Can lupus cause hair loss?

Answers from April Chang-Miller, M.D.

Unfortunately, yes. Lupus causes widespread inflammation that usually involves your skin — particularly on your face and scalp. Lupus can cause the hair on your scalp to gradually thin out, although a few people lose clumps of hair. Loss of eyebrow, eyelash, beard and body hair also is possible.

In most cases, your hair will grow back when your lupus is treated. But some people with lupus develop round (discoid) lesions on the scalp. Because these discoid lesions scar your hair follicles, they do cause permanent hair loss.

Lupus can also cause the scalp hair along your hairline to become fragile and break off easily, leaving you with a ragged appearance known as lupus hair.

Hair loss may be an early sign of lupus, before the disease is diagnosed. But many other disorders can cause hair loss, so consult with your doctor if you notice unusual hair thinning or hair loss.

Dec. 04, 2012 See more Expert Answers