Postpartum Hair Loss: Your Guide to Shedding After Pregnancy
During pregnancy, you might have been blessed with a thick and lustrous mane of hair. After having the baby, however, your locks could start shedding excessively. This normal symptom results from hormonal changes in the body. So how long does postpartum hair loss last, and can you prevent it from happening? Keep reading to learn more.
What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?
Everyone sheds on a daily basis, says dermatologist Sejal Shah, M.D., but pregnancy changes things up. "There are lots of hormonal shifts happening, and one thing that those hormonal shifts do is promote hair growth," Dr. Shah explains. In other words, pregnancy hormones actually prevent you from shedding.
Once your hormones return to normal after pregnancy, there's a drop in estrogen, which causes hair shedding to resume. But keep in mind: You've stopped shedding for several months, so the hair that's been sticking to your head needs to come out, explains Dr. Shah. This phenomenon is called telogen effluvium.
When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Start?
"Generally with telogen effluvium, there's some sort of event—in this situation it's giving birth, but there can be other causes. Basically, a larger amount of your hair than normal is triggered to enter this resting/shedding phase," says Dr. Shah. It takes about three months for that hair to shed out, she adds, which is why most people notice postpartum hair loss around three months after delivery.
Hair might fall out all around your head, or clumps may come loose when you brush it or shower. Some women simply lose some strands around their hairline, so their mane looks very fine in the front, as if they're going bald, says Stephanie Scuoppo, a hairstylist at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon and Spa in New York City.
How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?
Postpartum hair loss is a temporary phase, and it's unlikely that your hair will go from extra-thick to barely there. That said, everyone's hormonal shift will manifest differently. "It's a very natural process," Dr. Shah says.
Don't fret if your hair starts feeling extra thin. While there are exceptions, Dr. Shah reassures that most of the time, hair loss will spontaneously normalize. "The time to recovery varies. In some people it's three months, in some people it's six months. Occasionally it can last a year," she says.
How to Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss
Can you stop postpartum hair loss? Probably not, but you might be able to control it. According to Dr. Shah, good nutrition is essential after giving birth, and it can help keep your hair strong, healthy, and intact (at least to some degree). Don't skimp on your protein and iron intake!
That said, if the shedding seems out of the ordinary, you may want to check with your doctor. They may test you for thyroid disorders or other health issues.
Dealing with Postpartum Hair Loss
Are you desperate for a postpartum hair loss treatment? Here's how to keep your mane looking good during this strange transition.
Try a new cut and color.
First and foremost, visit a stylist for professional advice, says Scuoppo. They may recommend a different hairstyle that incorporates those fine hairs in the front. If you previously had long hair, or a layered cut with pieces that came down to the chin in the front, you may need to shorten it into long bangs that frame the face.
Celebrity stylist Oribe (whose clients include Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow) agrees that it's a good idea to go shorter in the front. Sexy, short-in-the-middle, longer-at-the-sides bangs would look amazing, says Oribe. Layering your hair all over will also give you more fullness.
Coloring your hair can also give it body, says Scuoppo. If you feel that your hairline is receding and you have dark hair, highlighting the front acts as a camouflage. Or try glossing, a treatment that gives hair all-over shine.
Keep hair moussed and moist.
Oribe also says that using the right products can give the illusion of fullness. Look for a volumizing mousse at the drugstore or salon. Always use a conditioner or a leave-in hair moisturizer after shampooing.
Change the part.
If you normally part your hair in the middle, try a side part to disguise thinning hair at the temples.
Sleek, straight hairstyles make thinning hair more obvious. If you usually blow out your curly or wavy hair, consider going with your natural curl. If you have straight hair, try using Velcro rollers or a curling iron to give your locks some oomph, says Scuoppo.
Wear hair ornaments.
Headbands, scarves, and bandannas are fun and stylish ways to disguise postpartum hair loss. They're especially popular with new moms who have little time to devote to hair care!
The shedding sucks.. leaving hair trails everywhere. I was so paranoid after my first baby. I lost so much hair. I had to get a shower hair catcher and a better vacuum.
With my second baby I got recommended postpartum hair vitamins and I took those. It helped so much. I didn't lose clumps and the shedding was much shorter. I took the baby blues brand ones - would highly recommend.Read More