You know that beautiful, shiny, luscious hair you get during pregnancy? Well, it’s all down the drain now; literally. At around 4.5 months postpartum my once average-thick hair began falling out by the handful. In the shower, in bed, at the gym, at my desk, in my son’s diaper – you name it! HAIR EVERYWHERE (maybe even my husbands butt crack). Just another one of the wonderful things we can thank postpartum hormones for!
From what I recall, I did not lose much after my pregnancy with the twins; so when I fell pregnant with Hank my hair seemed thicker than ever and boy did I love it (having always had fine hair, this was a big bonus in my book). When it started falling out recently I felt very self-conscious…I may have even cried a few times. I mean, I already have leaky boobs, a C-section pooch/scar, bags under my eyes and night sweats – now I’m going to go bald? How is that fair? Add to that my postpartum anxiety and my hair started falling out even faster!
Now, to be fair, I don’t really have any real bald spots, but my hairdresser said she can definitely tell it’s thinning around the scalp – which is apparently very normal. However, the fact that it is “normal” didn’t keep me from Dr. Googling the crap out of it. Apparently, increased levels of estrogen during pregnancy freezes your hair into the growth/resting phase of the hair growth cycle. Hair that would have usually fallen out, does not, so your hair becomes thicker. Once you give birth and your estrogen levels drastically decline, the hair that didn’t fall out during pregnancy starts to fall out, on top of the normal amount of hair you are now back to shedding! It commonly starts at around three or four months postpartum (apparently there is even something called the “four month dump”) and ends around six months; although some can experience it for about year.
Basically, the hair loss is inevitable and there is nothing you can really do to really stop it. But, being the woman that I am, i couldn’t just sit back and do nothing. So I consulted my friends in the hair styling and medical fields and gathered some helpful advice. Below is a list of tips and tricks that will hopefully help slow your postpartum hair loss before you clog your shower drain like me.
- Take a multi-vitamin – I suggest continuing your prenatal vitamins, especially if you’re nursing.
- Take a Hair Skin & Nails supplement like Biotin.
- Try not to wash your hair every day. Wet hair is easier to damage.
- Get a fresh cut, or a low maintenance cut. Even ends will help your hair feel thicker and the less you have to heat style, the better.
- Use a fine tooth comb – this makes it easier to comb through tangles.
- Speaking of tangles – grab your kids’ detangler and spray it on!
- Use a sulfate free shampoo.
- Use a shampoo for thinning hair like Nioxin. I just started the Nioxin System 2 treatment kit two weeks ago and can already tell a difference! A special thanks to the best hair stylist I know, Melissa Gill (most of these hair tips are from her)!
- Avoid pulling your hair back tightly. If you need to put your hair up because you are frequenting the gym again like me, use a scrunchie! Word on the street is they are back in style, so you will look cool doing it.
- Try essential oils. My best friend (a fellow mama and physician assistant) Ashley Jones sent me a few concoctions she thinks will help. She created a scalp spray that contains a blend of essential oils (rosemary, lavender and cedarwood) and witch hazel. These ingredients were specifically chosen because they decrease scalp inflammation and increase circulation, two things that are ideal for promoting new, healthy hair growth. The second item she made me is a lash growth serum, that can be used on eyebrows and fine baby hairs. It contains a similar blend of essential oils but has the added benefits of organic Jamaican black castor oil. This oil is antifungal, anti-bacterial and has ricinoleic acid that increases circulation. Not only that but castor oil makes hair appear darker, thicker and it’s omega fatty acids nourish your hair!
- Get your thyroid and iron levels checked. Giving birth can throw these numbers out of whack!
- De-stress. Take time for yourself whether it be a nap, massages, bubble baths, workouts, a new book, etc. Do your best to make this a regular thing!!
- Don’t overdo it with dry shampoo. Clean, unclogged hair follicles grow best when there is no sebum and debris to clog them up!
- If all else fails, wait it out. In most cases of postpartum hair loss, the effects are temporary. Eventually it will start growing back and you will have super flattering, wispy baby hairs to fill in that thinning.
Good luck and may the hair Gods be in your favor!