RArainbow

A resource blog for young women living with Arthritis


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Holiday party tips: Juvenile Arthritis style

Hi everyone! Christmas and New Year’s are quickly approaching and, for many ladies, this means dressing up and going out to fancy parties with friends and loved ones. As you all know, having autoimmune arthritis can really sap your energy. Personally, my arthritis is currently quite active as I’ve become allergic to both Actemra and Remicade 😦  and I’m waiting a bit before I try a new treatment. With a limited supply of energy (spoons!), spending an hour using my flat iron is not at the top of my priority list these days. But, I think we all deserve to look and feel beautiful, even if we are flaring with arthritis. Do you agree? 😉

In this post I’ve compiled some tips for looking put together and preparing for a party even if our arthritis is active and our energy is limited. I hope you’ll find them helpful. Please share any tips and tricks you have so that we can all learn together. 😉

1. Managing our hair
I’ve written a bit about hair care in the past (click here to read). If you have difficulty caring for your hair, but still want to maintain a stylish look, consider getting a haircut. It will make shampooing and styling a lot easier on the joints. Lucky for us, super-short hair and pixie cuts are very fashionable these days. This article from Marie Claire gives some pretty examples of hairstyles you can consider.

When you have arthritis, holding a blow dryer or flat iron for more than a few minutes can be a very painful experience. If you’re experiencing pain, skip the blow drying, rub a little bit of hair serum onto your hair and allow to air-dry.

I found some creative, “lazy” hairstyle ideas on Pinterest, which you can view here for some inspiration. This article from TheDailyMuse.com also lists some easy ideas for styling hair, while the Lazy Girl’s Guide to Hair Care by BeautyRiot.com gives some tips on looking stylish without too much effort.

2. Make-up
If you’re flaring, putting on make-up is probably the least of your worries. But you can still look polished even without a full face of make-up. Consider applying a little eye-liner or a dab of lipstick/tinted lip balm to brighten your face. If you need coverage on your face, think about using a tinted moisturizer or a BB cream to even out your complexion.

3. Shoes
Shoes, shoes, shoes. With the cold weather affecting many of us, this season may bring some extra joint pain and stiffness. That means wearing shoes that are supportive and comfortable, which will aid our walking and hopefully minimize potential joint damage. Now, while wearing our fabulously supportive and comfy arthritis-friendly shoes, it’s very likely that when we go to our Christmas parties the following situation is going to happen:

flats

[Hehe. How many of us can relate to the cartoon above? I want to give a huge thanks to Ms. Bianca from 80 Year Old Teenager for letting me use her drawing. She is so talented and I love her comics! :)]

But you know what? Even if you are the only girl at the party not wearing heels, make sure you rock out your comfy shoes. 😉 Opt for comfortable boots (which will not only support your ankles, but keep them warm), sandals and flats. If you need more arch support, insert insoles/supports into your shoes. Check out BarkingDogShoes.com for some cute, comfortable shoe ideas. I wrote a post on saying goodbye to high-heels a while back which you can check out here for more ideas.

4. Keep warm!
As I mentioned in the point above, the colder weather tends to affect many of us. Ensure that you dress warmly so that your joints can be comfortable. Wear layers, jackets, leggings, scarves and boots to help keep joints warm.

5. Walk with back-up pills
You never know when a flare is going to hit, so make sure you walk with some (doctor-approved) pain medication just in case you need it.

6. Go easy on the alcohol
(Please make sure you’re of legal drinking age if you do plan to consume alcohol.) If you are going to drink at a party, make sure that there will be no interaction with the medications you’re taking. We have enough on our plates without worrying that the alcohol will interact with the medications and cause more trouble for our bodies. Doctors often give warnings about consuming alcohol while taking Methotrexate, so make sure it’s safe to have a drink if you plan to do so.

7. Be confident and have fun!
accessoryYep! It might sound cheesy, but it’s true. Even though arthritis may make us feel crappy and may even hinder our abilities to groom ourselves, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t go out and take part in the festivities. If you are having problems styling your hair, or your hair is falling out due to side-effects of medications, or your face is puffy due to Prednisolone or you can’t wear heels and indeed find yourself being the only girl at the party wearing flat shoes….don’t worry about it. Use your limited energy to go out and have yourself a good time this holiday season. Hey, after everything we go through with our arthritis, I think we all deserve it.  😉

 

Readers, if you have any holiday tips of your own, please share them in the comments below. Thank you! 🙂

Have a wonderful holiday season everyone!
Love and best wishes,
Ms. Rainbow

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How to care for your hair when you have (J)RA

Mr. Llama with amazing hair

Mr. Llama with amazing hair

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.

7.Leave-in conditioner
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! :mrgreen:

Ms. Rainbow

Image provided by pixabay.com.