My Postpartum Hair Loss Journey
Postpartum hair loss is something I have been dealing with for six years now. Honestly my hair is not something I take lightly. Ever since Wade and I have been together every Mothers Day and Birthday I get a hair cut. Not because he cant get me anything else but because it is something so special to me. I get a day to go and get may hair washed and cut, while transforming into a new person. I never really had good hair but once I became pregnant with Chloe it was all over.
The first child
Suddenly my ok hair turned into something I couldnt even recognize. I know normally the pregnant woman is just glowing from head to toe. For me that was not the case. My hair stopped growing completely, it was dry, brittle and completely untamable. Now, I typically keep my hair a a shoulder length just because in Florida it is very hot and humid which do not mix well with myself hair included.
The second child
Surprise number three
Now, I did go to a doctor to make sure I didnt have any underlying conditions that could cause such an increase to my hair loss. Everything came back fine, so I was left with just accepting that until Athena was older I would have bald spots. That its until baby Wade decided it was his turn to enter the world. I didnt know it then but I would soon be pregnant with Wade III making all my kids one year and two month apart. If you do. the math that is six consecutive years of dealing postpartum hair loss.
What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss And When Does It Start
Hair will most commonly begin to shed about three months postpartum. After birth, hair is usually stable and then the telogen effluvium or intense hair shedding starts around three to four months postpartum, says Dr. Mariwalla. Unfortunately, that often coincides with poor sleep and overall exhaustion from having a new baby in the house.
This combination can make hair loss an emotional event. It can sometimes make new parents feel vulnerable and uneasy.Dr. Mariwalla tells her patients to remain calm during this time. The key thing is reassurance that they will not go bald but it can take almost a year for all of the hair to grow back, says Dr. Mariwalla.
Unfortunately, there are still questions as to why hair loss happens, aside from the hormone fluctuations new parents experience. What we do know is that hair loss is a very real side effect.
Postpartum telogen effluvium remains understudied and is lacking hard data to prove any theory , says Bridgette Hill, founder of Root Cause Scalp Analysis, and a certified trichologist.The theories range from increased levels of progesterone and increased iron intake to nutritional deficiencies.”
Breastfeeding is also a factor for hair loss, since it can be quite taxing on the body.”Breastfeeding can also impact the hormonal and nutritional balances, which can result in hair shedding, Hill notes.
How To Cope With Postpartum Hair Loss
If you feel discouraged by hair loss, he says to keep in mind that this is a temporary phase. According to the doctor, most shedding will resolve about three months after it starts. Knowing when this shedding will likely subside can help prepare you mentally and emotionally for this change.
Remember, postpartum hair loss occurs because you have just given birth to a baby. Try to focus on the bigger picture and have a long-term view.
Don’t get down on yourself, says Pacheco. Your body just did a fantastic thing, and it took a lot of work. Postpartum hair loss happens to every new mom to varying degrees. My best advice is to focus on regrowth because once it starts to fall out, it needs to run its course.
Since this fallout has nothing to do with your hair health or hair shaft, it cannot be stopped once it starts. However, there are ways to mitigate the loss.
Stress hormones can also lead to hair loss, says Pacheco. So try not to panicthe follicles aren’t dying off into baldness they are just resetting and letting go of old growth. Your hair will come back. Often stronger and fuller than before, and maybe with a new texture or wave than you had before.
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Choose A Supportive Shampoo + Conditioner
I try to keep my skincare products as natural as possible, and the same goes for my shampoo and conditioner. Briogeo recently sent me their Blossom and Bloom line thats formulated with ginger, ginseng, and biotin to help encourage hair regrowth.
While I dont usually use products with added fragrance, their products are free from silicone, phthalates, DEA, artificial dyes, parabens, sulfates, and gluten, which helped me to feel more at ease.
Tips To Combat Postpartum Hair Loss
You can effectively manage your postpartum hair loss in several ways. However, one thing you must take note of is that postpartum hair loss is a normal occurrence due to your changing hormones. Therefore, you cannot expect it to stop immediately.
The following tips are going to help you minimize the impact of your postpartum hair loss and will be helpful in gradually promoting healthy re-growth of your hair.
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Do I Have Postpartum Hair Loss
Normally, a person loses about 100 hairs a day . But ladies with postpartum hair loss will notice much more than that. Youll seem to be shedding more than ever, especially compared to during pregnancy when you barely noticed any hair falling out.
Youll notice the extra hairs on your hairbrush, or you may even see some smaller clumps falling out. I realized I had this issue in the first three months or so of having my baby. I noticed my hair seemed to be thinner than usual and saw my hairbrush filling up way more than in the past.
I didnt understand why it was happening, and I felt like there was something wrong with me. It wasnt easy to deal with, but I did take some comfort in knowing I wasnt alone once I did some quick research online about the problem.
So if you see this happening, dont freak out. Its normal and common. Up to half of all women will lose more hair than usual in the first five months after having their baby.
The good thing is there are ways to disguise your hair loss until your body begins to recuperate from all its been through. When I was dealing with this, I learned some great tricks to fake a full mane that Ill share with you in a later section.
Dermatologists Tips For New Mothers
If the excessive hair shedding bothers you, these tips from dermatologists can help until your hair regains its normal fullness.
Use shampoo and conditioner that add volume. Heres what dermatologists recommend using and avoiding:
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.
Finding the best shampoo and conditioner for thin hair is really a matter of trial and error. There is no single ingredient that makes a volumizing shampoo or conditioner for fine hair better than the rest.
Try a new hairstyle. Some haircuts make hair look fuller. An experienced stylist can tell you what will work for you.
Many new mothers prefer short hair. A short style can make hair look fuller. Short hair also can be easier to manage, which can save time. With a baby, anything that saves time can be a real boon.
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Causes Of Postpartum Hair Loss
During pregnancy, every woman experiences tremendously high levels of progesterone and estrogen. Due to this, the women experience continuous hair growth throughout their pregnancy and will surely notice lustrous and thicker strands.
Once you are through with the delivery, your hormones then begin to level out in the following six months. Your hair remains in the resting stage for approximately the first three months and then begins to fall out. Soon after, you will notice the re-growth taking place, which is generally in the shape of baby bangs along your hairline.
When To See A Doc
Thereâs no need to consult a derm on this front, unless, Dr. Scott, says, âmoms experienced hair thinning prior to becoming pregnant, or if they have anyone in their family with hair thinning or balding. These women have a higher likelihood of having another type of hair thinning, and should see a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis. I typically recommend that if patients haven’t started seeing regrowth by 10 to 12 months postpartum, they should set up an appointment.â
Dr. Laura Scott, board-certified dermatologist and Associate Director Skin of Color Division at the University of Miami
Dr.Jenny Liu, board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor in the Twin Cities
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Dont Fear Washing Your Hair
Often the sight of an increased strand-count in the shower post-pregnancy, can make you want to put off washing it. However, stopping washing your hair as much because of fears of accelerating the hair loss is something you needn’t be worried about. You will lose the same amount of hairs whether or not you wash your hair once a week or once per day, this really has no impact on hair fall, says Iain. Left washing your hair a few more days? He warns not to be alarmed by the extra fallout. “You’ll have lost the same amount of hairs per day but saved them up for when it’s washed…which can be very traumatic!”
How often should you wash it? If your hair’s a little sensitised after giving birth, aim for two to three times a week. Dont wash your hair too much or too vigorously and dont go overboard on product – this will dry the hair out causing it to break easily and appear even thinner, advises Craig. Use gentle pressure to help reduce the stress to the scalp and hair. Keeping your scalp clean will also aid healthier hair regrowth.
What Is Postpartum Hair Loss
Postpartum alopeciamore commonly referred to as postpartum hair lossis when you experience an unusually high volume of shedding after giving birth, typically around 3-4 months postpartum.
Although it may feel like it, you are not going bald. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatologists doesnt even consider postpartum hair loss true hair loss, but rather excessive shedding.
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Proper Nutrition Is Key
You cant expect your body to grow if you dont fuel it well. Staying on top of your dietary habits is very important for new moms and is crucial for stopping postpartum hair loss. A nutrient-dense diet rich in healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and protein will help you keep your gorgeous curls thick. Try to have fish at least twice a week since its high in omega-3 fats and protein, which are a godsend for hair growth. When it comes to healthful carbs, experts recommend sourcing them from oats, whole-grain bread, and quinoa. Dont forget to drink plenty of water too!
R+co Dallas Biotin Thickening Conditioner
At this point in the article, you know that the lighter the hair care product, the better for postpartum hair loss. So intensive conditioners are a hard pass, as they “tend to be heavier on your hair,” explains Dr. Francis. Instead, opt for an easy-going conditioner, such as this one that boasts a star-studded ingredient list featuring biotin for strengthening strands, saw palmetto extra for boosting body or volume, and coconut oil for its thickening powers. Plus, anything that’s available via Amazon Prime and can be on our doorstep in two days to help in a pinch is a win in arguably everyone’s books.
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When Will My Hair Grow Back
You might notice thinning hair within weeks of childbirth, though its not uncommon for postpartum hair loss to take about three months before becoming noticeable. Its often most visible along the front part of the hairline, even though it affects the entire head.
Follow up question: how long will postpartum shedding last? After delivery, hair follicles have to reset in their growth/shed cycle and a remarkable increase in shed can occur for 3-6 months, explained Dr. Lisa Rhodes, a board-certified dermatologist with Westlake Dermatology. So you can expect a period of marked shedding, after which your hair growth will likely have already begun recovering.
An important thing to remember here is that hair growth takes time! Hair grows around six inches per year, which is about a half inch per month, so keep in mind that it will take several months for noticeable new growth to happen.
A few months of shedding plus a few months to start seeing new hair growth, were not talking about an insignificant amount of time here. Most women see their hair return to its normal fullness by their childs first birthday. Many women regain normal fullness even earlier, shared Dr. Vergara-Wijangco.
My Postpartum Hair Loss Progress
Also, while its probably not what you want to hear, patience is a great way to remedy your postpartum hair loss.Your hair will begin to grow again, even if it doesnt feel like it at the moment. You are so much more than the hair on your head.
Check out the side-by-side images below to see the difference a month can make with diligent care using the above tools.
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When Should I See A Doctor
More good news about postpartum hair loss: it usually resolved on its own without any needed medical intervention. With that said, extreme or prolonged postpartum hair loss can be a sign that perhaps there are other issues at play and should be reason to seek out a healthcare provider.
If your hair does not regain its normal fullness after one year, you may want to see a dermatologist. Something else may be causing your hair to fall out. People lose hair for many reasons, and an accurate diagnosis is essential for effective treatment, advised Dr. Vergara-Wijangco.
If you’re concerned that your postpartum hair loss isn’t turning around, seek professional medical advice.
Keep Up A Multivitamin
Its recommended that women take a multivitamin after pregnancy, especially if youre breastfeeding. You can choose to take either a daily multivitamin or continue to take your prenatal vitamin if you have any leftover. According to a 2017 review, taking a prenatal vitamin ensures youre getting enough vitamins and minerals, which are increased when youre lactating. It is also best to consult with a dietitian before choosing an over the counter supplement because over-supplementation of some vitamins may actually contribute to hair loss.