Among the many physical changes that occur during the nine months of pregnancy, the effects on hair texture and volume are one of the most celebrated. Thanks to a rise in oestrogen levels, the hair remains in the anagen (growth) phase of the hair growth cycle for longer than usual hence why the hair may feel thicker and fuller whilst you’re expecting. However, once you’ve given birth and have stopped breastfeeding, these oestrogen levels suddenly drop and return to a normal level, moving the hair growth phase into the telogen (shedding) phase, leading to substantial hair shedding.
Post-partum hair loss can be understandably distressing for many women, but the good news is, it’s only temporary, and there are things you can do to minimise the effects, as I explain below.
What causes postnatal hair loss?
As previously mentioned, oestrogen has a critical role to play when it comes to hair health, and it’s frequently the sudden shift in hormone levels that causes hair shedding post-pregnancy. However, there are often other factors at play that can contribute to hair loss during this time. The most common of these are an improper diet, nutritional deficiencies, lack of sleep and stress – all of which are more likely with the responsibility of looking after a new baby.
In most cases, this hair loss is temporary and should eventually stop on its own and begin to grow back gradually. This is due to the body normalising its hormone levels, which can take some time.
Treatment options for postnatal hair loss
It all starts with recognising the problem. If you notice excessive daily hair shedding, make an appointment to see a specialist or your GP, as there could be an underlying factor that needs to be addressed.
Hair supplements are an excellent treatment option for hair thinning. Viviscal Professional uses a rich protein complex to promote hair growth, health, density and strength. It also contains biotin to encourage smooth, healthy hair and apple extract to promote a soft, healthy finish. You could start taking this immediately after giving birth provided you are not breast feeding to help support your hair health and avoid excess shedding later down the line. Remember, hair loss usually occurs 3-6 months after having your baby, so anything you can do in this time to help support your hair will help.
Include a variety of healthy proteins, fruits and vegetables in your diet to ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs. Foods that help healthy hair growth include fish, eggs, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, beans, asparagus, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and blueberries. You could also introduce a collagen supplement into your diet. The amino acids in collagen may help the body make more keratin that will contribute to healthy, thick hair.
Ensuring that your scalp is kept in good health can help prevent thinning hair and stimulate the growth of new hair. The Keravive by HydraFacial uses patented vortex technology to unclog hair follicles, boost circulation and remove dead skin and congestion whilst nourishing and hydrating the scalp.
The treatment infuses a proprietary blend of skin proteins and growth factors to encourage the growth of thicker, healthier and stronger looking hair. It works well as an individual treatment but can also be combined with other hair restoration treatments such as PRP to enhance results.
During the first six months post-partum, try to avoid heat styling, hair extensions and chemically based treatments if possible. It would help if you were extra gentle with your hair during this time. Try to avoid washing it every day, don’t tie it up too tight and when you do put it up, use soft scrunchies instead of thin, elastic ties. Invest in a good quality shampoo and conditioner that won’t damage the hair cuticle or dry your hair out.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
As well as being an excellent skin rejuvenation treatment, PRP also works to stimulate the production of new hair growth. During treatment, your practitioner will take a vial of your blood, usually no more than the average blood test would require, and they’ll spin it in a centrifuge to produce plasma rich in platelets. These are then infused or injected into your scalp, where they’ll release growth factors and encourage new hair growth.
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