Does Breastfeeding Cause Postpartum Hair Loss?

Postpartum hair loss 

“After I had my first baby, I started getting post-partum hair shedding, which is totally normal. When you’re pregnant you retain all your hair and it’s shiny and thick and lovely, and then once you give birth it starts to shed. It can seem quite extreme because you haven’t been shedding your hair naturally over time like you would when you’re not pregnant, but it’s totally normal. 

I was expecting the shedding, but after three to four months, the hair loss was becoming really concentrated in certain areas. The crown of my head and the sides of my hair had fallen out and it was very noticeable and when I went to the doctors, they assumed that because I’d had a baby that it was just the usual shedding.

I saw three or four doctors because I wasn’t happy with their diagnosis. Because I’m black, doctors assumed my hair was falling out because of bad hair practices like wearing tight braids or a weave which couldn’t have been more off the mark. At the time I was a hair blogger and really into holistic hair treatments, not to mention I’d never had braids or a weave”.

Gina Knight, Professional Musician

American actress, Selma Blair also began to experience postpartum hair loss after she gave birth to her son, Arthur, in 2011.  “This is so not glamorous, but it’s true: I need to take longer showers so that I can collect the hair that falls out and throw it away so I don’t clog the drain. Why do actresses never talk about that?” Blair told People. “It just started falling out at the three-month mark. And I’m not a girl who likes extensions, so Selma’s going to be bald!”

 Selma Blair, Actress 

How the Hair Growth Cycle works:

“All hair has a growth phase, termed anagen, and a resting phase, telogen.

On the scalp, anagen lasts approximately 3 years, while telogen lasts roughly 3 months, although there can be wide variation in these times between individuals. During telogen, the resting hair remains in the follicle until it is pushed out by growth of a new anagen hair”.

Normally, around 85-95% of your hair is in the growth phase at any point in time, but the hormonal changes during pregnancy stimulate an increase in the percentage of hairs in the growth phase. As a result, many women enjoy thicker hair during pregnancy, as more hairs than normal are growing and fewer than normal are resting/shedding.

With the birth of your baby (and the hormonal changes that accompany birth), a larger number of hairs than normal enter the resting phase. Since the resting phase is followed by hair shedding (and regrowth), new mothers will experience greater than normal hair loss once the resting phase ends.

Postpartum hair loss commonly starts at around three months after birth. The amount of time between childbirth and the onset of shedding corresponds to the length of the resting phase of hair growth (between 1 and 6 months, with an average of three months). The hair loss can seem more extreme if your hair grew much more than normal during pregnancy, or if you have long hair. Most women will return to their usual hair growth cycle within six months, or between 6 and 12 months after birth.

If you feel that your hair loss is greater than the norm, or if things are not back to normal by the time your baby is 12 months old, then see your doctor. Excessive hair loss can be caused by common and easy-to-remedy postpartum conditions such as hypothyroidism(low thyroid hormone) or iron-deficiency anemia.

What can you do while you wait for your hair to return to its normal growth cycle?

  • Get a good haircut. Some moms choose this time to get a shorter haircut or one that requires less care.
  • Experiment with different hairstyles.
  • A good quality shampoo and conditioner may help.
  • Try different styling products, such as mousses or texturizers that “bulk up” the appearance of your hair.
  • Avoid using a brush or comb that pulls or stresses the hair.

Postpartum Hair Treatments to try

It’s normal for your hair to thin out after pregnancy. If it’s not worrying you, you don’t need to do anything to treat it. And, unfortunately, there is nothing that has been shown to prevent or slow postpartum hair loss. But if your hair loss is bothering you, there are treatments you can try to make your hair appear fuller and healthier.

Skip the styling

  • Heating your hair with a dryer or curling iron may make it look thinner. Try to hold off on fancy styling and let your hair air-dry till the thinning tapers out.
  • Brushing too hard can also cause your hair to fall out in bigger clumps, so be gentle when brushing and don’t brush more than once a day. You can use the extra time to cuddle your baby or catch up on sleep!

Eat well

  • Including a variety of fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins in your diet is the best way to make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.
  • Foods that are suggested by some to improve hair health include dark leafy greens (for the iron and vitamin C), sweet potatoes and carrots (for the beta carotene), eggs (for the vitamin D), and fish (for omega-3s and magnesium).

Take your vitamins

  • Vitamins shouldn’t be a substitute for a varied diet, especially when you’re a new mom with a baby to take care of. But they may help as a supplement if your diet is not well-balanced. While no specific vitamins have been shown to affect hair loss, they are important for overall health. It is often recommended to continue your prenatal vitamins after your baby is born, especially if you are breast-feeding.
Regrow Hair Centre uses HR23+ as its main supplier of vitamins designed to regrow hair which include all of the vital ingredients like Biotin, Vitamin C and Saw Palmento  – in fact HR23+ uses 23 key ingredients designed to help with your hair loss, 90% of users noticed visible results.

Some studies suggest that biotin or vitamin H could be useful in treating hair loss. Biotin is used to build hair, skin and nails and the study says that if combined with zinc, it can help lower DHT.

Use volumizing shampoo

  • While there’s no evidence for it, conditioning shampoos sometimes weigh your hair down and make it look thinner and more limp. Volumizers may add body to your hair and help you maintain a lustrous look.
  • In most cases, your postpartum hair loss is totally normal and not anything to worry about.
  • If you’re still seeing clumps in your hairbrush after your baby hits their 1st birthday, you may want to talk to a dermatologist to make sure there isn’t an additional cause for your hair loss.
The Regrow Centre has its own branded Hair Loss shampoo and conditioner that help clean the scalp effectively, cleanse hair thoroughly, and restore its natural beauty.

Shampoo 250ml Key ingredients:

  • White Lupine Proteins – Stimulate hair growth. Prevents hair loss.
  • Vitamin PP – Effectively prevents hair loss, Improves blood circulation in the scalp, facilitating the supply of nutrients and oxygen.
  • Biotin – Affects proper functioning of the scalp and prevents hair loss.With nourishing action on hair follicles stimulates the growth of new hair.
  • Vitamin E- Affects faster growth. As a powerful antioxidant, protects and prevents hair follicles.

Conditioner 250ml Key ingredients:

  • Wheat Germ Oil gives the hair elasticity and softness.Firming and delays aging of the skin.
  • Bamboo Shoots stimulate the development of collagen and elastin fibers, strongly moisturize and smooth the skin and hair.
  • Rice Proteinit keep water in the skin, soften and smooth, and improve the durability of hair.
  • White Lupine Proteinsstimulate hair growth, increase their volume and prevent loss of hair and split ends.
Written by Khuram Abbas Raja for The Regrow Hair Centre.
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