Post Partum Hair Loss
Posted by Krystal Duhaney, RN, BSN, IBCLC on Feb 28th 2023
Our bodies go through a lot of changes throughout pregnancy and childbirth, and postpartum is no different. Although postpartum body changes are not talked about as often as the obvious body changes during pregnancy. One common body change you’ve asked about is postpartum hair loss.
What Is Happening To My Hair?
This hair loss might come as a shock because most mothers notice the hair loss at four or five months postpartum, often after other postpartum symptoms have come and gone. However, postpartum hair loss is normal. And actually, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) it is not actually hair loss, but is a condition referred to as “excessive hair shedding”.
So, no real hair loss issue, this is good news! “This excessive hair shedding is caused by falling estrogen levels.”(AADA). The excessive shedding is only temporary, and your normal fullness should return by your baby’s first birthday, if not sooner.
Hair Tips from Dermatologists!
While you really do not need to do anything special to treat your excessive hair shedding, the AADA does have a few tips to help you during the excessive shred season and moving into the new, postpartum hair growth cycle.
Use shampoo and conditioner that add volume. Here’s 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 (ADAA).
Other tips to think about are:
- Trying out a new hair style! Maybe a bob or a shorter cut will help your hair look fuller, also less hair for baby to yank on!
- Be gentle while brushing your hair
- Use less heat (try air drying, and no hot irons)
- Avoid tight hairstyles
- Eat well and continue taking your prenatal vitamins to ensure you are getting all of your nutrients!
When to be Concerned
If your normal hair fullness and growth does not return after a year, you might want to see a dermatologist as there might be another reason for your hair loss.
Be aware of your loose strands of hair. Rarely, but enough to mention, a strand of hair can wrap around your baby’s toe or finger, causing what’s called a hair tourniquet. This hair tourniquet can cut off blood circulation. Remove by gently unwinding or carefully cutting the hair off with scissors. Just remember to check those precious fingers and toes, especially before naps and bedtime.
Do you have any other tips or tricks to help other women who are experiencing postpartum hair shedding? We would love to hear from you! Please share with us in our Facebook Page,The Official Milky mama Lactation Support Group.
We hope you found this article helpful. We are here to offer advice and encouragement. As always, you've got this, Mama!
AADA: American Academy of Dermatology Association.