Thicker, fuller hair is one of the best side effects of pregnancy. Many pregnant women say they have the best hair of their lives during pregnancy. Unfortunately, just like pregnancy itself, the great hair is temporary.
It can be an unpleasant surprise when your hair starts thinning a few weeks after your baby is born. You may find loose hairs on your pillow and clothing, or hair might clog your shower drain. This increase in hair loss is perfectly normal. It happens because of changing hormone levels after pregnancy.
Learn more about postpartum hair loss (hair loss after giving birth) and what you can do about it.
What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?
When you're pregnant, your body changes in response to the new hormone levels needed for the baby to develop. The new balance of hormones, notably increased estrogen, changes your hair growth cycle. Hair remains in a growing phase longer during your pregnancy instead of shifting to a resting stage. Since the hair doesn't come to the end of its growth cycle as quickly, you don't lose as many individual hairs each day. The result is fuller hair.
Hair Growth Cycles. Hair goes through several phases of growth. The first phase is the growing phase, also called the anagen phase, where hair is actively getting longer. The second phase is called the catagen phase, or transitional phase, where hair growth slows and the hair follicle becomes smaller. The third phase is the telogen phase, or resting phase, where the hair doesn't grow anymore. After the resting stage, the individual strands of hair eventually fall out. A new hair then starts growing to replace the one that came out.
Hairs are usually in the anagen phase for two to four years. You can expect that 85% to 90% of your hair is in this phase at any given time. Once your hair goes into the telogen phase, you can expect it to stay at one length for two to four months. After that, the hair falls out. During your normal hair growth cycle, 100 or so hairs naturally fall out each day.
Hair Loss After Giving Birth. Once you have had your baby, your hormone levels return to their pre pregnancy levels. The drop in estrogen triggers your hair to go back to the cycle of growth, resting, and falling out. A significant portion of your hair will begin the resting phase right away. Several months later, the hairs have completed their resting phase and start to fall out.
Postpartum hair loss is noticeable because it's much more than the 100 hairs a person typically loses per day. The technical name for this type of hair loss is telogen effluvium, which means excessive shedding. The hormone fluctuations that happen in women who are postpartum cause more strands of hair than usual to enter the resting stage and then fall out a few weeks later. You may find that you are losing as many as 300 hairs per day.
Is Postpartum Hair Loss Permanent? The increased hair loss after having a baby is not a sign that you are losing your hair permanently. Your hair should return to its usual growth patterns over time. By the time your baby is one year old, you can probably expect your hair to be as full as it usually is at the roots. However, the new hairs growing in will be shorter than the other hairs on your head.
If your hair continues to get thinner or doesn't seem to be growing back, you can discuss it with your doctor. You may have another health issue causing hair loss, such as anemia or a thyroid condition.
What to Do About Postpartum Hair Loss?
You can't prevent postpartum hair loss. It's a normal part of the recovery from pregnancy. There aren't any treatments to stop telogen effluvium or to speed up new hair growth. Doctors recommend eating a healthy and balanced diet. This may help hair grow after the shedding phase ends.
The hair you shed after having a baby will grow back over time. However, you may notice that you have a lot of new hairs that are much shorter than the rest of your hair. These are the new strands growing in, and they are a normal part of the postpartum hair growth process.
You may not like the look of your hair during the shedding and regrowth phase. In that case, you can use styling products or techniques to improve the way your hair looks. Try lightweight conditioners to avoid weighing hair down and making it look limp. Volumizing products can make your hair appear fuller. A fresh cut or new color can also improve how your hair looks. Your stylist might be able to suggest styling tips that would help as well.
Postpartum Hair Loss Is a Dispiriting Reality. Here’s How I Found Help, and Hope
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It started in the shower. I have thick, curly hair and am accustomed to shedding when washing or combing—100 strands a day is, apparently, normal. What I was not accustomed to was when, around two months after I gave birth to my son last May, seemingly thousands of hairs began leaving my head every time I shampooed. Soon it was no longer just in the shower: It was when I gently raked my hair back into a ponytail and my hand emerged with a competing ponytail of escaping strands; or when my pillowcase appeared to be covered with floating clouds of dark coils; or, God forbid, when I actually brushed it and an American Girl doll’s–worth of hair clogged the bristles. Worse still is that I began noticing patchy spots around my hairline. My scalp was newly visible and I was not pleased to see it. Was the muffin-top of residual baby weight hanging over my C-section scar, and my ballooning, milk-leaking breasts not enough aesthetic trauma to suffer? Apparently not.
I quickly discovered that this indignity was not unique to me. Other moms and my dermatologists nodded knowingly when I complained, awestruck at the new state of my hair. The shockingly common condition is called telogen effluvium, I was informed, and, according to the American Pregnancy Association, it affects 40-50% of new moms. The condition can actually afflict anyone suffering from severe sudden stress, Lars Skjøth, founder and lead researcher at the Danish hair clinic Harklinikken, tells me in his light-filled Flatiron salon. But it is particularly common among postpartum women when their estrogen levels decline and the stress hormone cortisol increases causing the hair to move from the growth, or anagen cycle, to the shedding, or telogen phase. The hair typically grows back, Skjøth assures me, clocking my panicked expression. But that regrowth can appear thinner and finer, he adds, as the hair follicle itself often shrinks—a process known as miniaturization.
Once the exclusive domain of Rogaine and male pattern baldness, the hair loss conversation has gotten a bit of a makeover in recent years, led by companies like Harklinikken, which specifically targets women’s hair loss. The opportunity for diversification has always been there: According to the American Hair Loss Association, women’s hair loss specifically accounts for nearly 40% of cases in the U.S. “When I started no one was speaking to women about this,” explains Skjøth, who launched his first clinic in Copenhagen in 1992 and who has been studying female hair loss for nearly three decades. (Harklinikken opened a U.S. flagship in New York in 2019, and currently has a 40,000 person waitlist for its customized, botanically-derived treatments).
After Skjøth picked through my hair like a mama baboon looking for fleas, I was given my own personalized “extract” along with strict and elaborate instructions to wash my hair daily, then apply the elixir with a syringe in the evenings followed by a strenuous scalp massage. It was a significant departure from my typical grooming ritual, which entails shampooing about once a week—and from the general guidance of hairstylists who often discourage daily washing to minimize dryness. But cleansing and massaging the scalp is an essential step for allowing the follicles room to grow properly, according to Skjøth and his associates, not to mention preventing scar tissue around the follicle.
Skjøth isn’t the only one to advocate for this. It turns out the scalp is a hot commodity in the beauty industry at the moment, with a raft of companies focusing on this oft-ignored skin tissue. Sarah Fotis began noticing hair loss after the birth of her son Eli in 2009, and again after suffering a stroke several years later when she turned to Pakistani scalp remedies, such as mustard seed oil, turmeric, and ginger. Fittingly, every member of the founding team of Collective Labs—the brand she launched in 2018 to focus on natural solutions for scalp care and hair growth—had suffered from hair loss due to a variety of root causes: genetics, childbirth, stress. Its Scalp Wellness Kit, which includes a detoxifying shampoo, fortifying conditioner and activating serum, aims to tackle scalp build-up and then stimulate healthy hair growth with lilac stem cells to reduce scalp irritation, and ginseng root to encourage follicle microcirculation.
As declining hair health is one of the first visible signs of vitamin-deficiency, diet is also extremely important to any regrowth strategy, says dermatologist Robin Blum, M.D., noting that many women are deficient in vitamins D and E, which are particularly important for maintaining thick, shiny strands. She recommends Nutrafol, a nutritional supplement boasting marine collagen for scalp health and saw palmetto, which decreases DHT, the hormone that shrinks hair follicles. Viviscal is similarly popular. Celebrity hair stylist Mara Roszak has recommended the capsules and vanilla-flavored powder to her clients for years, but recently started taking them herself after her own postpartum hair loss. “When my baby was about four months, I started to experience hair loss and applied the same ideas I’ve guided my clients through—cutting face framing lawyers to ‘blend’ in shorter bits around my face, moisturizing regularly,” explains Roszak. But adding Viviscal supplements to her routine made a discernible difference in just three months, she reveals. “Hair cells are the last cells to get nutrition,” adds Dr. Lamees Hamdan, the Dubai-based founder of Shiffa Skincare and DLMD, a popular liquid multivitamin that’s sold at Sephora. “That’s why for healthy hair, you really want to make sure your intake of vitamins and minerals is on the higher side of normal.” Encouraged by the sleek packaging and subtle raspberry flavor I took the DLMD multi-vitamins and after about a month, I did notice that my nails were less brittle, and my hair seemed shinier.
As I prepare to celebrate my first Mother’s Day and my son’s first birthday, I am happy to report that I can pull my hair back into a ponytail without handfuls of it coming out. Also thrilling: My scalp is no longer visible to the outside world and there is noticeable regrowth, thanks to time (most dermatologists suggest that postpartum hair loss peaks around two months and tapers off around four months, with regrowth typically beginning around six months)—and the wealth of new treatments below, now available to the legions of women fighting this very real battle. My hair is still short and stubby, but I am hopeful that it will grow back to its former frizzy, coiling glory. Now, I just need my son’s hair to grow in.
The world-renowned Danish hair loss clinic is beloved by European royalty and Hollywood stylists alike. Its balancing shampoo and unique active ingredients make an ideal hair growth regimen.
A serum, shampoo, and conditioner trio formulated with clinically proven ingredients that are designed to revive your scalp and reinvigorate your hair, naturally, created by a new mom for new moms.
Biotin is one of the many ingredients in this catch-all liquid multivitamin making it an ideal boost against hair loss.
This supplement specially formulated for postpartum hair loss, pairs well with the brand’s hair-thickening serum for fuller regrowth.
A specialized, all natural supplement targeted to women’s hair growth based on a variety of factors such as stress, hormones and nutrition.
Vitabrid C12 Hair Tonic Professional
A hair-growth scalp treatment from the popular K-Beauty skin-care brand.
A new arm of Virtue Labs, which bills itself as “a bio-tech company to repair hair,” approaches female hair loss with a similar scientific lens and offers a suite of products powered by keratin proteins and inspired by regenerative medicine.
Act + Acre
This stylist-founded brand focuses on detoxing the scalp for healthy hair growth, and will introduce supplements this May.
The London-based brand focuses on the scalp as the key to healthy hair with a variety of hair stimulating options.
Founded by a former lawyer whose own battle with alopecia inspired her to create an all-natural option to combat hair thinning.
5 steps for hair restoration after pregnancy and childbirth - Parents.ru
According to statistics, 75% of young mothers notice severe hair loss, approximately from 3-4 months after childbirth. In fact, everyone's hair falls out without exception, but with different intensity, so someone simply does not pay attention to this process. Indeed, when a few hairs remain on the comb, this does not look like a serious problem. But when the hair climbs in bunches ...
What are the causes of hair loss after childbirth?
The main one is pregnancy. To be more precise, is the hormonal background of pregnant, which interferes with the life cycle of the hair. The increased level of estrogen acts on the hair as a growth catalyst and an elixir of youth at the same time. New hair grows intensively, old hair, contrary to the usual state of affairs, does not fall out, and therefore, by the end of pregnancy, the density of hair increases by about 30% (sometimes more). But it cannot go on like this for long. The source of “eternal life” dries up in the first months after childbirth, and as soon as the body of the woman who has given birth returns to its hormonal norm, all the hair that has lingered on the head longer than the due date begins to come out en masse. Of course, it looks intimidating: on average, 100 hairs “leave” from the head per day. However, these are the very 30% of excess hair that could not fall out at the right time due to pregnant hormones. Normally, in places of intense loss (as well as along the forehead line, on partings), pretty soon you will notice a fluff of new hairs.
“The increase in hormone levels during pregnancy means that most of the hair is in the active growth stage, so the hair falls out less than usual. Six weeks after giving birth, the rate of hair growth slows down and the rate of hair loss increases dramatically. Depending on the condition of your scalp, you may experience thinning hair between 3 months and a year, with a maximum of thinning around 3-4 months after delivery.
Dr. Bianca Maria Piraccini, dermatologist at the University of Bologna, Italy
Another important cause of hair loss after childbirth is anemia and the lack of vitamins and microelements associated with it. In this case, the hair will fall out especially intensively, and the hairs themselves will be thinned and brittle.
And, finally, the third reason, which also should not be forgotten, is stress . Just by the end of the third month of a baby's life, chronic fatigue, lack of sleep and growing depression make themselves felt. The child is not yet too “interactive” for the mother to be emotionally compensated in communicating with him. As a result, the body functions in stress mode, which immediately affects the condition of the hair (and not only).
How long does hair loss last after childbirth?
Severe hair loss occurs in the first six months after childbirth, after which the scalp is gradually restored. Normally, a year after giving birth, a young mother has no reason to worry about her hair.
Should I do something about hair loss after childbirth?
Of course, it is necessary. Hair loss after pregnancy and childbirth is a natural and physiologically based process. But that doesn't mean it can't be influenced. Indeed, to replace the hair that has fallen out, outlived its own, that has sat out in the hair follicles, new hair should grow. We cannot keep on our heads what has already completed the cycle of its life. But we can influence the quality and growth rate of new hair. How?
1. Take vitamins. Doctors advise young mothers to continue taking vitamin complexes for pregnant women, or switch to vitamins for nursing mothers. If you are no longer breastfeeding, you can choose vitamins specifically for improving the quality of hair, which include biotin, B vitamins, antioxidants C and E, zinc.
2. Watch your diet. Even a nursing mother should have fruits, vegetables, sources of complete proteins and essential fatty acids in her diet. There are many myths about nutrition during lactation, but the truth is that the best diet for a nursing mother is exactly the same as with a healthy lifestyle.
3. Find time to sleep and rest. Include other family members in caring for the child, try to sleep while the baby is sleeping.
4. Cut your hair. Remember the saying: "Hair is not teeth, it will grow back." On long hair, the effect of hair loss after childbirth will be especially noticeable. No matter how fast new hairs grow, it will take much longer to restore a beautiful mop of long hair. Short hair gains density faster and looks healthier during this period. Which will positively affect your inner self-awareness. By the way, doctors recommend not using elastic bands and other hairpins during this period that tighten the hair.
5. Use special shampoos, conditioners and serums to restore hair. In 1987, a young American mother, Eva Graham, decided to find her own answer to the question of what to do with hair shedding after childbirth. It was obvious to her that the scalp also needs care and nutrition, just like the skin of the face or hands. But what should this care be? Her search for answers led her to found Nioxin, a company that has made significant advances in the development of products for fine and thinning hair. Today, Nioxin offers new moms a complete 3-step hair and scalp treatment consisting of cleansing, moisturizing, restoring and nourishing. Although NIOXIN products do not solve the problem of hair loss associated with hormonal changes during pregnancy, they provide maximum care for the hair and help it look thicker and more voluminous.
The 3-step system in turn provides 5 effects for thicker and stronger hair:
Reduces hair loss associated with breakage;
Provides hair thickening effect;
Improves hair structure;
Increases hair elasticity and susceptibility to negative environmental effects;
Removes excess oil from hair follicles and scalp.
AIDA GUSEYKHANOVNA GADZHIGOROEVA
Head Physician of the Institute of Beautiful Hair clinic, dermatologist
Patients often look for a “magic” shampoo that will help them cope with hair loss. At the same time, they do not take into account that hair loss can be due to two different reasons: the actual fragility of the hair or more serious reasons related to the life of the hair follicle. Nioxin hygiene care products successfully solve exactly the first problem: hair loss associated with hair breakage. Improper cosmetic hair care, dyeing, highlighting, ironing, prolonged exposure to the sun or other aggressive weather conditions - all this can affect the property of the hair fiber, worsen its structure and make it more brittle and sensitive to various external influences. The task of the “right” shampoo is to strengthen the hair structure as much as possible and protect the hair from future possible damage; at the same time, “smart” hygienic care (shampoo, balm, mask) should take into account the initial state of the hair: thin-thick, dyed-uncolored, brittle-not brittle. The Nioxin complex was developed specifically for the purpose of caring for hair that has individual differences.
How to restore hair after childbirth: doctor's advice
After giving birth, a woman is happy and relieved after nine months of bearing a baby, but begins to feel uncomfortable about changes in her body - especially because her hair is no longer so shiny and thick as before. What actually happens to hair during, before and after pregnancy? And what can be done about it? We answer these and other questions together with a dermatovenereologist, candidate of medical sciences Jamil Gyulaliev.
A bit of anatomy
The life of a human hair follicle is cyclical: thus, phases of massive hair growth alternate with phases of involution and rest. They last approximately 2-5 years, 2-3 weeks and 3 months, respectively. As a rule, hair growth is not synchronous. On the scalp, only 10% of the follicles are in the resting phase, which is why at any time of the day and year we have a lot of hair on our heads.
What happens during pregnancy?
No one will be surprised by the phrase about hormonal imbalance during pregnancy. At this time, the female body is undergoing tremendous changes: there is an approximately nine-fold increase in the level of progesterone, estradiol, estriol, and oxytocin and prolactin also increase. Moreover, the volume of blood in the body of the expectant mother increases by 50%.
Normally, our hair falls out in small amounts every day. During pregnancy, daily hair loss decreases. The fact is that the increased level of hormones slows down the normal cycle of hair growth and hair loss, thereby increasing its duration. This effect is further enhanced by the fact that an increase in blood volume and blood circulation intensity contributes to better nutrition of the hair.
What happens after childbirth?
It is widely believed among women that stress during childbirth triggers hair loss ( see also : "Less stress: 6 quick and unusual ways to relax"). But everything is much simpler. After childbirth, hormone levels also drop sharply. Already by 2-4 days, the level of progesterone and estrogen in the woman's body returns to normal. The level of prolactin drops to the average within seven days if lactation does not occur. Some studies show an increase in the period of hair growth in lactating women, and this is another plus in the feeding piggy bank.
After the hormones return to the limits of the previous figures, the hair makes up for lost time, falling out much more intensively, reaching up to 400 hairs a day (against the usual 80-100). Since they fall out at the same time, it may seem to a woman that she is losing a huge amount of hair.
Remember: Postpartum hair loss usually starts about three months after the baby is born. The period of time between birth and the onset of prolapse corresponds to the duration of the resting phase, which was mentioned earlier. But if childbirth falls in the fall, then postpartum hair loss can coincide with seasonal hair loss and lead to more noticeable hair thinning.
What can you do to help as you look forward to returning to your normal hair growth cycle?
There are no specific therapeutic measures for postpartum hair loss. But there are some tips you can follow to make your hair look fuller and healthier.
The birth of a child with subsequent feeding is a stressful time both mentally and physically, so it is very important to avoid stress and make a balanced diet together with your doctor. Malnutrition is considered one of the main factors for hair loss. In the postpartum period, you need a balance of carbohydrates and proteins, normal blood sugar, iron, ferritin, zinc, and vitamin D.
By the way, about vitamins
Until now, the role of one or another vitamin that affects hair loss has not been proven, but all of them have a beneficial effect on their beauty and strength. However, remember that vitamins should not be a substitute for good nutrition. Their intake is justified if we are talking about nutritional supplements and a balanced diet. You should also pay attention to the fact that large doses of vitamin A, on the contrary, provoke hair loss.
Experts advise to limit hair experiments as much as possible, to refrain from excessive drying and styling. You should also avoid excessively frequent and rough combing: once a day will be enough. A doctor may prescribe a vasodilator topical to stimulate hair growth ( see also : "Top 10 remedies for hair loss").