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Being chronically ill can be a very stressful time in a person’s life. Trying to understand a new diagnosis and then caring for oneself with a new illness is a big task to take on. Many things may have to change that you have spent years developing and fine tuning, like your diet, sleep patterns, exercise regimens and work environment.

Many chronic illnesses can cause people to change careers or leave their jobs as well as adjusting to life with whatever the ailment may be. Some chronic illnesses or the medications and treatments can cause excessive hair growth, hair thinning, hair loss, and hair texture changes.

Whether an autoimmune disease or compromised immune systems, changes with hair may be drastic enough to also change one’s self esteem. Caring for hair when you are going through illness can become an obsession, always checking to see if there are any thin spots or grey coming in and so on. You can still effectively care for your hair during your illness, and just the simple things may be enough to retain what length or thickness you may currently have.

If complete hair loss is possible, caring for your scalp is still very important. The scalp is living skin that still requires cleansing and moisturizing. Scalp massages can help to stimulate blood flow which promotes hair regrowth as well.

Sometimes certain medications can make the hair very dry. Adding in deep conditioning and hot oil treatments can combat that dryness. Be careful not to add too much protein, as the over use of it can harden the hair which makes the hair dry and brittle too.

Coarse, wiry hair can be softened with the use of butters and oils like coconut and shea. Smoothing shea butter between your palms and massaging it into the hair and scalp can offer lasting softness and sheen.

Hair that thins and cannot hold curl would look wonderful in a layered or even tapered haircut. No chemicals would need to be added to straighten the hair. If cut correctly, the hair will naturally lay in a lovely, low maintenance style.

For patchy alopecia (baldness) you can wear clip in hair pieces to create bangs or colorful head scarves and other clip on accessories. You don’t have to just go with it, you can enhance the good while concealing the not so great.

No matter the illness, you can still look good and feel good about yourself. Sometimes thinning can slow or stop and hair loss can be reversed. Therefore, chronic illness doesn’t have to steal all of your joy.