The nine months of your pregnancy are a time full of change. While some can be stressful (stretch marks and swollen ankles, anyone?), it’s all worth it in the end when you’re rewarded with a beautiful bundle of joy. The changes, however, don’t just end after you give birth.
While you’re getting used to your new baby, your body is getting used to its new normal, which can unsurprisingly wreak havoc on your strands. We’re talking about postpartum hair loss. Postpartum hair loss is a common side effect of post-pregnancy life, which women all over the world (including celebrities) deal with.
If you’ve recently given birth or are expecting to pop any day now, you may be wondering what will happen to your precious strands post-pregnancy. Lucky for you, we sat down with Dr. Michelle Green, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist, to get the scoop on everything you need to know about postpartum hair loss.
Is it normal to lose hair after pregnancy?
Unfortunately, yes, it is normal to lose hair after pregnancy. Due to the hormone surge pregnancy brings on and the prenatal vitamins pregnant women are often instructed to take, your hair may grow longer and appear fuller during those nine months. Once those nine months are over, however, your body has to do the work of returning to its pre-pregnancy normal. While the decrease in hormones can affect many parts of your life, hair loss may be the first thing you notice.
“As the body readjusts to its pre-pregnancy phase, there’s often a hormonal imbalance,” Dr. Green explains. “As the hormones stabilize, it can cause increased shedding and no growth.”
While it is normal to lose some hair after pregnancy, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor if your hair is falling out at an alarmingly fast rate or in large clumps.
How long does postpartum hair loss last?
Just like every pregnancy is different, the length of postpartum shedding varies by person. According to Dr. Green, some women will begin to see signs of postpartum hair loss as soon as three months after giving birth, while others won’t experience shedding until six to nine months out. Once postpartum shedding begins, Dr. Green says it can last up to 12 months. How much hair you lose and how long your hair loss lasts is often directly related to how much your hair grew during your pregnancy.
“During pregnancy, hair stays in the anagen phase longer due to prenatal vitamins and a surge in estrogen,” Dr. Green explains. “As a result, hair grows longer and looks fuller during pregnancy. If hair growth was significant during pregnancy, you may experience more hair loss...The hair loss experienced post-pregnancy is hair that you would have lost during a normal hair growth cycle.”
While postpartum shedding is fairly common, some women don’t experience any significant hair loss—but that doesn’t mean they’re completely in the clear. In addition to postpartum hair loss, many women may experience a change in hair texture or brittle, dull, fine-looking strands. If you’re not sure how to care for or style your new postpartum locks, be sure to schedule an appointment at a trusted hair salon.
How can I stop my hair from falling out after pregnancy?
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent postpartum hair loss. As Dr. Green stated above, the hair loss you experience after pregnancy is typically the hair you would have lost during a regular growth cycle. While there is no way to prevent postpartum shedding, Dr. Green recommends strengthening the feel of your strands with supplements, a healthy diet, and making sure your locks stay clean, conditioned, and moisturized.
Does biotin help with postpartum hair loss?
Doctors and stylists often recommend supplements to women dealing with postpartum hair loss, with biotin being one of the most popular. Unfortunately, there is no hard scientific evidence that suggests biotin will help with postpartum hair loss, there are a few biotin-infused hair products that you can try. The Redken Extreme Length Shampoo and Conditioner with Biotin gently cleanses and conditions to strengthen hair while reducing breakage. These products won’t grow hair from the root, but rather strengthen your existing strands and reduce the chance of experiencing breakage.
Does cutting hair help with postpartum hair loss?
While cutting your hair won’t help reverse postpartum hair loss, switching up your cut can help you manage the look of your hair while it grows out. Opting for a shorter cut can make it easier to fake fullness and volume.
Can you go bald from postpartum hair loss?
Postpartum hair loss can be frustrating, but it’s usually temporary, which means you’re not likely to go bald. Be sure to see a doctor if you’re concerned about excess shedding.
Will hair grow back after postpartum hair loss?
Postpartum hair loss can be scary, but the good news is it won’t last forever! The vast majority of women who experience postpartum hair loss will see their manes return to their former glory—you just have to be patient.
“Postpartum hair loss does grow back as hormones stabilize and the hair returns to the anagen phase,” Dr. Green says.
It can take a few months for your hair to return to the anagen phase, so don’t expect an overnight recovery if your hair has been shedding for several months.
“It can take up to three months to start noticing shedding as hair enters the telogen effluvium phase—the phase that hair goes into the dormant cycle—and starts to fall out,” Dr. Green explains. “The telogen effluvium phase can last another three months, so it can take up to six months before hair starts to make a complete recovery.”
If it’s been more than a year since you gave birth to your bundle of joy and you’re still experiencing significant shedding, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor.
What shampoo is good for postpartum hair loss?
While no shampoo will be a quick fix for restoring your strands to their pre-pregnancy status, some formulas can strengthen, moisturize, or help you fake the look of fuller, thicker strands. To temporarily boost the thickness of your mane, we recommend a shampoo like Biolage Advanced Full Density Shampoo. Formulated with biotin, zinc PCA, and Gluco-Omega Blend, this shampoo gently cleanses the hair by removing follicle-clogging impurities, instantly creating healthier-feeling, thicker-looking hair.
If keeping your hair strong and hydrated is your top priority, opt for a formula like L'Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Instant Resurfacing Hydrating Shampoo. This shampoo is made with gold quinoa and protein to restructure damaged or weakened hair, leaving it softer and instantly nourished.
How should my hair care routine change when dealing with postpartum hair loss?
While there’s nothing you can do to speed the recovery process along, a healthy hair care routine will go a long way in helping your strands look and feel their best. Aside from shampoo, you should also stock your bathroom with other nourishing hair products. We recommend incorporating a weekly hair mask like L'Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Instant Resurfacing Masque into your routine. This formula deeply nourishes and hydrates weakened, damaged hair.
When it comes to styling, it's best to be as gentle as possible on your hair—which means taking a break from heat styling often. If you do decide to heat style, use a nourishing formula with heat protection like Kérastase Elixir Ultime L’Huile Original Hair Oil. This hair oil adds shine and deeply nourishes hair to help prevent breakage.
Now that you know everything there is to know about postpartum hair loss, you can rest assured that your post-pregnancy hair woes are temporary.
Interested in more expert hair tips? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.