Can hair loss be permanent after bleaching? Scalp is still numb 7 weeks later. Help!

I had my hair bleached by a stylist 7 weeks ago, which included applying bleach to my entire scalp for approx 25min. That night my scalp hurt/burned so bad that I couldn't sleep for the next 2 nights. The burning sensation was replaced by itching, tingling and numbness. Weeks later some itching and numbness persist. My hair is falling out in large amounts now and I have thinning hair on top of my head. I just went to see a dermatologist and got a Kenalog shot. Is there anything else I can do??

Doctor Answers 8

It is not normal to have numbness after bleaching your hair. Kenalog shots are not typical for treating chemical burns.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is not normal to have numbness after bleaching your hair.  Kenalog shots are not typical for treating chemical burns.

Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Bleaching hair

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

·        I have had similar cases with bleach and hair loss.   Sounds like you had a mild chemical burn since you reported itching, burning, numbness and hair loss.  There was no oozing, bleeding, open wound or infection.      Hopefully hair will regrow, time will tell.  Steroids could reduce the inflammation and help with recovery. Next time, get your hair colored NOT bleached.  There is a difference.

Parsa Mohebi, MD
Beverly Hills Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Bleaching damage

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I suffered the same fate and it takes a good 12 months to see what will grow back. I recommend seeing a hair restoration surgeon to have photos taken, so that you can be tracked and see what grows back and just how much. There are a few other options available to you, which can be recommended at a consultation.

Rae Lynne Kinler, MD
Chicago Physician

Hair Loss form Bleaching

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Bleaching the hair can cause chemical burns that may result in the loss of hair but the hair loss should not be permanent and usually will grow back. However, it may take a while for the hair to grow back. PRP would be a good option in the mean time to stimulate hair growth. 

Amir Yazdan, MD
Irvine Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Hair Loss Treatment Basics--Minoxidil with Progesterone and PRP

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hair loss and thinning may be improved by a series of monthly PRP injections combined with Progesterone. I'd suggest seeing a professional in the field of hair loss to discuss the best treatment options for you. 

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 207 reviews

Hair loss after bleaching

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

there is nothing to do more other than wait and giving time to your body for repair mechanisms. that chemical burn may cause permanent hair loss and may need a hair restoration surgery . you will see the fate of hair in 6-10 months.

Ilhan Serdaroglu, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon

Can bleaching hair cause permanent scalp injury and hair loss?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Bleaching your hair can cause 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree chemical burns. 1st degree burns result in skin redness like a sunburn and can be itchy or painful but usually recover with no long term complications. However, there might be temporary hair loss that can take several months to recover. 2nd degree burns cause blistering, oozing, pain and may get infected. 3rd degree burns are deep, cause scabbing and often get infected. Both 2nd and 3rd degree burns can cause permanent scalp scarring and hair loss. You have done the right thing in seeing a dermatologist and should follow their advice.

Greg Williams, FRCS (Plast)
London Hair Restoration Surgeon

Hair loss after bleaching - what are my options?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

This phenomenon is more common nowadays. Bleaching its safe for most people. But there are situations that arise where bleaching can injure the hair - or the scalp. Bleaching in rare situations may cause inflammation in the scalp, and sometimes scarring as well.  Scarring is quite rare - but it's the most feared complication of scalp injury because it can cause permanent hair loss. Indeed, for some individuals with these types of reactions, hair loss may be permanent.  I've written on this subject in the past. I can't emphasize enough the importance of getting prompt dermatologic attention with these types of reactions. 

Options include Kenalog shots, topical steroids, steroid shampoos, oral prednisone.  These treatments shut down inflammation and possibly scarring. 

Jeff Donovan, MD, PhD
Vancouver Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.