Solutions for Postnatal Hair Loss

(6 minute read)

Solutions for Postnatal Hair Loss

It is, unfortunately, entirely normal to experience increased hair shedding in the first few months after childbirth. In medical terminology, this is known as "postpartum telogen effluvium." Under normal circumstances, most of your hair (85-95% of it) is in the active growth phase, while the rest (5-15%) is in a resting stage. After the resting period, these hairs naturally fall out, usually during activities like brushing or shampooing. On average, a person loses 50 to 100 hairs each day.

During pregnancy, however, elevated oestrogen levels extend the growth phase of hair, resulting in fewer hairs in the resting stage and less daily shedding. So, that "pregnancy glow" also extends to your hair, with many women enjoying thicker and fuller hair during pregnancy.

But oestrogen levels drop once your baby has been born, leading to more hair follicles entering the resting stage. Consequently, hair starts to shed around three to five months after giving birth, resulting in increased hair loss. The extent of hair loss can vary, but it is often more noticeable in women with longer hair.

If you feel that your hair loss is excessive, it's advisable to consult your doctor. Excessive hair loss can sometimes be a sign of treatable conditions such as anaemia or postpartum thyroiditis.

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How Long Does Postnatal Hair Loss Last?

Typically, postnatal hair loss lasts for about three months and then gradually slows down. You can expect to see noticeable improvement by your baby's first birthday. By around 15 months, your hair should have grown back. However, your hair might not be as thick as it was before or during pregnancy.

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Managing Postpartum Hair Loss

While you can't prevent postnatal hair loss entirely, there are several strategies to make the most of your hair during this period:

  1. Use Volumising Shampoo: Choose volumising shampoos containing ingredients like protein, which can coat the hair and add fullness.
  2. Avoid Conditioning Shampoos: Stay away from conditioning shampoos with heavy ingredients that may weigh down your hair.
  3. Steer Clear of Intensive Conditioners: These products can also contain heavy ingredients that pull the hair down.
  4. Choose a Light Conditioner: Use a conditioner designed for fine hair with lighter ingredients that won't weigh down your locks.
  5. Experiment with Hairstyles: Try different hairstyles that can help conceal thinner sections of hair. Be cautious to avoid styles that exert excessive tension on the scalp, such as tight ponytails.
  6. Consider a Shorter Haircut: If you find it challenging to manage long hair with a new baby, a shorter, low-maintenance style may be a practical choice.
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Maintaining Overall Hair Health

There are other things you can do to support the overall health of your hair, for example:

  • Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet: A well-balanced diet with essential vitamins and nutrients can contribute to healthier hair. Research suggests that deficiencies in certain vitamins and nutrients may contribute to hair loss, for example; biotin, selenium and vitamin E.
  • Be Gentle with Your Hair: Avoid excessive heat from blow dryers and hair straighteners, as well as chemical treatments like hair dyes. Additionally, choose hairstyles that minimise tension on your scalp and avoid aggressive brushing or combing.
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When to Seek Professional Help

If you continue to experience significant hair loss for six months or longer, it's advisable to consult a doctor or dermatologist. Chronic hair loss could be a sign of underlying issues such as protein or nutrient deficiencies or thyroid disorders.

Postnatal hair loss is a common and temporary occurrence for new mothers. Understanding why it happens and how long it lasts can help ease concerns. While you can't prevent it entirely, you can take steps to manage and support the health of your hair during this period.

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