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Postpartum Hair Loss: Explanation and Treatment Options

Giving birth to your little one is a beautiful time, but moms know just how much pregnancy and childbirth affect the body. From head to toe, postpartum is a time of change, with some things bouncing back and others not.

Women can see changes in their hair before and after childbirth. Most of the changes are due to the rising and then leveling out of hormones. Read on for more about postpartum hair loss and several treatment options!

What is Postpartum Hair Loss?

First thing first, remember that postpartum hair loss is entirely normal. So, what causes hair loss? Hormones!

During pregnancy, hormones are soaring, leading to ongoing growth, creating thick, radiant hair. Postpartum, your hormones will level out for the months following childbirth, causing hair loss.

Hormones are to blame for hair loss and hair growth, and no, it’s not preventable. The truth is, the hair loss new moms experience isn’t “true” hair loss. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, excessive hair shedding is due to decreased estrogen levels postpartum and doesn’t require treatment. 

You can expect postpartum hair loss (or shedding) to last around three months. About 6 to 12 months postpartum, you should notice your hair going back to your normal, pre-baby hair!

What You Can Do for Postpartum Hair Loss

As mentioned, postpartum hair loss is natural and doesn’t require treatment. Although, there are tips and recommendations to help you feel better about your hair and support hair health in the meantime. 

Opt for a lightweight shampoo and conditioner containing caffeine, zinc, biotin, and pyrithione zinc ingredients. Dermatologists also recommend following these tips to make the most of the hair you have postpartum while it is getting back to normal:

  • Using volumizing shampoo
  • Avoid conditioning shampoo
  • Use conditioner for fine hair
  • Use conditioner on the ends of your hair
  • Avoid conditioners labeled intensive conditioners

Additional recommendations include: Being gentle with your hair to avoid unnecessary hair loss, skip blow-dryers, and talk to your practitioner for further suggestions. 

While hair loss isn’t preventable and will naturally correct itself in time, there are ways to promote hair growth and avoid prolonging the growth process.

According to Dr. Shani Francis, dermatologist and wellness officer of Ashira Dermatology, diet plays a significant role. She says, “Proteins are used to build tissue cells, including the cells of your hair, skin, and nails. 85% of your hair is composed of a protein called keratin. Dietary proteins are your hairs’ building blocks - They make your hair strong and help keep it in its growing phase.”

Dr. Francis recommends getting the following nutrients in your diet, or if necessary, supplements:

  • L-Lysine: Found in red meat, chicken, beans, cottage cheese
  • B-12: Found in milk, eggs, fish.
  • Vitamin D: Found in milk, sardines, and egg yolks.

Vitamins for postpartum hair loss can fill in the gaps you may have in your diet or deficiencies postpartum. Also, studies of Nutrafol Women Hair Supplement have found links between the product and improved hair growth and thickness. Another research-backed recommendation is Women’s Rogaine, which is an FDA-approved treatment. 


A Temporary Goodbye to Your Hair

Hair loss is an unwelcome side effect of postpartum but isn’t a long-term concern. Thankfully, the body is working for you, and soon after childbirth, you can see many things bouncing back to your usual. You won’t be grieving your hair, just your pregnancy hair!