What To Expect When Dealing With Postpartum Hair Loss

You wear your hair every day, which makes it, in the parlance of hairstylists, no different from an undetachable crown. Good hair is the physical signal of overall good health and a wholesome self-care routine. For women, thick and silky smooth hair cascading down the shoulders has always been associated with reproductive potential, while for men — virility. That's why hair loss — a condition where new hair doesn't grow to replace fallen hair strands — can have an adverse effect on anyone's life. Hair loss, also known as alopecia, can occur anywhere on the body, but nowhere does it do a number on women's self-esteem than on the scalp.

Hair loss can start as early as 15, and about half of women everywhere begin losing their hair by age 50, per Scandinavian Biolabs. According to the Mayo Clinic, hair loss may have to do with heredity, radiation therapy to the head, stress, and excessive hairstyling. Childbirth can also predispose new moms to hair and scalp disorders, causing them to shed an unusually enormous amount of hair for months — or years. Despite not being life-threatening, postpartum hair thinning can significantly worsen the baby blues that many new mothers experience. If you're dealing with excessive hair shedding or patches of baldness after pregnancy, you are not alone. Below, check out some eye-opening facts about the condition and tips for renewing hair growth.

Hair loss usually resolves on its own

On average, most women start experiencing hair loss two months or three after childbirth. "Postpartum hair loss is common and affects 40 to 50 percent of women who have recently given birth," says cosmetic dermatologist Michele Green (via Everyday Health). The thinning of hair after pregnancy, which is not preventable, goes against what most women experienced during pregnancy. When a woman is 15 weeks into pregnancy, an increase in estrogen production keeps her hair in the active growing phase for an extended period of time, resulting in thicker hair, per Pregnancy, Birth & Baby

Once pregnancy has ended, the estrogen and progesterone levels decline substantially, leading to baby blues-like mood swings and irritability in addition to noticeable hair loss along the frontal hairline. Excessive hair shedding after pregnancy can last anywhere between six to 15 months, Dr. Green explains. The postpartum hormonal imbalances will end, the hair follicles will recover, and your hair will grow back. Under normal circumstances, you don't have to do anything to make your hair resume its prenatal fullness, because postpartum hair loss typically resolves on its own. Although there is no specific medical treatment for postpartum hair loss, there is no shortage of methods to keep the condition under control and regrow your hair.

How to treat postpartum hair loss

According to The American Academy of Dermatology, a humectant-filled volumizing shampoo, which makes the hair appear fuller and denser, can be a real boon for moms affected by hair loss. A conditioner formulated for fine hair that doesn't weigh down hair strands is also a great asset to one's wash and care routine post-delivery. At the same time, avoid using any product labeled "conditioning shampoo" or "intensive conditioners" as they can make your hair look limper. To wait out the hair-thinning process in style, try a short, low-maintenance hairstyle or wear a wig. A diet rich in iron, protein, and vitamins C and D also aids in stimulating hair growth.

In certain cases, postpartum hair loss can signify underlying medical conditions, such as iron deficiency and thyroid disorders. When your hair still sheds excessively after your child's first birthday, it's best to speak to a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan. According to Honest Hair Restoration, there are a number of surgical and nonsurgical approaches to tackling postpartum hair loss, such as hair transplants, exosomal hair restoration, follicular unit extraction, regenerative treatments, low-level laser treatments, and prescription medications. After evaluating your medical and family history, a surgeon will recommend a treatment that best suits your needs and conditions. Should you opt for surgical treatments or strong medications to tackle your condition, you need to wait until your child is weaned to make sure your treatment doesn't affect your baby.