A new baby brings all sorts of changes with it, and one of those changes can be postpartum hair loss. While it can feel stressful, it’s something that’s actually really common for many new mothers.
If you’re worried about postpartum hair loss or you feel like it’s affecting your confidence, whether you’re experiencing it or trying to avoid it, here’s everything you need to know about how pregnancy can affect your hair.
What is postpartum hair loss?
Postpartum hair loss, also known as postpartum alopecia, is a temporary condition that lots of women experience after giving birth. You might notice your hair looks or feels thinner, or that you’re shedding more hair than usual. While it can be upsetting, it’s a normal part of the post-pregnancy process and usually returns within a year as your hormones stabilise.
What does postpartum hair loss look like?
Postpartum hair loss can be different from person to person. If you’re worried about your hair loss, health or symptoms then it’s always best to speak to your health visitor or doctor to be on the safe side. However, there are some common signs that might mean you’re experiencing postpartum hair loss:
●Increased hair shedding - the most noticeable sign of postpartum hair loss is an increase in hair shedding. You might find more hair in your hairbrush, on your pillow, or in the shower drain. This shedding can be more severe than your usual hair fall.
●Receding hairline - some women may experience hairline recession, especially along the temples. This can make your forehead look bigger, and it’s more common in women who have a genetic predisposition to receding hairlines.
●Widening part - you might notice that the parting in your hair appears wider than before due to the decreased hair density.
●Hair clumps - postpartum hair loss can present as clumps or patches of hair that come out together. These patches can be especially noticeable in the shower or while brushing or styling your hair.
●Baby hairs - as new hair starts to grow, you might notice the appearance of shorter, fine baby hairs around your hairline and part. These are often new hair growth replacing the lost hair (and that’s a good thing).
●Increased scalp visibility - with the overall decrease in hair volume, you might notice that your scalp becomes more visible through your hair, particularly in areas where there’s more hair loss.
It's important to understand that postpartum hair loss is typically a temporary condition and is part of the natural hormonal changes that occur after childbirth. For most women, their hair goes back to normal density a year after giving birth.
Hair loss after pregnancy
Let’s take a closer look at how pregnancy and birth can affect your hair in a bit more detail. Understanding this can help you to understand what’s happening to your hair, health and body on your journey into motherhood.
During pregnancy, many women experience hair that looks fuller and thicker. This can be attributed to increased levels of hormones, especially oestrogen, which promotes hair growth and reduces hair shedding. As a result, expectant mothers often enjoy thicker, lustrous locks.
However, this hair transformation isn't permanent. After childbirth, hormonal changes occur as your body readjusts, which can have a significant impact on your hair. As we’ve mentioned, during pregnancy, higher oestrogen levels keep your hair in the growth phase for longer, leading to reduced shedding and thicker hair. After giving birth, oestrogen levels drop dramatically, causing a shift in your hair growth cycle.
Postpartum hair loss is mainly caused by telogen effluvium, a temporary hair shedding condition. Telogen effluvium occurs when a significant number of hair follicles enter the resting phase, causing increased hair loss.
Postpartum hair loss often catches new mothers by surprise, as it doesn't necessarily happen straight away, it normally begins 3-4 months after giving birth, though this can vary.
How long does postpartum hair loss last?
How long postpartum hair loss goes on for does depend on the individual. While the shedding typically peaks around 3-4 months, it usually gradually decreases from there. Many women experience the most significant hair loss around three to four months postpartum.
Hair loss decreases over the following few months. Around the one-year mark, your hair should return to its pre-pregnancy state. Myths about postpartum hair loss
There are lots of myths around postpartum hair loss, and they can make a situation you’re already worried about worse. It’s important to understand the truth, so here’s some of the most common myths we’ve heard and what the actual truth is:
1. Myth: Postpartum hair loss is permanent.
Fact: Postpartum hair loss is temporary and typically resolves within a year. It's a normal response to hormonal changes, and your hair should gradually return to its pre-pregnancy state. If it doesn’t, it’s time to seek medical advice so you can get some support.
2. Myth: There's nothing you can do to prevent or treat postpartum hair loss.
Fact: While you can't completely prevent postpartum hair loss, there are some things you can do to minimise its impact and promote healthy hair regrowth. Maintaining a balanced diet, managing stress, and adopting a gentle haircare routine can make a difference.
3. Myth: Only women with a family history of hair loss will experience postpartum hair loss.
Fact: Postpartum hair loss can affect any woman, regardless of her family history of hair loss. It's mainly triggered by hormonal changes during and after pregnancy rather than hereditary or genetic reasons.
4. Myth: Cutting your hair short will prevent postpartum hair loss.
Fact: Cutting your hair won't prevent postpartum hair loss, but it might make the shedding less noticeable. You can choose a shorter hairstyle if it's more manageable during this phase, but it won't influence the rate of hair loss.
5. Myth: Postpartum hair loss only affects the scalp.
Fact: While the scalp is the most commonly affected area, postpartum hair loss can also impact other body hair, such as eyelashes and eyebrows. The extent of hair loss may vary from person to person.
6. Myth: Hair loss is a sign of a more serious health problem.
Fact: Postpartum hair loss is generally a natural response to hormonal changes and isn’t necessarily related to anything underlying. However, if you have concerns or the hair loss is excessive and prolonged, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional or dermatologist.
Understanding the facts about postpartum hair loss can help you to navigate this phase with greater confidence and ease. It’s important to remember that it’s temporary and that there are steps you can take to manage it.
How to deal with postpartum hair loss
While it’s sometimes easier said than done when it comes to welcoming a new baby into your life, one of the best things you can do for postpartum hair loss is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. That means enjoying a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep and managing your stress levels.
Taking care of your hair is really important. You should try and be gentle with your hair, trying not to pull or brush it too harshly, and wear it in a loose style, to reduce tension on your hair and scalp too.
Your haircare routine’s also really important when it comes to postpartum hair loss. This means using gentle, sulphate-free products, ingredients that support healthy hair and making sure that your scalp’s in great condition. This can help to reduce excessive hair fall and contributes towards healthy hair growth.
Haircare routine for postpartum hair loss
Gently massaging your scalp can help to increase blood flow, which can support hair growth and the natural balance of your hair and scalp. To support a healthy scalp even further, you can use a gentle scalp scrub like the Purify:Scalp Cleanse to exfoliate product build-up, dead skin cells and revitalise your scalp and hair.
Apply onto hair and scalp before shampooing, gently massage to ensure even application of the product all over the scalp. Then rinse. It’s not needed daily for postpartum hair loss, but using it every few months can help remove build up and cleanse your scalp.Apply onto hair and scalp before shampooing, gently massage to ensure even application of the product all over the scalp. Then rinse. It’s not needed daily for postpartum hair loss, but using it every few months can help remove build up and cleanse your scalp
Using a gentle, sulphate-free shampoo like the Re:Balance Shampoo helps to restore balance back to your scalp. With 88% naturally derived ingredients, it contains ingredients like peppermint oil to stimulate and cool the scalp along with lemongrass to support hair growth, eliminate itchiness and relieve irritation. The nutritiously rich blend of natural, effective ingredients leaves your scalp feeling sothed, hydrated and healthy - with no parabens or harmful sulphates.
Apply onto hair and scalp before shampooing, gently massage to ensure even application of the product all over the scalp. Then rinse. It’s not needed daily for postpartum hair loss, but using it every few months can help remove build up and cleanse your scalp.Follow with the Re:Balance Conditioner to deeply condition, nourish and protect your hair while restoring balance. It’s a vegan formula that’s also blended with organic peppermint and lemongrass, leaving hair feeling energised, cleansed and refreshingly healthy.
Using a hair loss treatment like the Re:Gain Remedy Hair Loss Treatment’s a really important part of your routine when it comes to any kind of hair loss, including postpartum hair loss. It encourages hair growth in weak, thinning hair and works to stimulate the scalp to reduce hair loss for noticeably thicker, denser hair. With 94% naturally derived ingredients like organic peppermint and lemongrass. It’s a treatment that can be used daily on a clean, dry scalp.
Avoiding excessive heat and harsh ingredients in your hair products is also really important for healthy hair and hair growth. And if you do use heat, always use a heat protector. It’s all about keeping your hair in balance especially when you’re dealing with fragile or thinning hair.
Should you speak to your doctor about postpartum hair loss?
Speaking to your doctor about postpartum hair loss is a really good idea, especially if you have concerns about how much hair you’re losing or experiencing other symptoms alongside it. If your hair loss is making you upset or you feel like it’s worrying you all the time, it might be time to speak to a healthcare professional for some advice.
What you need to know about postpartum hair loss
Postpartum hair loss is a natural part of the hormonal changes that occur after giving birth. While it can be worrying, it's important to understand that this phase is usually temporary, and your hair will likely return to its pre-pregnancy state within a year.
To address postpartum hair loss, focus on maintaining a healthy diet, managing stress and adopting a gentle haircare routine that’s filled with natural ingredients and free from harmful sulphates and parabens.
Shop our Re:Balance Duo for a soothing routine that’s perfect for hair that needs a little extra support post-pregnancy. Have questions about postpartum hair loss? Our education team are always happy to help you with recommendations and guidance. Contact our education team.