Hey guys, Hailee here.
I had no idea that postpartum hair loss was a thing until after my second baby was born and I just started losing my hair in chunks. In the shower, it was like handfuls coming out at a time. It got so bad I actually started getting dreadlocks and had to cut out a huge chunk of my hair with scissors. Quite a cruel little game nature plays with you after giving you gorgeous thick hair during pregnancy.
I’ve since had another baby and decided it was time to do a little more research on postpartum hair loss and find out if there’s any way to prevent it, and if not, how to manage it. But first things first, why does this happen?
Postpartum Hair Loss – Why Does It Happen?
Postpartum hair loss is a normal – and temporary – postpartum change that is unrelated to breastfeeding. Most women will return to their usual hair growth cycle between 6 and 12 months after birth. Many new moms notice hair loss – sometimes quite dramatic – around three months postpartum.
Dermatologists refer to this condition as excessive hair shedding – it’s not true hair loss because you’re not actually going bald. The excessive shedding is caused by falling estrogen levels.
The good news is that this excessive shedding is temporary, and you do not have to do anything to remedy it. Most women see their hair return to its normal fullness by their child’s first birthday. Many women regain normal fullness even earlier. However, if you do want some ways to manage it, here’s what I’ve found that works:
Managing Postpartum Hair Loss
1. Continue to take your prenatal vitamins. The World Health Organization does suggest continuing with prenatal vitamins for as long as you breastfeed, and the The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – ACOG -, while they don’t mandate the practice as WHO does, noted that some OB-GYNs recommend it.
2. Be gentle when washing your hair and don’t use anything that says “conditioning shampoo”. Use shampoo and conditioner that add volume.
- Use a volumizing shampoo. These shampoos tend to contain ingredients like protein that coat the hair, making the hair appear fuller.
- Avoid any shampoo labeled “conditioning shampoo.” These contain heavy conditioners that can weigh down the hair and make it look limp.
- Use a conditioner formulated for fine hair. These contain lighter formulas that will not weigh down hair.
- Use conditioner primarily on the ends of your hair. Applying conditioner to your scalp and all of your hair tends to weigh down hair.
- Avoid conditioners labeled “intensive conditioners.” These are too heavy.
3. Use a wide tooth comb. You don’t want to make it any easier for your hair to fall out. The wide teeth are gentle on your hair.
5. This should go without saying, but don’t color your hair or use anything that could potential cause more damage. This is a time to go all natural and take it easy on your hair.
6. It’s not proven, but I’ve tried castor oil in the roots of my hair and there are theories that it can help hair grow back quicker. According to industry-leading dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC, castor oil can indeed be useful in certain cases of hair loss. A big fan of castor oil in general, she explained to us that unlike most other oils, which can veer mostly fatty, castor oil has a unique nutritional makeup composed of a powerful mix of proteins, vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants (aka the internal workings of all the buzziest hair supplements on the market). Thus, it comes as no surprise the oil is a wonderful way to nurture the scalp and fragile hair follicles while simultaneously encouraging healthier, faster hair growth.
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