Some of my favorite people struggle with the disease diabetes. Many are clients of mine that I have the privilege to care for. I have watched them alter their diets, adjust their physical activities, and depend daily on medications that help them maintain a healthy lifestyle. I have also watched them stress over an itchy scalp and hair the sheds constantly . So in honor of National Diabetes Month I would like to share some of the information that I have learned from their experiences with this disease in relation to their scalp and hair health.
Excessive Hair Shedding
A major side effect to either the disease Diabetes itself or the medication that regulates the disease is excessive hair shedding. Because your hormone levels may become unbalance do to fluctuated sugar levels your hair cycle can stop prematurely causing your hair follicles to release your hair strands. That's the fancy way to say your hair sheds, lol. Following are a few steps to help you correct your shedding. .
Step 1 Search the strand for a small clear or frosty white bulb at the end. If a bulb is present then proceed to step 2. If you can not identify a bulb on the strand you may have breakage which is different from shedding. Please contact your stylist to identify the cause of your breakage. HINT: It may be lack of moisture do to chemically treating the hair or lack of proper moisture.
Step 2 Consult with your hair stylist to confirm if your having other scalp issues that may be causing this type of shedding. Sometimes you have non-related dandruff, eczema, or scalp infection which may also be causing shedding not related to your disease.
Step 3 Schedule to have blood work done to check all your levels and identify the internal cause of the problem. Trying to fix your scalp while you are sick is like putting on clean clothes when you haven't bathed. It's doesn't work. You must restore your whole health before you can restore you scalp health.
Step 4 Begin a vigorous moisturizing treatment regime with your hairstylist to help restore your tresses back to their optimum health. Depending on the condition of your scalp your stylist should be able to provide you with a few options to restore it back to it's healthiest state. This should include but not be limited to a thorough scalp cleansing, hot oil treatments using natural oils not synthetic products to avoid clogging up the follicles, and regular scalp stimulation to help usher in new hair strands.
Itchy / Sore Scalp
Diabetes can slow your body's cell rejuvenation thus causing a weakened immune system. The weaker your immune system is the more susceptible you scalp is to fungal infections. Scalp infections can cause itchiness, dryness, pain and visible legions and scars. Now, all itchiness is not caused by the disease so I would recommend that you seek a professional opinion. First let your stylist take a look and see if he or she can identify the issue. After 4 weeks, if your plan with the stylist did not provide continual relief see your dermatologist to identify the type of attack your scalp is under. The journey to a healthy scalp can be achieved by doing a few routine things like eating a proper diet, handling the hair with care, use of topical steroids and creams to provide relief to the scalp. Patience is key . Be verbal about the advances you are or are not making early enough to make adjustments as needed. When your are healing the scalp the wrong plan of action can permanently cause you to lose your hair.
Your doctor should have outlined a routine that is customized to your individual needs. There is a chance that you will still experience changes that will cause you some discomfort, itchy scalp or hair loss. However, if you follow the regime given to you by your doctor your side effects should be minimal. You may have to still make a few changes in the products you choose to use on your scalp and the hairstyles that you choose to wear but I would think of those changes as slight adjustments that will keep your scalp nice and moist creating an environment where hair can flourish.
Avoid Tension HAir styles
Having diabetes doesn't mean that your hair will completely fall out. What is does mean is that you are more susceptible to scalp infections and possible hair shedding. The very best thing that you can do now is stay away from hair styles that cause more pulling. The tension from those styles can damage your hair follicles past repair and cause itching to the scalp. Look at this phase of hairstyles as the last step to complete your scalp health overhaul. I promise that if you follow some of the tips consistently that you will see your hair flourish and thrive even while you fight your diabetes. Remember to be patient and thorough to achieve the best results.
PI am just a girl who loves her job (owning and styling at HUC!) and is pretty good at explaining hair to other people.
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