hair care with myasthenia gravis

Our Daily Struggle with Hair Care

Last updated: June 2022

Hair styling can be a real drain for people with myasthenia gravis (MG). For something that should be so very simple, it's often frustrating and challenging on us. I am one of those people that has issues with doing anything more than combing my hair and putting a clip in it.

I can’t lift my left arm to comb my hair or put a little curl in it. I no longer use a curling iron because I can’t use both arms and I was burning myself too often. In this article, I will talk about washing and styling hair with MG. In my experience, here are some ideas that may help with haircare.

The right hairstyle

Though a short hairstyle can help, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice style just because you can’t style your hair yourself. A hair stylist can help you in choosing a hairstyle that is easy for you to care for. Find a style you like and visit with your stylist to see if it is for you and easy to care for.

Curling tips

Using a curling iron can be difficult or dangerous if you have mobility limitations. Instead, use curlers that are heated.

If that is something you can’t or don’t want to do, curlers that have the hook and loop like Velcro can be helpful. They use no heat and and can be a safer alternative. That’s what I use and they work great. I just have to plan ahead, since my hair is wet when I curl it.

Help from loved ones

Your significant other can learn how to help you with your hair, especially if it’s long. They can learn to color, trim, comb, and curl your hair. Even "manly" men can learn to help their loved ones, and many times they are much better than even they think they can be.

Washing your hair

A shower bench or chair can help with washing your hair. If you just can’t wash your hair that day, try a dry shampoo. There are several dry shampoos on the market and also at medical supply stores. In my opinion, they aren’t as good as a wash, but they will work when you need it.

There is also something called a shampoo cap that replaces shampoos and conditioners. I’ve used one a couple times and I liked it!

Blow-drying

When blow-drying my hair, I have to sit and rest my affected arm on the table. If both your arms are affected, a hands-free stand to rest the blow-dryer on would be a great help.

A hooded dryer similar to those in salons is another option. You can just sit under it and let the dryer do all the work. This is probably one of the easiest options for drying your hair. However, if you are sensitive to the heat, this one may need to be avoided or used with caution.

Other hair products to help

Other products that may help are shampoo basins, long handle hair washers, portable self-standing mirrors, and many more. Special long reach handled combs and brushes are also available. They make it much easier for combing or brushing the areas you have trouble reaching.

Where to find them

Most anything for "handicapped" can be purchased at various stores or online. These special grooming devices can help and and are even contoured. Devices such as this may also come with anti-slip handles. They allow more independence for those with limited dexterity by styling hair from front to back with minimal shoulder and upper arm movement and with less strain and discomfort.

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