Many pregnant women will notice during pregnancy their hair has been given some life. Thanks to pregnancy hormones and various surges in estrogen, most expecting women will begin to get thicker, shinier hair that has possibly even changed in texture (i.e. hair that can go from curly to straight or vice versa).
However, once the labor process has passed and the hormones begin to normalize—poof! Those luscious locks are no more. Some women may be alarmed, even shocked to find their hair seems to be falling out. No, it’s not a balding issue. In fact, this is a temporary phase. Hair loss in the postpartum stage is actually very common.
10 What is Postpartum Hair Loss?
In the normal hair growth cycle, hair is lost every day. During pregnancy, on the other hand, the increased levels of estrogen in your body freezes hair in the growing (or "resting") phase of the cycle. As a result, hair that would normally fall out stays put, making it appear thicker and more voluminous.
During the postpartum stage, your estrogen levels decline, which means all that resting hair begins to fall out. This will usually begin two to four months after you give birth and should end by month six. However, it has been reported that some women notice a prolonged postpartum hair loss phase. The good news? This does not necessarily mean you're deficient in nutrition or vitamins, but rather are experiencing lingering pregnancy hormones that have yet to normalize.
9 What Will Happen to My Hair?
During this postpartum hair loss phase, your hair could fall out in clumps, either when you brush it, or in the shower. Though it's common for hair to fall out from all areas of your head, many women may only notice hair loss around their hairline, resulting in the appearance of very fine hair in the front.
8 Coping with Postpartum Hair Loss
Postpartum hair loss will definitely be a frustrating occurrence, especially for those who have fallen in love with their pregnancy hair. What's important to keep in mind, however, is that almost every woman will encounter this experience, so just know that you are not alone in this process.
As a way to make postpartum hair loss easier for you, we've outlined seven ways of dealing with this little annoyance.
7 Embrace Your Hair’s Natural Texture
In order to keep your hair as healthy as possible, you must work with its natural texture. That means if your hair is curly, embrace those curls, and if your hair is straight, work with its sleekness. Frequent blow-drying, straightening or curling your hair will damage it, making it look even thinner than it may already be.
If you have fine, curly hair, take advantage of the beautiful texture and work more volume into it by applying some mousse. If your hair is straight, take advantage of its easy maintenance and work texture into it by getting a haircut with layers.
6 Be Extra Gentle When Shedding
Take extra care during your “shedding season.” For example, over-shampooing or over-brushing your hair can cause dryness, breakage and split ends. Having unhealthy hair during postpartum shedding will only make things worse. Protect your hair to prevent further hair loss,
Unnecessary shampooing can strip the natural oils of your hair, resulting in drier, unhealthy hair. If your hair is drier than usual, wash it less frequently because these natural oils are good for promoting moisture. If you have oilier hair, you will be able to get away with an extra wash. However, avoid washing it every day, as your hair too, will become drier than usual.
Furthermore, over-brushing your hair can cause consistent friction that the hair cannot fully handle. This will result in split ends and breakage and will make your hair appear even thinner. Make sure to brush your hair no more than twice a day (in the morning and at night). You should also avoid brushing the hair when wet, as it is in a weaker state, and can cause even more unnecessary breakage.
5 Never Wrap Wet Hair in a Towel
Believe it or not, wrapping wet hair in a towel can damage your hairline even further. If your hairline is weakened from postpartum hair loss, wrapping it in a towel will only make it worse.
The best thing for wet, fragile hair? Gently apply some leave-in conditioner and let sit until your hair is air-dried naturally. Once your hair is dry, gently comb it out with a high-quality detangling comb. The gentler you comb, the better for your hair.
4 Massage Your Scalp with Almond Oil
A great way to keep your postpartum hair healthy and strong is to indulge in a good scalp massage. Why? Massaging the scalp can stimulate the hair follicles, promoting further and quicker hair growth.
We recommend using almond based oil for scalp massages. The rich monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and vitamin E are necessary nutrients for healthy hair. Not only will massaging the scalp help prevent further hair loss, but it will also leave the hair shiny, making it appear healthier on the outside as well.
To effectively see results, make sure to massage the hair with warm (but not hot) almond oil 1-2 times a day. To keep the ends from splitting and breaking, you can also massage a small amount of almond oil into the ends.
3 Incorporate Biotin into Your Diet
Biotin is especially important to keep the hair healthy post pregnancy because it functions in the synthesis of hair proteins like keratin. Lack of biotin has also been associated with hair breakage, hair loss, and brittle nails. To keep your hair in top shape, it is important to include enough biotin in your diet.
The daily recommended amount of biotin for non-breastfeeding mothers is 30 mcg per day. However, if you are breastfeeding, you should be consuming 35 mcg per day. It is also important to note that because biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, it is not stored, which means it is not excreted into breast milk, but rather into your urine.
To include biotin for hair treatment post-pregnancy, you can:
Take 30-35 mcg of biotin to counter hair loss; this could include consuming foods with excellent sources of biotin or by taking biotin supplements
Though there’s no proven evidence, you can try using shampoos that are fortified with biotin to promote stronger, healthier hair
Take 2.4 mcg of vitamin B-12, as it not only contains essential B vitamins to promote energy within the body, but it also contains an essential source of biotin
Not only is biotin great for promoting healthier hair, it is also used to digest carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, converting food into energy. For babies, biotin has been linked to treating cradle cap—a common skin condition that causes flaky, dry skin on your baby’s scalp.
Biotin can also be found in brewer’s yeast, egg yolks, nuts, beans, black-eyed peas, whole grains, cauliflower, bananas, and mushrooms. Food processing can alter biotin, so opt for the most natural versions of these foods. If you’re concerned you may be deficient, speak to your physician about taking a supplement.
2 Consider Brewer’s Yeast
Brewer’s yeast contains biotin, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine and folic acid, which all contribute to the health of your hair. This doesn’t mean you need to soak your hair in beer all day. However, you can incorporate more sources of brewer’s yeast into your diet, or apply it topically through a DIY hair mask.
There are many ways to incorporate this nutritional, hair-benefiting powerhouse into your diet. You can try brewer’s yeast on popcorn, in soups or sauces, on salad, or even mixed with butter on broccoli or in mashed potatoes.
You can also make a brewer’s yeast DIY hair mask out of the following ingredients:
1 tbsp of fresh brewer’s yeast
2 tsp of herbal nettle infusion
1 cup of water
Directions of Use
Once you’ve gathered the ingredients, boil the water and add in the nettle infusion. Let cool. Whisk the egg and brewer’s yeast together and slowly pour in the nettle infusion mixed water. Make sure the mask is lukewarm. Never apply a boiling hot substance to your scalp.
Apply to scalp and gently work towards the ends of the hair. Let sit for 30-45 minutes and wash thoroughly out of the hair.
1 Get a Hair Cut
During pregnancy, you may have grown out your hair as a way of flaunting those thicker locks. If your hair is thinning, however, it may be best to chop it off. Why? Medium and short haircut lengths are best for finer hair. The longer the hair, the more it weighs itself down, resulting in even thinner, stringy looking hair.
Additionally, if your postpartum hair loss has affected your hairline, it may be best to shorten that thinning hair into long bangs that will frame the face. If you're not a fan of bangs, layering your hair could be another great option. As mentioned, layers will give your hair more fullness and can make for a very appealing look.
While your hair will likely never achieve the natural wonderfulness it had during pregnancy, it will go back to its normal state. Give it time. Though a burden, postpartum hair loss is a completely normal occurrence. That is why it’s important to never over-stress about it, as stress will lead to even more hair loss. Instead, enjoy this time with your little one and keep in mind all of these wonderful hair tips.