There’s already plenty of added stress when you’re a new parent, and postpartum hair loss -- the kind that makes you do a double-take at the shower drain -- only compounds it for many mamas.
It might be reassuring to know that postpartum hair loss is exceedingly common, with around 40%-50% of women experiencing it (1). The other reassuring detail is that for most people, the hair will eventually bounce back, especially if you take a few steps to help it along.
This post covers everything you need to know about postpartum hair loss: what causes it, whether you can prevent it, and what’s the best way to get the hair to grow back lush and healthy.
What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?
Hair has a life cycle of four stages, which include anagen (the growth stage), catagen (a transition stage into rest), telogen (the resting stage), and exogen (the final shedding stage). Normally, each hair on the head is at a different stage of this cycle, so we’re consistently shedding and growing new hairs.
During pregnancy, hormonal changes in the body prolong the growth stage so the hair grows long, lush, and healthy (2). This is fantastic, except for one small issue: most of the hairs on the head are now in-synch. The result? After pregnancy, the hormones in the body change yet again and the hair goes into telogen effluvium, a disorder where a bunch of hair goes into that rest stage all at once. This is shortly followed by the shedding stage or, in other words, postpartum hair loss.
Postpartum hair loss starts about two to four months after giving birth, and it is often most visible along the front part of the hairline, even though it affects the entire head (3).
Does Postpartum Hair Loss Affect Lashes and Brows?
While most research on postpartum hair loss focuses on the hair on your head, many people find that it also affects their brows and eyelashes. Those hairs on our face are physiologically very similar to head hair, so they can actually go through a similar process of shedding (4)(5).
When Will the Hair Grow Back?
On the short end of the spectrum, the hair can grow back as quickly as in two months, but as beauty blogger Shila told us in an interview, sometimes it can last for as long as a year.
Some people find that after that first instance of postpartum hair loss their hair never completely recovers. If the hair doesn’t grow back readily it’s very possible that there is something else at play.
Other Factors That Influence Hair Loss Postpartum
The human body is a complex system of organs that is influenced by a wide range of internal and external processes. Beyond telogen effluvium, there are a few other factors that can intensify postpartum hair loss, and may require that you seek out the help of a doctor.
- Nutritional deficiencies
Both during and after pregnancy, women are at risk of anemia, which is a deficiency caused either by lack of iron or a lack of one of the B-vitamins. One of the symptoms of anemia is hair loss, although easy bruising and fatigue are also signs you might be deficient(6)(7).
- Sleep-deficiency and stress
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a new mother who gets eight hours of sleep every night and is totally at peace with the world. The round-the-clock care that newborns need can take its toll on parents, and especially on their tresses. The cortisol hormones that the body secretes during stressful times disrupt the hair growth process, potentially prolonging postpartum hair loss.
- Thyroid and other health issues
Finally, extreme or prolonged postpartum hair loss can be a sign that something more major is going on with your hormones, like thyroid disease, or that you have an auto-immune disorder like alopecia areata.
How to Deal With Postpartum Hair Loss
Your hair should recover on its own, but there are a few things you can do to improve the health of your follicles and put your body in a better condition for hair growth.
Reinforce Your Body With Supplements
Nutritional supplements rich in B-vitamins, like our Lovestruck Biotin Gummies for Hair, can stave off the nutritional deficiencies that exacerbate postpartum hair loss, and as a bonus, they also give the body an overall health boost.
Manage Stress As Best As You Can
Finding ways to destress will go a long way towards improving your health, supporting the hair, not to mention allowing you to enjoy parenthood more. Ingesting calming ingredients like full-spectrum hemp extract or ashwagandha is an easy way to de-stress when you don’t have a lot of free time, and they’ll help to reduce cortisol levels in your body which in turn can keep the hair in place a little better.
Optimize the Condition of Your Follicle With Topicals
When it comes to postpartum hair loss, what’s happening on the inside is more important than what’s happening on the outside. Even so, topical products can still help support better hair production. For example, the mung bean extract in our Lash and Brow Volumizing Serums has been clinically proven to optimize the condition of the hair follicle which could prevent excessive hair loss(8).
Styling Can Help
Avoid harsh styling after pregnancy so you don’t lose too much hair. This means no tight ponytails, braids or buns. You should also resist the urge to tease your hair to bulk it up because this styling technique seriously damages the hair cuticle and leads to hair breakage. Instead, you can use tinted products to camouflage thinning areas or rely on a volumizing mousse or dry shampoo to give your hair more body.
Postpartum hair loss can be stressful, but as long as you make sure to nourish your body and soul this period will pass quickly and you’ll be back to strong, healthy hair in no time!