Has having a baby made you feel less than attractive? Have you noticed thinning hair and are wondering what’s going on?
The birth of a new baby is supposed to be a beautiful time. While it is in many ways, it can also wreak havoc on your body.
Women hear about the weight gain, the fluctuating hormones, and the sleepless nights. Getting dolled up in your fanciest clothes and working your most lengthy makeup routine is not on any new mom’s to-do list. However, keeping your self-esteem up can be hard as the weeks roll by.
This is especially true if you start experiencing postpartum hair loss. A luscious head of locks can quickly turn thin and before you know it, you’re more than just figuratively pulling out your hair.
What causes postpartum hair loss and what can you do about it? That is why we’re here! We’ll take a closer look at the science behind postpartum hair loss, the very best products to get you through it, and even a few styling tips to try in the meantime.
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What Is Postpartum Hair Loss?
Using this definition, postpartum hair loss is the term used to describe the loss of hair experienced in the weeks after giving birth (1).
Every mom is different and understanding when or even if postpartum hair loss will occur is completely up to your individual biological and hormone makeup.
In general, however, most new moms start to experience hair loss between three and six months after giving birth (2).
What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?
Take a deep breath! Postpartum hair loss is not generally an indicator of a problem or illness. It is simply your body changing as it returns to a normal, non-pregnant state.
As with many other things you experience during pregnancy, hormones are the key culprit to postpartum hair loss.
During pregnancy, you have extra high levels of estrogen. Estrogen prolongs the growth phase of your hair, which means your hair sheds at a much slower rate while helping your tresses stay thick and strong (3).
Once you give birth, your hormones begin to normalize to pre-pregnancy levels. Not only does this cause your hair to fall out at a more normal rate (about 100 hairs a day), but all of the extra hair on your head brought about from the estrogen starts falling out too.
What does this mean for you? Many women experience more consistent shedding and clumps of hair coming out at once. The good news is the hair changes should be temporary and not cause any major scalp problems (4).
Excessive Hair Loss After Pregnancy
Postpartum hair loss is a normal change for most new moms and your hair should go back to its normal thickness after a year (5). However, some women experience excessive hair loss that results in large bald spots that never seem to grow in.
If this describes you, you need to know there might be other underlying causes. Pregnant and postpartum ladies can be susceptible to:
- Vitamin and nutrient deficiencies: Your body needs vitamins and nutrients to keep your hair healthy and strong. Without them, hair can become brittle and thin (6).
- Postpartum anemia: Postpartum anemia occurs when new moms do not have enough iron in their blood, from a poor diet or excessive blood loss during labor. Doctors don’t know much about why it happens, but some with iron-deficient anemia experience hair loss (7).
- Postpartum thyroiditis: This disease occurs when your thyroid becomes inflamed after giving birth leading to hormonal imbalance and problematic manifestations, including fatigue and weakness (8). Hair loss is one of the symptoms of postpartum thyroiditis.
Never hesitate to contact your doctor if you feel your hair loss is excessive. Even if nothing is wrong, they can give you some peace of mind and offer advice on how to promote overall health after pregnancy.
The Best Postpartum Hair Loss Products of 2020
What can be done about postpartum hair loss? A lot. Try one or all of these five awesome products designed specifically for new moms with hair loss problems.
1. Lavender Cypress Hair Loss Oil
Shampoos and conditioners get washed right out. Oil is a great option to leave in and give your hair a bit of luxurious help. We suggest looking for an oil rich in essential oils to soothe and comfort you.
If you are stressed out, this soothing hair loss oil may be a good way to help your hair while winding down at the same time. It is made from botanical oils formulated to stimulate hair growth, including lavender and cypress wood.
This oil should be applied for at least twenty minutes before you wash your hair. Just place a few drops along the part in your hair and massage into your scalp. After twenty minutes have passed, shampoo and style your hair as normal.
Use this oil two to three times a week for a special treat. We like it because it is easy to incorporate into your routine and will help you relax. Stimulating your scalp through massage has also shown to help hair growth (9).
2. Boar Bristle Hair Brush
Most moms notice their hair loss when they are getting ready. All you have to do is look down at your brush and see the large clumps. Did you know your hairbrush can impact the health of your hair?
We love boar bristle hair brushes. Boar bristles benefit hair by helping to distribute your hair’s natural oils. When the oil is throughout your hair, and not stuck at your scalp, each hair strand is nourished.
This brush features 100 percent boar bristles with nylon tips, along with an ergonomically designed bamboo handle. Every time you use this brush, your hair will become smooth and shiny without the fear of pulling out your hair.
One thing we love about this brush is that it works with all hair types. Moms around the world are so different and we believe it is great when a product can work for all of them.
3. John Frieda Luxurious Volume Conditioner
Conditioners provide much needed moisture, but they can weigh thinning hair down if you aren’t careful. When looking for a conditioner during a time of hair loss, you will want to keep an eye out for volumizing formulas specifically for thin hair.
Lift up those sad locks with this special conditioner from the experts at John Frieda. You get the nourishment your hair needs without the excess weight. We especially like that caffeine is one of the ingredients, as it has been shown to improve hair growth.
This conditioner can increase volume up to 40 percent, making it a good option for moms looking to boost their self-esteem instantly. Because of the lightweight formula, you can use this conditioner whenever you wash your hair.
4. Ultrax Labs Hair Surge
Shampoo is always at the frontlines in the war against unhealthy hair. When it comes to postpartum hair loss, a good shampoo can make all the difference. You want to look for something enriched with vitamins to revitalize your hair as it goes through so many changes.
The ingredients in Ultrax Labs Hair Surge shampoo have been specifically formulated to prevent and reverse hair loss. One reason we are impressed by this shampoo is the clinical backing for the ingredients used.
At the forefront is caffeine, which has been shown to stimulate hair growth, elongate hair shafts, and prolongs your hair active growth stage when topically applied. This shampoo also has saw palmetto and ketoconazole.
To use this shampoo, gently massage and lather into scalp and let sit for 2 to 5 minutes before rinsing. For optimal results, use multiple times a week. Each bottle contains 8 ounces of shampoo.
5. KeraHealth Women
Vitamins play an important role in keeping your hair healthy and strong. When facing postpartum hair loss, you want to look for a multivitamin that contains a number of beneficial ingredients. After all, as a busy new mom, you don’t want to worry about taking numerous pills each day.
This multivitamin supplement uses clinically tested, naturally sourced ingredients, including keratin, biotin, and multiple forms of vitamin B.
Keratin strengthens your hair’s cortex (10). Biotin still needs more studies, but it has been found to improve thinning hair (11). B-vitamins improve the transportation system inside your body, ensuring your scalp gets the oxygen and nutrients it needs (12).
Take KeraHealth Women two times a day with a meal. Each bottle comes with 80 capsules.
This vitamin is a good choice because the vitamins are safe and free of all drugs. This means moms who breastfeed don’t have to worry about what is getting into their breast milk.
5 Beauty Tips for Thinning Hair
Regaining your healthy hair doesn’t happen overnight. However, months of thinning and breakage can really hurt a new mom’s self-esteem.
Here are five quick beauty tips to help you put a smile on your face and enjoy your hair while your body gets back to normal.
- Get a shorter haircut: Shorter cuts can help your hair look full and thick. Depending on your hair type, layers can also add energy and bounce.
- Be careful with ponytails: Pulling back your hair is a staple for busy moms, but it can be damaging to your locks. Try a relaxed braid down your back instead.
- Avoid heat: Give your hair a much-needed break from styling tools. Heat can further damage hair and lead to breakage.
- Use makeup: If thinning hair is exposing your scalp, consider adding a bit of powder makeup to those areas to help fill it in. Brow liners and eyeshadow are two popular options.
- Add some texture: Consider using foam curlers or a salt spray to add some texture and curl to your hair. This will add volume and fullness so any thin spots on your scalp won’t be as noticeable.
I like to add some relaxed waves with a curling iron to my hair. It takes just a minute or two and adds tons of volume if you pair it with a salt or texture spray!
Editor's Note:Mary Sweeney, BSN, RN, CEN
Your hair is as unique as you are! If you have some time, visit a local stylist and discuss your concerns. They can give you some expert advice on how to style your hair while you experience postpartum hair loss.
Experiences With Postpartum Hair Loss
Postpartum hair loss can be scary, but it is a common condition that affects many women. Caused by hormonal changes, your experience with postpartum hair loss should be temporary. A few adjustments to your diet and hair care routines can help get you back on the right track as your hormones stabilize and your body recovers from giving birth.
However, that doesn’t lessen the embarrassment many women feel and we hope some of the tips we’ve mentioned help you feel better about yourself and your journey in motherhood.
Have you experienced postpartum hair loss? We would love to know more about how you took care of your hair and what it was like for you.