Treatments For Postpartum Hair Loss And Why It Happens
After the whirlwind journey that is pregnancy and caring for a newborn, postpartum hair loss is a motherhood rite of passage every woman would rather avoid.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the cause of this phenomenon is falling estrogen levels after labor. These levels are what kept your hair so shiny and full while your little one was still in utero.
Also known as postpartum alopecia and telogen effluvium, it causes the hair to shed faster than it can grow back, causing some women to have receding hairlines or even bald spots that can lead to feelings of low self-confidence and insecurity.
Regardless of how severe your hair loss is, rest assured that your hair will grow back and this change is only temporary.
While you wait for it to grow back, try one of the tips for treating postpartum hair loss listed below!
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When To Worry About Postpartum Hair Loss
If your hair loss continues past the one-year mark and you have other symptoms, its time to consider there may be an underlying cause.
You might be suffering from postpartum thyroiditis, which means inflammation of the thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. This condition happens to 5 to 10 percent of postpartum women.
This thyroiditis will sometimes start with high levels of thyroid hormone in the blood before morphing into levels that are too low. Not every woman will experience both types though.
If you have high levels of thyroid hormone, which will usually happen one to four months after you have your baby, you may have:
- Feeling overly tired.
- Decreased ability to handle exercise.
The reason so many moms dont notice their thyroid issue is because many of the symptoms are common for normal new moms. They may think their fatigue is caused by the midnight feedings, and anxiety and irritability can happen to new moms too.
If it is determined youre suffering from thyroiditis, your doctor may decide to put you on medication.
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What Is The Best Treatment For Hair Loss
Since there are a lot of reasons why one might experience hair loss, it’s important to consult with a doctor to find a personal anecdote. However, James says that most trichologists recommend people to do the below every day to maintain healthy scalp and follicles:
- Having a well-balanced diet.
- Taking vitamin B, 6, and 12, and vitamin D.
- Making sure you’re washing your hair regularly at least three times a week .
- If you’re wearing your hair out, then wash your hair twice a week.
“Scalp health is extremely important,” says Friese. “Keeping a healthy environment for hair to grow is key. Make sure you wash your hair and scalp regularly to avoid any build-up of oils, sweat, products, and debris. Most people do not clean their scalp enough.”
Also, be mindful of how you’re managing your hair. “Don’t wear tight hairstyles like buns, ponytails, and tight braids,” Friese explains. “The tension on the follicle can cause hair loss. Gently brush your hair. Use a detangler if needed so there isn’t too much tension while brushing.”
However, try not to depend on hair products that promise to grow your hair back, says James, as it’s often misleading. “Our hair is the tiniest organ in our body it is very complex. Our hair is a fiber that needs to be nourished and taken care of.” That’s why she recommends connecting with a trichologist to get to the bottom of the hair loss issue so an expert can recommend the kind of hair treatment you’ll need.
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Can Postpartum Hair Loss Be Prevented
There isnt anything that can necessarily stop your hair from shedding, but there are things you can do to help combat it. There are treatments you can do with the help of your dermatologist, and there are things you can add into your daily routine to help your hair look and feel fuller.
- Your dermatologist can perform a variety of diagnostic tests that can be used to confirm the diagnosis to render the right therapy to stop hair shedding. One of the treatments includes replenishing the iron in your body, or taking specific hair vitamins that are well studied and proven to prevent or treat Telogen Effluvium.
- Maintain a healthy and active lifestyle: exercising, eating well and taking care of your body are essential in hair health.
- Its easier said than done, but try and keep your stress levels low. Stress can contribute to hair thinning and shedding.
- Use therapeutic shampoos containing growth factor peptides to regrow hair, or volumizing shampoo to coat the hair and make it appear fuller and thicker. Also, use therapeutic conditioners: not only do they add moisture to your hair strands, but they add elasticity and repair the cuticles of the hair shafts. Lastly, condition only your ends so the conditioner doesnt weigh down the hairs on your scalp.
- Maintain a clean and healthy scalp by using therapeutic scalp sprays and anti-fungal shampoos to remove scales from the scalp this allows the hairs to grow in.
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Learn To Live With The Hair Loss Until Its Over
But what about my hair in the meantime? Theres nothing you can do to prevent it from falling out. And theres really not much you can do to treat telogen effluvium. For a few weeks or even a few months, you may have to employ some creative strategies to make the hair you do have look great. A few ideas:
New shampoo: Try a volumizing shampoo to maximize what youve got. And be gentle when washing, drying, and styling.
New do: Talk to your hair stylist about a new hairstyle or even a haircut that might perk you up and minimize the appearance of thinner hair. Bonus points for anything thats quick and easy to style when youve got a new baby putting demands on your time and energy.
New hat: Yes, its the ultimate fallback on a bad hair day, and its quick and easynot to mention reversible.
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How To Help Postpartum Hair Loss
First, the bummer: There’s not exactly much you can do to prevent postpartum hair loss from happening. “Once the triggering event happens and that shifts the hair cycle, there is nothing you can do to prevent it from coming out,” explains Dr. Francis.
However, there are steps you can take to make sure it doesn’t continue for longer than it should. In large, this comes down to making sure you’re doing your best to take care of yourself post-pregnancy by eating healthy, resting when you can, and letting your body heal.
Specifically, diet can play a big role, says Kingsley. A biggie nutrient? Protein. “Proteins are used to build tissue cells, including the cells of your hair, skin, and nails,” she explains. “Eighty to 85 percent of your hair is composed of a protein called keratin. Dietary proteins are your hairs’ building blocksthey make your hair strong and help keep it in its growing phase.”
Other key nutrients, according to Kingsley? L-lysine, an amino acid that helps the body form collagen to give hair shape and elasticity B12, which helps your body make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen to your tissues and vitamin D, which plays a role in the creation of hair follicles .
In the meantime, however, products can help make your mane look and feel thicker until your hair regains its normal fullness. Here are a few great buys from supplements to hair care supplies to add to your postpartum hair-care routine.
Is Postpartum Hair Loss Normal
If you’ve suffered with postpartum hair loss, you’ll be relieved to learn that this is totally normal. “Many new mothers see noticeable hair loss a few months after having a baby. This is normal and it is not true hair loss,” notes Dr Dhoat.
As for whether postpartum hair loss is something to be embarrassed about, the expert says: “Absolutely not!” She continued, “It is important to emphasise this is incredibly common, affecting up to 50% of new mothers, if not more. Although it is stressful to experience hair loss at such a physically and emotionally vulnerable time, it is also important to normalize it and for new mothers to be kind to themselves, with the reassurance this largely reverses with time alone.”
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Can You Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss
Unfortunately, postpartum hair loss is not a condition that can be prevented. It is possible to minimize the severity and promote healthy hair by maintaining a well-balanced diet and continuing to take you prenatal vitamins. In order to lower the risk of hair loss, you should also refrain from using products that lead to hair breakage, typically hair styling implements that use heat, such as straightening irons, blow dryers, or curlers. Dr. Green also recommends hair styles that do not pull at your scalp, which includes tight ponytails and braids.
Follow My Babys Growth
Hair loss postpartum, though stressful, is a completely normal symptom of your changing hormones after birth. One of the postpartum symptoms you shouldnt neglect, however, is depression. Be sure to speak to your loved ones or doctor if you are feeling highly anxious, angry, or overwhelmed in the weeks and months following delivery.
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So How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Really Last
The postpartum period varies from woman to woman, but generally speaking, it takes about six months postpartum for the body to return to its pre-pregnant physiological state. Hormonal changes continue long after giving birth, and it can take several months for hormone levels to even out.
How does postpartum hair loss fit into this picture?
The good news is that this excessive shedding is temporary, and you do not have to do anything to remedy it, explained Dr. Vergara. Most women see their hair return to its normal fullness by their childs first birthday. Many women regain normal fullness even earlier.
Moroccanoil Dry Scalp Treatment
People often forget their scalp, but this is where your hair is living. Think of it like the skin on your face. If the pH levels are out of balance, or its too dry or oily, your hair wont be healthy.
Massage is key to boost blood flow and feed the roots. Use a kneading motion on your scalp for two to three minutes every morning or night.
And introduce a nourishing treatment, such as the Dry Scalp Treatment from Moroccanoil, into your daily routine. The best news? Theyve also developed a treatment aimed at oily scalps, so youve covered either way!
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How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last What Timeline To Expect For Hair Shedding After Giving Birth
Postpartum hair shedding is very common for women in the months after giving birth. And, while this is startling and frustrating, it is perfectly normal and most women can expect their hair to bounce right back.
Sometimes, part of the frustration from hair loss can be not knowing what to expect, or how long shedding will continue.
Below, we will outline some of the most common timelines for postpartum hair loss including when it normally begins, how long the shedding tends to last, and when you can expect your hair to look relatively back to where it was pre-pregnancy.
Hair Growth After Postpartum Hair Loss
Due to the nature of our hair growth cycles, the shedding of a hair from its follicle typically signals that a new hair shaft has already begun to grow. This means that once the onset of postpartum hair loss subsides, you should expect to see new hair on the horizon.
Remember that hair grows about a half-inch per month, so it will take some time to be able to really see your hairs fullness coming back. The American Academy of Dermatology Association advises that most mothers see their hair return to its normal fullness within a year of giving birth, if not earlier.
If you dont see hair growth getting back to normal within the first year after childbirth, consult with a health care provider to make sure there arent any underlying health issues at play.
Chronic diseases, nutritional deficiencies, significant emotional stress, some hormonal diseases like thyroid disease, some medications, and infections of the scalp may be associated with this type of hair loss, explained Dr. Buyuk. If extreme hair loss persists, then women should see their dermatologist to make sure that there is no other underlying condition.â
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Add Some Tlc To Your Hair Care Routine
Be gentle! Avoid tight ponytails or other tight hairstyles, heat styling and chemical treatments whenever possible.
Consider pampering your scalp with super soft scrunchies like our Organic Bamboo Hair Ties or a friction-free pillowcase like our Good Nights and Hair Days Pillowcase, also made from organic bamboo.
You can also use a volumizing shampoo, advised Dr. Alan Lindemann, a board-certified obstetrician with over 40 years of experience in working with moms-to-be. A protein-rich shampoo will coat your strands to make them look thicker and fuller, he added.
VEGAMOURs GRO Revitalizing Shampoo and Conditioner is made with our proprietary all-vegan keratin protein, Karmatin, which will leave each and every one of your strands silky smooth, reduce shedding up to 76% and increase the appearance of hair density by up to 52%.
Choose The Right Products
Since the hair loss associated with TE and postpartum hair loss tends to be a general thinning all over the head, you might be dealing with less density than youre used to.
Products that are geared toward fine hair will help prevent your locks from being weighed down and looking lifeless. To promote your healthy hair growth, nourish your hair with protein by switching to a volumizing shampoo and avoiding intensive conditioners these will only weigh down your hair, said Dr. Okhah.
VEGAMOUR’s GRO Revitalizing Shampoo, which features a fresh bergamot scent, offers gentle yet effective cleansing with the added bonus of our proprietary vegan silk protein Karmatin and a formulation that promotes thicker, fuller-looking hair.
Other tools to consider adding to your volumizing toolkit could include a great-smelling dry shampoo to help add lift to your roots or a multi-purpose hair foam that can add volume and texture.
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Regoxidine Women’s 5% Minoxidil Foam
Minoxidil is an ingredient that might be useful in helping to reset hairs in the “rest” phase back to the “growing” phase faster, says Dr. Francis. “It’s a topical medication that opens blood vessels and is theorized to stimulate and improve blood flow to the hair follicle when applied on the scalp.” Just note: When you start using this product, you might notice a temporary increase in shedding as a result of your hairs transitioning between phases, she cautions. Typically this lasts two to four weeks. “Think of it as all the hairs that would have shed being gathered up and stimulated to transition to growing simultaneously,” adds Dr. Francis.
Know that Minoxidil can cause rashes in some people, so if you notice any redness, itchiness, tenderness, scalp discomfort, bumps, flakes, or rashes stop using it, stat. And you should avoid it if you’re nursing, says Dr. Francis. Otherwise, you can use a half capful on a dry scalp every day.