A candid Instagram post from American reality TV star Toya Wright about Post-partum Alopecia
- the shedding which occurs after having a baby - saw fans and Real Housewives jumping in to comment with their own experiences.
Boutique-owner Wright, 34, who is currently starring in Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta, opened up about her hair loss
then asked other women if they had been through it too.
'No need to panic'
Toya Wright wrote on her 9th August 2018 post, "Postpartum Alopecia is so real... I didn't know why my hair was falling out. I just noticed my edges and the middle of my hair were getting super thin. Every time I would wash my hair it would come out in chunks. I've always had full edges. I did some research and found out that new moms are surprised to be shedding more hair than usual the first few months after giving birth, but it's perfectly normal. There's no need to panic: Your hair should be back to normal around your baby's first birthday. That's way too long to be without edges but it's a part of the beauty of giving birth. I just wanted to share that with you ladies. Who else is experiencing postpartum hair loss? .....cause I don't like it ?!!
The post is accompanied by a video of Wright combing her hair through with her fingers and showing her thinning edges
- the hairloss around her hairline - to the camera.
Among those who commented were reality TV heavyweights, Kenya Moore and songwriter Kandi Burruss, who are both long-time cast members of the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Kandi, who has two children, the youngest of whom is a toddler named Ace, wrote "Mine thinned out after having Ace but I don’t think that it ever got back thick like it was. He’s two now
." Whilst Kenya, who is currently pregnant with her first child, recommended products from her own haircare range.
The hair loss that occurs after having a baby tends to start around three months after giving birth. At any point in time around 90 per cent of the hairs on our scalp are actively growing at any one time. During pregnancy the active 'anagen' phase of the hair growth cycle
is extended, meaning more hairs are growing at once and for longer without progressing to the shedding phase in order to be replaced by new hairs, as it would ordinarily be the case. When the cycle returns to normal following the birth, these hairs tick over into the telogen - resting - phase and are shed. The result of which is the extra hair shedding - a common and entirely normal
issue - known as Post Partum Alopecia.
Whilst this can certainly cause intense levels of hair fall, it is common for thinning hair to develop diffusely all over the scalp, rather than just around the hairline. The pattern of hair loss Toya Wright is displaying may suggest more than one condition is present simultaneously, as does Kandi's comment about not regaining her hair's full pre-pregnancy thickness.
Is it just post partum hair loss?
Besides being stars in top-rated reality TV shows, another thing both Toya Wright and Kandi Burruss, 42, have in common is their hairstyles. Both women frequently appear to wear their Afro hair straightened
and in tight hairstyles
such as high ponytails, or sport wigs and hair extensions
. Given their punishing schedules of public appearances and TV filming, it is likely that they have their hair styled more often than the average woman, and this can be problematic - especially for the hairline - and could be at least contributing to Toya's thinning edges and Kandi's loss of volume
The types of taut hairstyles and weighty accessories both women seem to favour are known to place tension on the hair follicles. In addition to causing hair breakage
, which is where the hair becomes so weakened that it snaps along the shaft, making it look thinner and frazzled, it can lead to hair loss from Traction Alopecia
. These issues are particularly common among women of colour due to Afro hair being the most naturally brittle hair type.
Traction Alopecia often displays as a receding hairline due to this area bearing the brunt of the strain caused by high ponytails, braids and adornments such as hair extensions. In severe cases this can lead to permanent hair loss though as long as the follicles are still functioning, certain treatments
can generally help to promote regrowth.
Another - and, actually, the most common - cause of thinning hair and temporal hair loss (thinning edges) is Female Pattern Baldness
. This can start any time following puberty in women with a genetic predisposition and is a permanent, progressive condition. Postpartum Alopecia can exacerbate this where the condition is already present, and can even prematurely trigger this type of shedding where the susceptibility is present but dormant. This only affects areas along the top of the scalp, from hairline to crown.
Given the many reasons involved in women's hair loss - and the fact that it is possible to have more than one hair loss condition simultaneously - it is always worth having a hair specialist check you over if you are concerned at the amount of hair you're shedding. Where Postpartum Alopecia is the sole cause, treatment is available to women who are no longer breast feeding or pumping their milk. Specialists can also recommend hair loss treatment
courses to combat multiple issues at once, based on the conditions diagnosed.