utilizing chemical treatments until your hair has grown back.

3. Tinea.

Infections with a fungus, like dandruff, may cause hair loss.

4. Scarcity of food.

Protein, iron, biotin, and zinc deficits have all been associated with hair loss.

Is Hair Loss Associated with Lupus?

Alopecia affects around 45% of lupus patients at some time in their condition. Most cases of hair loss occur early in the course of the autoimmune illness, and this may be one of the first symptoms to appear. 4 It’s so common that people are starting to refer to it as “lupus hair.”

  • Lupus-related hair loss may take several forms and manifest differently in each patient. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common form of lupus, may cause widespread (scalp-wide) or localized hair loss.

Localized alopecia caused by systemic lupus often affects the crown of the head. Lupus hairs are a kind of hair loss characterized by a noticeable increase in the proportion of shorter hairs (baby hairs) that surround the hairline and the perimeter of the head.

In most cases, hair loss stops after lupus is under control and seems to be linked to flare-ups. Are you dealing with unexplained hair loss and want to know if can lupus cause hair loss? Get the facts on this link between lupus and hair loss from our experts!

Nonscarring Alopecia.

Non-scarring alopecia associated with lupus is often brought on by inflammation of the scalp. Unlike typical bald areas, the hair loss associated with lupus tends to be more diffuse.

In certain cases, people with lupus may mistake stress-related hair loss for true lupus hair loss since there are no scars left behind (telogen effluvium). Yet, there is mounting evidence linking the autoimmune mechanisms behind systemic lupus to hair loss.

Hair loss accompanied by scarring.

Scarring alopecia is the result of damage to hair follicles caused by lesions on the scalp.5 Sores (lesions) might seem red, thick, and scaly but seldom cause discomfort or itching. Inflammatory cells penetrate the outer root sheath of hair follicles, making the follicular structure thicker. This causes scarring, which ultimately results in coin-sized permanent bald spots that may be irregular in shape. Discoloration of the skin is rather common. Scarring alopecia cannot be treated.

Subacute cutaneous lupus, chronic cutaneous, or discoid lupus erythematosus are examples of lupus subtypes that manifest with this symptom.

Lupus-friendly hairdos.

If you have the right cut, you may not even notice the bald spots caused by lupus. You may disguise thinning spots and make your hair seem fuller and thicker by switching up your part, cutting it shorter, or adding layers. Hair extensions, scarves, hats, and wigs may help you hide thinning hair or an area where your hair has receded.

The breakage of your hair may be minimized by treating it gently. Don’t use any hot tools on your hair, including a flat iron or a curling wand. Blow-dry your hair on the lowest heat setting possible. Avoid teasing your hair or pushing it back too tightly with an elastic or barrette, and use caution when coloring or bleaching your hair. Are you dealing with unexplained hair loss and want to know if can lupus cause hair loss? Get the facts on this link between lupus and hair loss from our experts!

You have less hair.

If you are losing hair at an unusually fast rate, particularly if you are under the age of middle age, you may have lupus. The inflammatory condition lupus causes inflammation throughout the body and the death of healthy cells, including skin cells.

The skin damage brought on by lupus stops the follicles in your scalp from retaining or growing hair. The process may be so subtle that you won’t notice it until you see a photo or video of yourself taken a few years ago when your hair was much thicker. Also, you can discover evidence in the form of more hair strands than is common for either your brushes or comb.

The hair towards the front of your hairline may also become more fragile than usual and fall out. The collective term for the short, jagged hairs that develop in the frontal area of the scalp is lupus hair. Hair loss is often the first sign of lupus. By acquiring a diagnosis and treatment in a timely way, it is possible to slow the progression of the condition.

Hair is falling out in bunches on your head.

Regrettably, lupus-related inflammation may make your hair fall out in clumps all at once. It’s conceivable that the round, hairless spots on your head are really discoid lesions. If the discoid lesions are not treated, your hair follicles risk developing permanent scars. One such sign that you could have the lupus condition discoid lupus erythematosus is the appearance of discoid lesions (DLE). The good news is that DLE seldom damages your internal organs and normally just affects areas of your skin that are directly exposed to sunlight.

Another name for diffuse cutaneous lupus erythematosus is chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CCLE). Tumid lupus and subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus, sometimes known as SCLE, are further types of lupus that only affect the skin.

On the other hand, the more common kind of illness, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), also affects your internal organs in addition to your skin and hair. If you have SLE, it’s conceivable that you’ll also have a butterfly-shaped rash that covers your cheeks and nose. Are you dealing with unexplained hair loss and want to know if can lupus cause hair loss? Get the facts on this link between lupus and hair loss from our experts!

Your head has lost further hair.

Lupus may also affect the hair on your body and face in other areas. You could experience the following signs and symptoms if you have lupus:

  • The body’s hair
  • Eyelashes
  • Eyebrows
  • Wig or toupee

Before alopecia therapy can start, a proper diagnosis is required since, in addition to alopecia, many other conditions and diseases may also cause hair loss.

There are additional signs and symptoms.

If you additionally have other lupus-related symptoms, get in contact with us right once for an assessment and, if required, treatment. Examples of typical lupus symptoms include:

  • Butterfly rash outbreak
  • Aching joints
  • Muscle ache
  • Chest discomfort
  • Eyes that are itchy, dry, or red
  • Kidney condition
  • Ulcers in the mouth or on the tongue
  • Blood clots develop

You may even find it difficult to concentrate or recall things if your brain has been affected by lupus.

What causes hair loss in lupus?

Not all lupus patients lose their hair. The hairline, however, often shows progressive thinning or breaking in those who have this problem. The regrowth of hair might occur sometimes or not.

This hair loss may be attributed to a variety of factors.

1. Inflammation.

According to studies, there are two forms of hair loss associated with lupus: scarring and non-scarring. Inflammation is the cause of hair loss that does not leave scars. Widespread inflammation, a defining sign of lupus, is often present. Hair loss may happen when it forms around the scalp and hair follicles. It’s crucial to understand that lupus-related inflammation doesn’t only impact scalp hair. Eyelashes, beards, and eyebrows may also fall out as a result.

Inflammation-related hair loss could be curable, but only if your lupus is effectively treated and enters remission. Are you dealing with unexplained hair loss and want to know if can lupus cause hair loss? Get the facts on this link between lupus and hair loss from our experts!

2. Discoid lesions or sores.

Lupus may sometimes result in discoid lesions or sores. These lesions, which may develop anywhere on the body, can leave behind scarring that is irreversible. Hair follicles are often harmed by lesions that develop on the scalp and create scars, leading to permanent hair loss.

3. Medication.

A side effect of drugs used to treat lupus might also be hair loss. A prescription for an immunosuppressant can also be given to you. These medications help you establish remission by reducing your immunological response.

What signs does lupus hair loss exhibit?

Hair may not always be impacted by lupus. Yet when it happens, the quantity of lost hairs increases. The American Academy of Dermatology states that up to 100 hairs might fall out every day in a typical person (AAD). But, depending on how severe their condition is, lupus sufferers may lose more weight than this. Lupus patients may notice hair loss after washing or combing their hair.

Although some individuals may only experience slight thinning or break around their hairline, others may have hair loss in clumps. Hair loss may affect the whole head or just a small portion of it. The amount of non-scarring hair loss in four women with systemic lupus erythematosus varied, according to a study by Trusted Source. For the ladies, between 55% and 100% of their hair was gone. To more precisely identify patterns, a bigger investigation is required.

If you encounter any kind of hair thinning or loss, see your doctor. Hair loss may sometimes be one of the early signs of lupus. Are you dealing with unexplained hair loss and want to know if can lupus cause hair loss? Get the facts on this link between lupus and hair loss from our experts!

Lupus medications.

Hair thinning has been seen in patients using immunosuppressive medications like prednisone for the treatment of lupus.

In addition to methotrexate, azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan) is another common medicine used to treat lupus (Rheumatrex). Hair loss is only one of the many unwanted side effects of these drugs. Nausea and urination problems are also common.
Hair loss may also be a side effect of other drugs:

  • (Mycophenolate mofetil) Cellcept (mycophenolate mofetil)
  • The cyclophosphamide drug Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide)
  • Clotrimazole immunosuppressant drug, or Lupkynis (voclosporin)
  • hydroxychloroquine (also known as Plaquenil) (hydroxychloroquine)

Lupus has been linked to thinning hair all over the body, not just the scalp.

The dilemma of baldness vs healthy hair growth.

A normal daily loss of hair for a human being is between 50 and 100 hairs. Around 90% of a person’s hair is actively growing (anagen phase) at any one moment, with the remaining 10% in a resting phase (telogen phase) that typically lasts around three months. 7 Some people with lupus have progressive hair loss, while others experience abrupt, clumpy hair loss.

Some people may find the content of this picture disturbing or offensive. Are you dealing with unexplained hair loss and want to know if can lupus cause hair loss? Get the facts on this link between lupus and hair loss from our experts!

Hair Loss Caused by Lupus: Medications.

Often, lupus hair loss will halt once the autoimmune condition is under control. A number of medications are available for treating lupus and putting it into remission, including:

1. Antimalarial drugs.

There are a number of antimalarial drugs, including Plaquenil and Aralen (chloroquine phosphate)

2. BlyS-specific inhibitors.

Immunosuppressants include BlyS-specific inhibitors like the injectable biologic pharmaceutical Benlysta (belimumab), as well as conventional drugs like Methotrexate, Cellcept, and Imuran.

3. Immunosuppressants.

To eliminate skin and scalp plaques, a combination of topical, oral, and injectable medications is employed. Besides the aforementioned drugs, the following are also often used to treat skin lesions:

4. Corticosteroids.

Local applications, oral administration, and intraplaque injections of corticosteroids are all utilized to alleviate inflammation.

5. Protopic (tacrolimus).

Topical immunosuppressant cream containing tacrolimus Protopic. Skin lesions may cause permanent scarring and serious damage to hair follicles. Timely treatment of scalp plaques10 may prevent the development of bald spots.

What are your treatment options?

If you do not have discoid lesions, your lupus hair loss may be reversible. Yet if you can manage the illness, hair loss will only go away on its own. Your doctor may recommend an antimalarial medication in addition to a corticosteroid and an immunosuppressant to treat your symptoms and lessen lupus flare-ups.

Moreover, biologics, which are injectable medications that might ease lupus symptoms, could be given to you. Take your prescription exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Lupus remission might take weeks or months to occur. Here are some coping strategies for hair loss in the interim:

1. Avoid sun exposure.

Both discoid lesions and lupus flares are susceptible to the sun. While outside, keep your head and skin covered. Put on a hat and use sunscreen. Lupus might make your skin and scalp more susceptible to sunlight. Even a mild case of sunburn on the scalp has the potential to set off an immunological response that leads to the development of skin lesions.

If you don’t want to risk getting bald spots from sunburn, it’s best to keep your head covered throughout the day. Hair follicles might be harmed by these plaques. Are you dealing with unexplained hair loss and want to know if can lupus cause hair loss? Get the facts on this link between lupus and hair loss from our experts!

2. You should switch medications.

See your doctor and ask about other medications or lowering your dose if you think your medicine is causing hair loss.

3. Adopt a balanced diet.

A fruit and vegetable-rich diet may help reduce hair loss. Moreover, inquire with your physician about vitamins and supplements that might strengthen your hair and lessen hair loss. Biotin, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, and zinc are among the vitamins that promote hair development.

4. Reduce tension.

A lupus flare and worsening hair loss are both caused by certain reasons. A well-known lupus cause is stress. Try meditation and exercise to help you relax. These 10 stress-relieving techniques might also be useful.

5. Get plenty of sleep.

Aim for eight to nine hours of sleep each night. Recognize that lupus hair loss is sometimes unavoidable. Even so, adopting a few hair care habits might lessen the amount of hair you lose.

  • Use a satin pillowcase while you sleep to prevent hair damage.
  • Retain the moisture in your hair. Thin or weak strands of hair might occur from breaking off dry, brittle hair. Try any of these DIY treatments for dry hair.
  • Until you can manage the sickness, stay away from severe hair care procedures like dyeing and heating. You should also avoid using tight rollers and regular brushing.
  • Try wigs out or shorten your hair as you wait for your hair loss to halt or reverse itself. Speak to your doctor about your alternatives if scarring has caused permanent hair loss.

Avoid using over-the-counter hair growth aids without your doctor’s consent, such as Rogaine. A distinct kind of hair loss is treated with these drugs.

Natural Hair Loss Remedies for Lupus.

In addition to managing lupus flares, the following measures may be used to reduce lupus-related hair loss:

  • Have a varied diet that includes healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins.
  • The tension in your life could be reduced if you start exercising regularly.
  • Make use of stress-relieving practices like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.

Vitamin, mineral, and other component supplements may aid in maintaining healthy hair. Biotin, a B vitamin, is often touted as a means to good hair, however, this claim lacks substantial data. Other nutrients that may promote healthy hair include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B, C, and D, and the minerals zinc, iron, copper, selenium, calcium, and magnesium.

Cautionary Notes About Relationships.

The use of dietary supplements may alter the effectiveness of certain pharmaceuticals. A visit to your rheumatologist or pharmacist is necessary before beginning any supplement regimen.

Is there any hope for a cure for baldness caused by lupus?

If you suffer from lupus and are experiencing hair loss or bald patches, a hair transplant may be able to help. A hair transplant is a surgical procedure in which healthy hair follicles are removed from one part of the body and transplanted into balding areas.

Hair grafting is the most common method of hair transplantation, in which a small strip of skin (a graft) is taken from the back of the head and implanted into bald or thinning areas. In most cases, a dermatologist or plastic surgeon will provide the local anesthetic and perform the procedure.

Only consider getting a hair transplant after your lupus is under control. Without treating the underlying inflammation that led to hair loss in the first place, transplanted hair has a difficult time taking root.

While lupus may be managed, it cannot yet be cured.

Getting a proper diagnosis sooner rather than later can allow you to begin treatments that will assist shorten the course of the illness and managing your symptoms. Any of the following treatments, among others, may help you feel better:

  • Eliminating tobacco usage
  • Limiting exposure to the sun
  • Making the change to a whole-foods-based diet
  • Taking part in a lot of physical activities
  • Using dietary supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D
  • Using anti-inflammatory drugs to lessen swelling
  • Undergoing medical treatment that involves needles or infusions

Two conditions that might be brought on by lupus and for which you could require specialized medical treatment are infections and high blood pressure. Are you dealing with unexplained hair loss and want to know if can lupus cause hair loss? Get the facts on this link between lupus and hair loss from our experts!

Check to see whether the hair loss you’ve been seeing is typical or if it might be an indication that you have lupus. Contact one of our skilled rheumatologists right now at the time and place that suit you best. Our offices are located in the New Jersey cities of Somerville, Flemington, and Monroe.

When to Seek the Advice of a Doctor.

If you see drastic hair thinning or loss, it’s best to see a doctor. It is possible that lupus is merely one of many factors causing your hair loss. A lupus patient may see a rheumatologist as often as once every three to four months. If you’ve seen considerable hair loss, bring it up at your next exam with your doctor.

If your rheumatologist has enough information from your medical history, physical exam, and lab tests, they may be able to make a diagnosis without ever seeing you in person. It’s important to rule out other potential reasons for hair loss, such as a thyroid issue or a fungal infection, before concluding that your lupus is to blame.

If you see any lesions on your scalp, see a doctor right away so you can prevent permanent scarring and bald spots. You should contact your rheumatologist right away if you see a lesion or rash on your scalp. If you’ve seen sudden, unexplained hair loss, or if your hair loss coincides with the beginning of a new medication, you should definitely give your doctor a call.


Hair loss sometimes has several reasons, and a scalp biopsy may be the only way to determine the true culprit. At some point during the procedure, a very little piece of skin will be cut out and examined closely under the operating microscope. The scalp is numbed with a local anesthetic before a little piece of skin is cut off with a knife.

Not only may hair thinning be an unwanted side effect of certain medications, but it has also been connected to conditions like thyroid disease and anemia that have nothing to do with lupus. Your doctor may decide to do blood tests to rule out other possible causes of hair loss.


An autoimmune response that specifically targets the scalp is typically to blame for hair loss in people with lupus. As a result of the inflammation, the scalp may lose a lot of hair. Medications for lupus have been linked to hair loss. Lupus subtypes that affect the skin are associated with symptoms including patchy hair loss and sores on the scalp. If these sores aren’t treated quickly, they might scar and leave permanent bald spots.

Treatment for lupus-related hair loss focuses on alleviating the symptoms of the underlying autoimmune disorder. Treatments that may alter the course of lupus include immunosuppressants, antimalarials, and biologics. Hair loss may be the symptom of a number of underlying medical conditions, such as thyroid disease and anemia. You should see a doctor about your hair thinning or falling out.

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