- Is hair loss normal after delivery?
- What causes hair loss post delivery?
- How can you prevent hair fall after pregnancy?
- What are the home remedies for hair fall?
During pregnancy, your hair might be full and lustrous. It is all due to the hormones, and the diet and prenatal vitamins you took throughout. However, this hair growth may not last for long after delivery. Your hair might start falling a few months after delivery.
Is Hair Loss Normal After Delivery?
Yes. Postpartum hair loss occurs two to four months after delivery. This can continue up to 24 weeks, but it is rare to prolong beyond 15 months (1).This condition is called telogen effluvium or postpartum alopecia.
It causes the hair to thin, more prominently on the top of the scalp than on the sides and the back (2).
What Causes Hair Loss Post Delivery?
A hair growth cycle comprises two phases, namely anagen (growth phase) and telogen (resting phase). Around 90% of hair grows at any given time while about 10% remains in the resting phase and eventually falls (3). An individual loses around 100 strands of hair every day.
During pregnancy, a spike in the estrogen level extends the growing phase and halts the resting phase. This means lesser hair in the resting phase and lesser shedding of hair. This, in turn, makes the hair look fuller and lustrous.
After delivery, the estrogen level comes back to normal, causing more hair follicles to enter the telogen/resting phase. This leads to excessive hair fall post delivery. This condition is short-term, and you may regain your normal hair growth after six to 12 months after pregnancy.
Losing tresses can dishearten you, but do not worry as there is a way out.
[ Read: Postpartum Infections Types ]
Effective Ways To Prevent Hair Loss After Delivery
According to the American Association of Dermatologists, here are a few tips you can follow to regain the normal hair growth after pregnancy (4).
- Use volumizing shampoos. They contain protein, which coats the hair follicles making the hair appear thick and dense.
- Select a conditioner for fine hair. Such conditioners are specially formulated for fine hair as they do not weigh down the hair (make the hair lose its volume and look limp).
- Apply the conditioner properly. The conditioner should be applied at the end of the hair and not on the scalp. Conditioner, when applied on the scalp, will tend to weigh down the hair.
- Avoid using conditioning shampoos. Check the label on the shampoo because a conditioning shampoo contains heavy conditioner that can weigh down the hair.
- Do not use intensive conditioners. These are heavy conditioners and hence should be avoided.
- If you want to keep a long hair, get layers cut done to have a fuller look; alternatively, short hair looks denser and is easy to manage.
- Use hair mousse and moisturizer. A volumizing hair mousse will give a denser look to your hair. A moisturizing shampoo can maintain the moistness of hair without letting them dry out.
- Hair ornaments like hair bands, bandanas, and scarves make your tresses look stylish.
- Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle the hair gently without causing any damage.
- Stay away from heating or other hair treatments, and do not use blow dryers as they can aggravate the hair fall.
- Avoid hot water for washing your hair, and do not use tight clips and tight braids as they can lead to hair breakage.
- Use a mild shampoo to clean your hair.
In addition to the shampoos and conditioners, and the above tips, you may follow some natural home remedies to increase your hair volume.
[ Read: Post Pregnancy Diet ]
Home Remedies To Support Hair Growth
Here are a few home remedies that can help promote healthy hair growth:
- Address nutrient deficiency: Apart from low estrogen level, another reason for hair fall could be lack of sufficient nutrients in your body. A low level of zinc, iron, niacin, essential fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin D can lead to hair fall (5).
Take nutrient supplements after consulting your doctor. Also, eat foods rich in vitamins C and B complex, iron and zinc, such as peas, legumes, oranges, green leafy vegetables, yeast, curd, sprouts, buttermilk, whole grains, nuts, and soya.
- Fenugreek seeds: They promote healthy hair growth and prevent hair loss (6). They also strengthen and soften the hair. Soak the fenugreek seeds in water and leave it overnight. On the next day, strain the water, paste the seeds and apply it to the scalp and hair tips leaving it to dry for 30 minutes. Use the strained water to rinse your hair and then wash with normal water. Do this twice a week.
- Egg white: A hair pack of egg white, honey (1tbsp) and olive oil (1tbsp) can promote hair growth. After applying this pack, leave it on your hair for 30 minutes and rinse it off with lukewarm water. Honey helps in conditioning the hair, egg promotes new hair growth, and olive oil adds strength and shine to the hair.
- Curd: It is an excellent natural conditioner and can prevent hair fall. It helps improve the quality of hair. Apply curd on the scalp and leave it for 10 minutes. Having yogurt in your diet will also help you reap its benefits.
- Indian gooseberry: Amla has been known for its hair-nourishing properties for centuries. You may include it in your diet or use for head massage. For massage, boil the berries in coconut or almond oil till they turn dark and use the oil.
- Massage: An increased blood circulation in the scalp can promote hair growth. For this, you just need to massage your scalp for 5-10 minutes with oil (coconut, almond, etc.). Massaging with medicated oils such as mahabhringraj or rosemary gives better results. Rosemary oil facilitates proper oxygen supply to the hair follicles.
- Flax seeds and dry fruits: Including these foods in your regular diet can help the growth of healthy hair. Flax seeds and dry fruits are a rich source of omega-3 fats.
- False daisy (bhringraj): This herb is known for its wonderful hair benefits. It can promote the growth of hair and restore its natural color. Make a paste of fresh leaves of bhringraj and apply it on the scalp.
- Castor oil: It is rich in omega-9 fatty acids (ricinoleic acid) that help promote hair growth, prevent hair loss and act as a moisturizer. Mix it with warm almond or coconut oil and gently massage this mixture on your scalp.
- He shou wu: The Chinese herb is rich in zinc and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Consumption of this herb reduces hair fall and prevents greying of the hair.
- Yeast hair mask: Beer is considered good for hair as it has yeast that reduces postpartum hair fall. This yeast contains folic acid, biotin, and riboflavin, which enhance hair growth. Moreover, it gives strength and adds shine to the hair.
- Biotin supplement: Biotin, also called vitamin H, helps in the synthesis of hair protein called keratin (7). Lack of this vitamin can lead to hair loss and breakage. Using a B-complex vitamin supplement or shampoo or conditioner enriched with biotin can help in reducing hair fall.
- Aloe vera: It is rich in vitamins and minerals that promote hair growth. It also increases blood circulation in the scalp to promote the growth of healthy hair follicles, maintains pH balance, and moisturizes the scalp. Apply aloe vera gel to your scalp and leave it for half an hour before washing it. Do it thrice a week.
Follow these remedies regularly, and your hair loss problem would be resolved eventually.
If hair loss is raising several questions in you, then read on as we answer some common queries.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Does breastfeeding cause postpartum hair loss?
Postpartum hair loss is a result of a change in the hormonal levels and may not be related to breastfeeding (8).
2. Can hair loss worsen with subsequent pregnancies?
Postpartum hair loss, also called as telogen effluvium, is normal and temporary after pregnancy. However, if you have anagen effluvium, wherein the growth phase of hair follicles is hindered, then the condition may worsen in the subsequent pregnancies.
3. What is hair tourniquet?
If you have a long hair, then a strand that falls out can get wrapped around your baby’s fingers, wrists, ankles, toes, or penis. This hair-wrap is called hair tourniquet, which could be painful for the baby. It can get wrapped up so tightly that it may restrict blood flow in that area and cause infection.
If you ever see such a strand wrapped around any part of your baby’s body, then try to gently unwind the hair or cut it carefully using a scissors. If the strand is tightly wound then seek medical attention immediately.
After delivery, it will take some time for the body to get back to normalcy. During this period, the hormonal fluctuations can bring several changes in the body, including hair. If severe hair fall persists months after your delivery, then visit a dermatologist. But, mostly, hair loss after delivery is a short-term worry.
Do you have any remedies for hair loss after pregnancy? Let us know in the comments section.