Managing Hair Fall, Postpartum
Why does hair fall feel like a taboo subject?
During my pregnancy, I was in awe of my shiny locks and I received so many compliments on how lovely my hair was looking. However, fast forward some six months postpartum and I seem to be shredding so much hair every day. I spoke to a friend about it to ask if she thought this was normal too. She agreed that her hair was almost coming out in clumps after she had her third baby. Hair loss can really affect a woman’s confidence, which is so important after baby; so, why is this not really talked about?
What is postpartum hair loss?
During pregnancy, a woman’s Estrogen and progesterone levels soar, particularly from the second trimester. Estrogen, in particular, has a powerful effect on the body, including the skin and sebaceous glands, and also on the underlying growth pattern of hair. This is why in the early months of pregnancy, despite morning sickness and other symptoms, our skin and hair are often looking glowing and hydrated. However, we should brace ourselves for some excess hair shredding after baby is born.
A Natural Part of the Process
The good news is that this is a temporary phase and from reading quite a few reputable articles online, I am reassuringly advised that this is a natural part of the process. As part of that process, eventually, your hair shredding will go back to some kind of normal.
“During pregnancy there are lots of hormonal shifts happening and one thing that those hormonal shifts do is promote hair growth," says dermatologist Sejal Shah, M.D. "They’re actually preventing you from shedding—you shed every day, everyone sheds every day, but if you really pay attention, typically during pregnancy you don’t have that daily shedding. After pregnancy, once your hormones go back to normal, there’s a drop in Estrogen. What that does is it sort of triggers that shedding to resume. But keep in mind: You’ve not been shedding for several months at this time. That hair that's been sticking to your head needs to come out.
If, like me, you feel like your hair is falling out every minute of the day, the advice is not to worry. Apparently, the time for this to recover will vary but it can take three to six months to settle down. However, I am now almost six months postpartum and there are no signs of hair loss slowing down when I’m in the shower or simply brushing my hair. Some say this part of the process can take up to a year (probably me!).
Many of us start losing our hair around three months after birth, which is why, I think, it can come as a shock to many women as it is not immediately after baby has arrived. According to research from the University of Hertfordshire, new mothers are said to shed around 400 hairs a day.
Apparently, there is not much we can do to stop it, but many experts do recommend a good, healthy diet with plenty of greens and where you can, invest in good quality haircare products. I personally use either Kérastase or Shu Uemura products. Here are a couple of my favourites which I love and have added into my weekly routine.
Getting Expert Advice
I spoke to salon owner, Lorenzo Colangelo of The Gallery Hair and Beauty to get his expert opinion on this topic. "Having seen many pregnant and new mothers cross our threshold at The Gallery. We are very familiar with the subject of post natal hair loss.Hair loss following child birth, usually occurs once you stop breast feeding. It can be quite alarming, although perfectly natural.Using a shampoo and conditioner throughout pregnancy and following childbirth, that helps prevent hair fall can be a good solution though not a guaranteed remedy."
Lorenzo continued to say that he recommended the following; "the Genesis range from Kérastase is a great range that uses a unique blend of ginger root and Edelweiss native cells to fortify hair and scalp to prevent hair breakage and natural hair loss.It is also very important to look at nutrition and we recommend viviscal professional for thinning hair, skin and nails. Treating your wellbeing inside and out is definitely the right way to go and my best advice."
Introducing the Genesis Reange from Kérastase
Kérastase's first hair and scalp serum to reveal hair that feels thicker, looks shinier and is more resistant to breakage. With Initialiste, Kérastase say that hair can be more resistant with up to 93% less breakage*. (*Breakage to brushing. Instrumental test: classic shampoo and Initialiste vs. classic shampoo alone.)
And finally...Give yourself a Head Massage
Whichever shampoo, conditioner or conditioning treatment you decide to use, one final piece of advice is to gently massage your shampoo or conditioner into the hair to boost blood flow and feed the roots. Using a kneading motion on your scalp for two to three minutes. If you close your eyes, you can pretend you are at a local hair salon, or The Gallery in my case. That works for me!
While some hair changes are inevitable for many women, some hair professionals say that serums which include botanicals (such as glycyrrhizin from licorice root) can help to prevent excess hair fall.
Additionally, haircare with blends of botanicals such as Japanese rose hips can potentially improve the hair growth cycle and boost new growth.
Whatever the case, postpartum hair loss is common and by talking about it more, hopefully we can find ways to support healthy hair regrowth. Most importantly, I’ll try to stop worrying about my hair and get on with cuddling my beautiful baby!