Your body goes through a lot of changes during and after pregnancy. You expect the growing belly and weird cravings, but there are many things you may not expect, like hair loss.
Postpartum hair loss doesn’t happen to every new mom, but it is pretty common. If you experience it yourself, it can be quite alarming when you see strands coming out in chunks or clumps of it collecting on your hair brush. Don’t worry — it’s not nearly as bad as it may seem.
Postpartum hair loss isn’t really permanent hair loss. Dermatologists refer to it as excessive shedding, or Telogen Effluvium. Just how some women experience thicker and fuller hair during pregnancy from increased hormones, some can experience shedding and thinning as those same hormone levels drop after the baby arrives.
It’s normal to have questions about unexpected and startling changes in your body. Dr. Dy has the answers to some of the most common questions women have about experiencing postpartum hair loss.
What causes postpartum hair loss?
Normally, 90 percent of your hair is in the growth cycle. During pregnancy, however, increased estrogen levels stimulate the percentage of your hairs that are in that growth cycle. Your estrogen levels also freeze the hairs that are in in the resting cycle — this is when you will notice thicker, fuller hair because it is staying put on your scalp. After giving birth, your estrogen levels drop, and all the hair that was growing and resting on your scalp begins to fall out — this is when you will notice increased shedding and thinning hair.
When does the hair loss begin?
If you experience hair loss after pregnancy, you will probably notice it around three to four months after giving birth.
Will my hair every grow back?
Remember: this is just a phase and it’s not permanent. Most women who experience hair shedding after pregnancy will notice their hair return back to its normal fullness by their baby’s first birthday. Some women’s hair regains its fullness even earlier than one year post-birth. If it has been more than a year since you’ve given birth and your hair doesn’t regain its normal fullness, make an appointment with your dermatologist. You need a proper diagnosis to determine if there is something else causing your hair loss and to help your dermatologist develop a treatment plan for you.
Can postpartum hair loss be prevented?
There isn’t 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.
- It’s 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 doesn’t 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.
While startling and sometimes disappointing, hair loss after pregnancy is nothing to be extremely concerned about. Remember, it is temporary and usually only lasts a few months. If you are concerned that there may be something else contributing to your hair shedding, visit your dermatologist for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Dr. Lady Dy is one of the most sought after dermatologists in the United States. She has studied all over the world and has worked with the world’s leading experts in skin and hair. Her patients fly from all over North America, Dubai, Norway and Korea to be treated by her in Chicago. To learn more about hair loss and to find the treatment plan that’s right for you, contact Dy Dermatology Center. Click here to request an appointment or call the dermatology center at (847) 832-1185.