While hair isn’t the most important thing to think about during this busy season of life, it’s the unfortunate truth that many new mothers experience postpartum hair loss. We’re talking hair falling out in clumps! While postpartum hair loss is totally normal, we know that it’s also stressful to experience hair loss after birth, especially with all the other changes happening with your appearance.
So what causes hair loss after pregnancy and what can you do about it? Keep reading to learn all about postpartum hair loss!
What Causes Hair Loss After Pregnancy?
Before we get into postpartum hair loss, we need to talk about what happens to hair during pregnancy. Most women actually experience healthier, shinier, and thicker hair during their pregnancy.
Why? Well, hair grows in a three phase cycle: the growth phase, the resting phase, and the shedding phase. Each hair is at a different place in the cycle, which is why humans tend to shed hair a little bit every day instead of molting all at once like many other animals.
During pregnancy, increased estrogen levels lengthen the growth and resting phases of your hair cycle. Since less hair is being shed, your hair looks thicker and fuller than usual. In fact, the overall volume of hair on your head increases by estimated 38%. That’s why many women say that they experience the best hair of their lives during pregnancy!
It’s only after the birth that the hair loss begins, hence the name “postpartum hair loss”. Post-pregnancy, your hormones will return to their normal levels. The “extra” hair that your body has been holding onto will be shed, resulting in postpartum hair loss. This phenomena is called telogen effluvium.
“We normally lose 50-100 hairs per day, but after pregnancy this number can go up to 400 hair strands per day„
Telogen effluvium can also happen when a physical or psychological trauma causes more hair than usual to transition from the growth phase to the resting phase. If you’ve ever lost hair after a bad breakup or a particularly nasty case of the flu, you know what we’re talking about. Since birth is pretty physically traumatic, particularly if you have a difficult labor or surgery, it’s easy to see how telogen effluvium would cause hair loss after birth.
When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Start?
You can expect postpartum hair loss to rear its ugly head about three to six months after giving birth. If you’re breastfeeding, you might not experience postpartum hair loss until you start to wean or supplement with formula or solid foods.
Keep in mind that not all women experience postpartum hair loss. If six months have gone by and you haven’t seen a noticeable change in your hair thickness, you might be one of the lucky ones who don’t have hair loss after pregnancy!
How Much Postpartum Hair Loss is Normal?
Although hair loss after pregnancy can be drastic, it’s actually a normal part of bringing a new life into this world. The amount of hair loss after birth varies, but on average, women lose as much as 30% of their hair.
So what does postpartum hair loss actually look like? You’ll probably notice much more hair in your hair brush or in the shower drain after washing your hair. Some women with hair loss after birth experience thinning around the hairline. Other signs of postpartum hair loss include a widening part and a smaller ponytail.
The below before and after images show the results of women who i.e. experienced postpartum hair loss. The before images illustrate a normal amount of hair loss after pregnancy. All these women used hair growth products to get their hair back quickly and the after images illustrate 1-3 months progress with HairLust hair supplement.
Can Postpartum Hair Loss Be Prevented?
Nope. We’re sorry to tell you, but there isn’t really anything you can do to prevent hair loss after birth. But think of it like this: You’re not actually losing hair overall. You’re just losing the hair that you didn’t shed during pregnancy.
However, you can help minimize the hair loss after pregnancy by seeking treatment and using certain hair care techniques (more on that later).
Does Hair Loss After Birth Worsen with Subsequent Pregnancies?
Technically subsequent pregnancies do not make hair loss after birth worse. However, if your pregnancies are close together, you might not be giving your hair enough time to regrow after birth and your hair might look thinner following the next pregnancy. Although you are experiencing the same amount of hair loss after birth, you are beginning the next pregnancy with less hair overall. This creates the illusion that postpartum hair loss gets worse with subsequent pregnancies.
Another thing to consider is age. Our hair naturally becomes more fine and thin as we get older – it’s just part of the aging process! If you’re spending several years in a cycle of postpartum hair loss and regrowth, you might find yourself at the end of this season of life with less hair overall. That’s perfectly natural and normal. However, if the postpartum hair loss seems extreme, it might be wise to speak to a doctor about other potential causes and treatments.
The Best Treatments for Hair Loss After Pregnancy
It’s stressful to lose hair at any time in your life, but it’s particularly stressful to experience postpartum hair loss because you have so many other changes going on as well.
Recovery from hair loss after pregnancy is different for everyone, but you can expect your hair to recover somewhere between three months to one year after giving birth. Luckily, there are a two simple postpartum hair loss treatments you can try to help your hair grow back more quickly following hair loss after pregnancy:
1. Eat Well
Your hair follicles need a certain amount of vitamins and minerals in order to grow new hair efficiently and recover from postpartum hair loss. The best way to get those vitamins and minerals is to eat a varied diet that includes plenty of protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.
2. Take Your Vitamins
You’re a busy new mom – we get it! It’s not always easy to get your daily dose of veggies when you’re taking care of a newborn. That’s why we recommend Hair Growth Formula Gummies for treating postpartum hair loss! We make these bad boys with all the vitamins and minerals your hair follicles need to regrow your hair following postpartum hair loss. And since they come in a delicious gummy formula, it’s easy to remember to take them. We recommend to get the go-ahead from your doctor before taking any supplements to treat postpartum hair loss. However, it's quite normal for new moms to take hair supplements.
5 Tips to Make Hair Look Thicker After Postpartum Hair Loss
Just because you’re experiencing hair loss after pregnancy doesn’t mean people have to know about it! Using these simple hair care tricks can help you make the most out of the hair you do have until your hair grows back.
1. Change Your Product Line-Up
If you don’t usually have fine hair, let us introduce you to the wonderful world of volumizing hair products! Seriously, you will be amazed at the difference a few good hair care products can make. First up, switch out your regular shampoo and conditioner for our Hair Growth & Repair Set. This cleansing and moisturizing duo is formulated with microproteins that infuse hair with strength, preventing split ends up to 20%*. This means you get to hang on to the hair you still have after postpartum hair loss while your new, healthy hair grows in.
Once your hair is clean, use Scalp Follicle Treatment & Volumizer on your roots. This volumizing treatment creates the ideal scalp conditions for healthy hair growth while boosting your hair’s volume at the roots.
2. Sleep On It
Another way to preserve the hair you do have after postpartum hair loss is by swapping out your cotton pillowcase for a bamboo pillowcase. Why? Because cotton fibers are actually quite rough and when you sleep on a cotton pillowcase, all of that friction on your hair makes it more prone to breakage, snarls and dullness. On the other hand, bamboo is much smoother, so you wake up with silky, tangle-free hair.
3. Detangle Gently
Even the way that you brush your hair can make a big difference if you have hair loss after pregnancy. If you use too much force while detangling or use the wrong tool, you run the risk of breaking strands and facing additional shedding. Instead, we recommend using our Detangle Wet Brush. Its soft bristles gently tease apart snarls so you can detangle without breakage. Plus, the bristles actually massage the scalp, which encourages new hair growth.
4. Skip Hot Tools
In the same vein, you’ll also want to put down your hair dryer, curling iron, and straightener. While all of these tools are great for styling your hair, their heat can dry out your strands and lead to more breakage. If you’re experiencing hair loss after pregnancy, opt for heat-free styles whenever possible or protection your hair with a heat protection spray to reduce potential damage.
5. Change Your Hairstyle
Doesn’t it seem like new moms always go for a shorter haircut soon after birth? Well, that’s no coincidence! Long hair is heavy and all that extra weight makes hair look more flat. Shorter hair, on the other hand, is more lightweight so it has more bouncy volume. You don’t have to make a big change – even a few inches will make a difference (though if you want to do a pixie, you do you, boo!).
If you’re committed to your length, you can also get a temporary bump in volume just by switching up your hair part now and then. It sounds so simple, but it really makes a big difference!
Remember, hair loss after pregnancy is totally natural and normal. It’s nothing to feel ashamed about. It’s just a part of this exciting season of life! But that doesn’t mean you have to take postpartum hair loss sitting down. Following these postpartum hair loss tips will help you make the most of your hair and feel your best while you recover from hair loss after pregnancy.
*These studies are made by BASF. For more information about the studies, visit www.personal-care.basf.com or www.carecreations.basf.com.