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You most likely went through a series of changes from the moment you found out you were pregnant to the moment you gave birth. And now you find yourself leaving a trail of hair in every room and everywhere you go. Welcome to postpartum hair loss.
Maybe I shouldn’t say ‘welcome’. But you’re definitely not alone on this postpartum hair loss journey. You might be wondering what in the world is postpartum hair loss and how am I losing an incredible amount of hair in such short amount of time.
Let me explain it as simple and factual as I can. During pregnancy, you may have noticed how luscious, thick, and healthy your hair was. This is thanks to a surge of estrogen (women hormones, yay). Your estrogen levels peak and the hair growth phase called anagen is enhanced meaning you shed less hair.
There’s 3 different phases in the hair growth cycle: the growing phase (anagen), transition phase (catagen), and the resting phase (telogen).
When does postpartum hair loss typically start?
After you have your baby, those lovely high estrogen levels start to drop. And many women notice their hair shedding around the 4 month mark but postpartum hair loss can continue during the first year.
And Healthline Pregnancy noted that postpartum hair loss can set in any day after you give birth and can continue up to a year, peaking at 4-months postpartum.
Is hair loss during postpartum temporary?
Yes it’s temporary. But I’ll go over ways to minimize it hair loss during postpartum and start growing new hair.
How common is postpartum hair loss?
As many as 90 percent of women will have a form of postpartum alopecia (special term for hair loss).
In other words, unless you’re a unicorn- you will most likely encounter this side effect of childbirth.
When will my hair grow back?
By 6 to 12 months, your hair loss should slow down to pre-pregnancy amounts.
Ways To Stop Postpartum Hair Loss And Promote New Growth
Okay for the real reason why you clicked on this blog post. Here’s everything I did to grow back my bald patches.
1. Drink lots of water
Our bodies are made up of 60% water. And us women need at least 9 cups of water daily.
Let me share a few magical things about drinking more water:
- It clears your skin
- You feel better mentally and physically
- It’s linked to weight loss
- And it helps promote hair growth
The more you hydrate, the more essential nutrients your body is getting. Which means your hair follicles get nourished and grow.
One of the easiest ways to drink more water is to get yourself a gallon water bottle that is easily accessible like this one (this is the one I personally have) or an easier one to carry around with you that tells you how much to drink. Learn other ways to increase your water intake here.
2. Get plenty of sleep
Your body regenerates when you sleep at night and that includes your hair follicles. You’ll also see your skin clearing up and improving just from getting extra sleep at night.
And getting adequate sleep will make you less likely to be tensed and stressed. I go more into how stress can affect hair growth below.
3. Eat nutritious foods
Eating meals high in nutrients is a lot like staying hydrated. Healthy foods promote hair growth and minimize hair loss. And there are actually certain foods that specifically affect your hair.
Some of the most important nutrients your hair feeds off of are omega-3 fatty acids, lean proteins, B-complex vitamins, and more. A few of the hair growth superfoods are eggs, berries, and spinach. Read The 14 Best Foods for Hair Growth for a more extensive list.
There’s also foods that you might want to consider taking out of your diet to grow your hair back from postpartum hair loss.
4. Take your vitamins
If you’re not a health nut and you don’t eat the most nutritious foods consistently, then vitamins and supplements are for you.
I took my prenatal vitamins daily before, during, and after pregnancy (recommended by my doctor because I was breastfeeding) which probably helped tremendously with my hair growth.
The holy grail hair growth supplement I’ve been taking religiously every morning is the collagen powder by Vital Proteins. Click here to get 15% off your purchase when you subscribe to them. I pour 2 scoops of the collagen powder into my morning coffee every morning.
5. Use A Hair Growth Serum
Disclaimer: Quick science lesson.
An enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase converts testosterone into DHT (DHT is fancy name for dihydrotestosterone).
You might be thinking, “wait, I thought only men had testosterone”. Women produce testosterone for many reasons like regulating our mood and supporting our reproductive tissue and bones.
ANYWAYS- the hormone DHT is responsible for hair loss in both men and women.
Well how does DHT cause hair loss?
When DHT binds with scalp follicles, it shrinks our hair follicles making it near impossible for healthy hair to survive.
That’s where hair serums come into play.
Because you can directly apply and massage the essential ingredients to your scalp to block this conversion from happening.
The good news is that I know a hair growth serum that specifically targets postpartum hair loss.
Say hello to Oh Hey Mama Hair Repair Serum which includes all of the essential oils that stimulate hair growth like peppermint, tea tree, rosemary, and lavender. And it smells amazing which is a huge plus.
And other important ingredients like stinging nettle and saw palmetto that help block 5-alpha-reductase (the thing that converts testosterone into DHT which ultimately shrinks your hair follicles).
I apply the serum on my scalp, especially around the temples where my hair loss was most prominent. And I massage the hair serum onto my scalp for about an hour a few times a week and then wash it off (and don’t forget to condition). You’ll notice baby hairs sprouting after a few weeks but will see volume almost immediately.
You can use my code “liftingmotherhood” to get 10% off your purchase.
6. Manage your hair the right way
Losing hair in the corners of your temples is the absolute worst. The reason you might be losing hair around your temples is due to how you’re wearing your hair.
It’s especially important during the first few months of postpartum (when your hair is weak and prone to damage), to take the necessary steps to reduce stress to your hair and scalp.
Stop wearing your hair up in a tight ponytail or bun. Even putting your hair back in a high, loose ponytail or bun, can put stress on those hair follicles.
Solution? Tie your hair up in a low, loose, ponytail, or bun for the time being. Wear a hat if you’re leaving the house to run some errands. And wear your hair nice and low with a silky scrunchy.
7. Check the ingredients in your shampoo
More recent studies have shown that shampooing or washing your hair daily does not directly affect hair loss and thinning.
However, what shampoo and conditioner you’re using does. Dr. Eric Schweiger of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC recommends over-the-counter hair loss shampoos with formulas with antioxidants such as vitamin E and ginseng, amino acids, and B-vitamins to help rebuild hair and reduce environmental damage.
She also cautions against using shampoos with parabens, sulfates, and fragrances, which can irritate hair and reduce moisture.
8. Don’t skip the conditioner
Always condition your hair after each wash. And I highly recommend using leave-in conditioners. The two leave-in conditioners I personally use and love are Pravana Nevo Intense leave-in conditioner and Shea Moisture leave-in conditioner.
9. Wrap your hair when you go to sleep
Wrapping your hair at night has so many benefits. One of the major benefits of wrapping your hair in silk is preventing hair breakage.
10. Get a fresh haircut
Okay, here’s the deal. Getting a trim or a haircut isn’t going to make your hair grow any faster.
But what getting regular trims will do for you is get rid of your dead ends and prevent your existing split ends to make their way up.
Getting a trim will also make your hair look appear healthier and thicker.
11. Reduce the amount of stress all together
Stress not only makes you gain weight, but it also makes your hair fall out.
Stress causes telogen effluvium. If you look at the hair growth cycle diagram above, the telogen phase is the resting phase (when hair follicles fall out).
Telogen effluvium is just a fancy term describing a condition where significant stress forces large numbers of hair follicles from the growing phase to the resting phase.
12. Massage your scalp
“Studies have shown that scalp massage can increase hair thickness by stretching the living hair follicle cells and stimulating them to produce thicker, individual hairs”, Jessica Wu Los Angeles–based dermatologist.
She even advised using a scalp massager tool for 5 minutes a day on wet or dry hair.
OhHeyMama Hair carries my favorite scalp massager. Hurry and grab yours before they sell out (or you’ll have to wait for them to restock). Don’t forget to use my link to get 10% off your purchase or use code “liftingmotherhood” at checkout.
Happy New Growth
Take these steps to minimize postpartum hair loss and see the new growth sprouting around your hairline. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, create a hair routine, condition your hair, and eat hair growth superfoods.