Postpartum Hair Loss Survival Guide
If you recently had a baby, you might notice excess shedding. Here’s everything you’ll need to know about postpartum hair loss.
While it’s normal to lose about 50-100 hairs per day, it’s also normal for the amount of hair lost postpartum to jump up to as many as 400 strands per today. Excessive hair shedding (formally known as telogen effluvium amongst doctors and hair specialists) is evident about three to six months after having a baby. Don’t worry, it won’t last forever.
WHY IT HAPPENS
During pregnancy, the body creates more of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is responsible for assisting in the growth of the uterus and proper formation of the placenta; its beloved side effect is a change in the hair’s growth pattern. Progesterone helps prep the body for delivery. For nine months when you’re expecting, the influx of hormones can result in super thick, shiny hair that’s goddess-like. During this time the regular shedding process dramatically slows down. The normal shedding portion of the growth cycle comes to a halt as the hairs are kept in the growing phase for longer than normal due to the influx of estrogen.
Anywhere from three to six months or more after delivering a baby, the body experiences a steep drop in the production of estrogen, bringing it back to baseline. This redirection of estrogen signals the body to resume normal shedding. Now instead of the hairs sporadically falling out as they should be, the shedding process is synced up. That’s why it seems like all of a sudden, you’re losing a ton of hair.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
The severity of postpartum hair loss varies from woman to woman. Some women experience just a small patch of thinning whereas others encounter clumps of hair loss, which is evident in what accumulates in their hairbrush or at their shower drain, on their pillow. Postpartum hair loss tends to occur on the temples, but it can also affect the part and overall hairline.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
Excessive hair shedding isn’t going to fix itself overnight, but it isn’t going to stick around for the long term either. Even if you do absolutely nothing, the natural evening out of your hormones will put your hair back on the track to normal and healthy. However, there are plenty of things you can do in the interim to make up for the unsolicited changes in volume, thickness, and strength to last anywhere from a few months to up to one year. Follow these tips to get your hair back to healthy in next to no time:
Take Supplements 1
Data shows that what the body lacks in terms of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, supplements can make up for. Ingredients like ashwagandha, biotin, adaptogens, cococin, and other hair helping vitamins can help jumpstart the hair’s natural growing process in a few months.
Don’t wash your hair every day 2
The act of shampooing can cause more hair to shed than normal. That’s because you may be physically loosening the hair from the follicle if you’re washing too hard (i.e. scrubbing and pulling on delicate strands). When washing, make sure to be gentle and take your time to fully suds your scalp and massage your hair. On non wash days, sop up any oiliness with dry shampoo.
Comb, don’t brush 3
Fragile hair needs extra TLC. Whereas brushes can easily snarl and rip hair, a wide-toothed comb is kinder to the strands.
Lay off the heat as much as possible 4
The less heat you can use on your hair, the better off it will be. That’s because heat is the hair’s number one enemy—thinning or not. Air drying methods and heatless hairstyling options are best since they’ll still give shape and style without causing any damage.
Opt for soft, silky scrunchies over snappy rubber bands 5
Fabric-covered hair ties are a must since they don’t break the hair as traditional rubber bands do. Just make sure not to tie the scrunchie too tight.
Eat right 6
Good hair comes from within and a healthy, well-balanced, whole diet. Diet is crucial for maintaining shiny, strong, long hair. Even when cravings hit, choose healthy options over sugary, fried, and overprocessed foods. Your body needs the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients found in whole foods to feed your hair.