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Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. About 16,000 Americans develop lupus each year and 90 percent will be women.


The side effects related to lupus are extensive and unique to each person. However, one of the more common is hair loss, affecting about 6 of every 10 persons with lupus.


Hair loss related to lupus will generally occur in one of three ways. The hair will fall out:


  1. At the front inch or two of the hair line
  2. All over the scalp, possibly including the eyebrows
  3. In round, quarter-sized lesions on the scalp


Losing your hair can be emotionally trying for anyone. And since lupus affects mostly women ages 15-45, this can be particularly unsettling.


The reason for the loss is because the body is rejecting the hair follicle, and as a result, it falls out. If you have lupus and experience hair loss, do not try to treat it with over-the-counter products such as Rogaine. That’s for treating alopecia, a completely different type of hair loss.


Fortunately, the sooner you recognize and treat the hair loss, the more effective the interventions can be. Your doctor will want to rule out the possibility of medication causing the issue. If medication is not the cause, your doctor will likely recommend treatment options like topical creams (such as steroid lotions) or oral medication (such as prednisone) once your lupus is under control. It is important to work with your doctor to discover the cause and identify the best way to treat or manage the hair loss.


Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.

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