Women who experience hair loss after having a child have been turning to the internet for help and advice – and are frequently finding it difficult to work out which snippets of wisdom are actually useful.
Not all women lose hair after giving birth, but Post Partum Alopecia is quite common. There are a few hair loss conditions that can cause postnatal thinning, however, so, before any advice is sought it is important for a woman to know which she is affected by.
Hair returning to normal
Postpartum hairloss is essentially a “returning to normal” situation in which the abundance of hairs that were built up during pregnancy are shed. The hormonal changes women experience during their pregnancy cause the active growth phase of the hair growth cycle to become extended. The outcome is that normal hair fall levels are reduced by around half. This is why many women report being complimented on their thick hair in the run-up to the birth.
Once they have given birth and hormones start to return to normal, the cycle returns to normal and these stored hairs will shed. For some women this may be more intense than for others and, though the hair will generally return to its pre-pregnancy state by the time their baby celebrates its first birthday, postpartum hair loss treatment is possible. Bespoke courses featuring topical applications of high strength minoxidil and appropriate hair growth boosters can be followed once the mother has given birth or, if she is breastfeeding, then once she has finished nursing.
We have had a number of female clients tell us that they have caught their partners secretly trying their treatment to see if it would help their receding hairlines, so anyone going down this route may want to keep an eye on their supply!
Intensely thinning hair after giving birth
If postnatal shedding causes more acutely thinning hair (i.e., a woman has noticeably fewer hairs than when she first got pregnant), this may be caused by the trauma of giving birth. The temporary hair loss condition Telogen Effluvium tends to happen when the body has experienced a shock of some kind. Given the physiological wringer the body goes through during child birth, it’s little wonder that this form of diffuse hair thinning could be triggered. Whilst Postpartum hair loss is essentially a form of Telogen Effluvium, the triggers tend to be slightly different.
If there is hair fall coming from all over the scalp that seems worse around three months after having given birth, it is possible that Telogen Effluvium may be in play. But how can a woman deal with this temporary thinning condition? One way is to seek out Telogen Effluvium treatment at a specialist hair loss clinic. At Belgravia, tailored treatment plans – which again can be started as soon as the condition becomes noticeable or once the new mum has finished nursing – can help to speed up recovery, which might otherwise take between 6 and 12 months.
If the thinning is more pronounced along the top of the scalp and/or at the temples, it is worth checking with a hair loss specialist. This can signify the permanent genetic condition Female Pattern Hair Loss which can be triggered or exacerbated by stress in individuals with an underlying hereditary predisposition. This causes hairloss only in the areas mentioned and can generally be successfully managed through the use of a tailored women’s hair loss treatment course to stabilise shedding and promote regrowth.
The Daily Mail, meanwhile, looked into the wide range of advice that is available online on chat sites such as Reddit. Some of the tips are helpful, such as choosing a new haircut that better conceals the hair thinning or may help shift the focus from hairs which are at an awkward regrowth stage and may be sticking straight up. When new hair growth is frizzy, as it often is, many women suggest a headband – which is also good advice. However, a Brazilian Blowout, as recommended by some, is more questionable.
This is because Brazilian Blowouts – which use chemicals and heated straighteners on frizzy hair to make it straight – come with a list of potential problems. Just this month, the Environmental Working Group wrote of a complaint it has made to America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about how the Brazilian Blowout and many other keratin-based treatments contain formaldehyde. Among the complaints that people have made are that keratin treatments can cause a runny nose, burning eyes, hair breakage and even hair loss.
Approach peer advice with caution
Further proving that advice sought online should be approached with a raised eyebrow are a number of tips from new mums who suggest tying wispy hair back in a tight ponytail – a potentially terrible tip for anyone whose hair is going through a vulnerable period.
By yanking hair back into a tight ponytail, a further problem named Traction Alopecia may arise. This far-from-uncommon condition is seen when women (and, occasionally, man bun-loving men) choose a hairstyle that places prolonged and excessive stress on the hair follicles. While a ponytail may indeed be practical for new mums who want to keep their hair securely fastened out of the way, caution is advised unless the next search term they want to seek out is ‘treatment for Traction Alopecia’.
One thing that is mentioned in the Mail article – and also in an older thread about the same subject on mumsnet.com – is the importance of vitamins when trying to tackle Post Partum Alopecia. This falls into the “good advice” category, as one thing that can certainly help hair growth is ensuring a balanced diet that provides a potent supply of the necessary vitamins and minerals. For those who want to top-up their dietary intake with a range of key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botancial extracts, Belgravia’s Hair Vitalics for Women supplement can be especially useful. This convenient and highly-targeted one-a-day tablet was specially designed to help women easily access top hair-friendly nutrients that are essential for healthy hair growth.
As with all hair loss conditions, the internet can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to seeking information (as the many desperate men trying to reverse male pattern baldness with onion juice will attest). A no-obligation consultation at a specialist clinic is probably a better way to proceed.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.