Part of growing up as a young woman is having fun with your appearance and experimenting with your style, particularly your hair. However, when you have Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis, focusing on your appearance can be painful and tedious. If you’re like me and have painful, weak wrists and fingers, taking proper care of your hair can become difficult. Today I’m going to share some RA-friendly tips on managing your hair, so that you can be as stylish as cute Mr. Llama in the picture.
1.Eat properly and get the right nutrition
With our wacky immune systems, we need all the support we can get. Proper nutrition is necessary not just for healthy growth of hair, but for our overall well-beings and health. Make an effort to eat more balanced meals. This article from WebMD.com gives some recommendations for foods which improve the condition of our hair. I know that many RA patients are on strict diets, so please consult with a doctor before making changes to your diet.
2. Hair length
If your wrists and fingers are too painful to allow you to comb your hair, it makes sense to get a shorter haircut which will be easier to manage. You’ll have less shampooing and less brushing to do. Short hair has become very fashionable these days (just look at Rihanna), so you have a range of trendy styles to choose from. Check out short-haircut.com for some very fun and edgy styles for short hair.
3. Apple cider vinegar
It sounds crazy to put apple cider vinegar in your hair, but I’ve found it gets my hair really clean. After you shampoo, give your hair a rinse with equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar. There’s no need to condition afterwards, but I still do it to make sure that vinegar smell gets out! Apart from keeping your hair shiny and soft, apple cider vinegar does an amazing job of removing build up from your hair and getting it totally clean. This is perfect for persons like me who have difficulty shampooing their hair properly. You can read more about the benefits of apple cider vinegar in this article from HuffingtonPost.com.
4. Find the right brush for your hands
With fused wrists, I sometimes find it difficult to brush my hair properly. For me, I’ve found that round brushes with rubber handles work well, as I’m able to grip them better. Search around in your beauty store for a brush that is comfortable for you.
5. Knots and tangles
If your hair is really thick, using a detangling product or hair serum can help soften the hair and make brushing easier. Hot oil treatments can also help soften hair. I sometimes apply coconut oil to my hair before shampooing and let it sit for about 15 minutes to an hour. It helps with the tangles and makes brushing easier (and is supposed to make hair healthier overall).
6. Chemical straightening
Since my hair is naturally wavy, I decided one time to get it chemically straightened at the salon. I loved the results because I had no need to brush my hair! Although I prefer the versatility of wavy hair, doing the chemical straightening really helped me out as I did not have to struggle with styling tools or hairbrushes in the mornings. If you are going to do chemical treatments to your hair, please get it done by a reputable hair-dresser as the chemicals used are extremely strong (and toxic). If you are taking strong medications, discuss with your doctor whether chemical hair treatments would be suitable for you. I know that Methotrexate has the side effect of causing hair to fall out, so I would be a bit wary of putting chemicals in my hair if I’m already experiencing hair loss. Again, discuss with your doctor.
Most women style their hair with blow-dryers, flat irons and curling irons. But there are days when I can’t do this. I usually just apply a leave-in conditioner after washing my hair, which helps keep it smooth and frizz-free.
8. Air-dry instead of blow-dry
Blow dryers can be painful to manage, so skip them altogether and let your hair air-dry.
9. Enjoy your hair, just like Mr. Llama
No matter what hair looks like, whether it’s thinning or dropping due to the side-effects of medication, or whether it’s magnificent like a lion’s mane, enjoy your hair. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re having trouble styling your hair like your peers. Enjoy what you’ve got and rock it out like Mr. Llama
Check out the links below for more information on managing and styling hair:
Hair care with RA: http://midatlanticarthritis.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/arthritis-hair-we-go-tips-for-hair-care-with-rheumatic-illness-or-chronic-pain
No-heat hairstyles: http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/style/no-heat-hairstlyes.htm
Wishing you all great hair days!