You’ve gone through one of life’s great wonders! You grew a tiny human inside of you for 40 weeks. A little person that will hold your heart in their hands for the rest of your life. Following the birth of your blessing your body will begin to undergo some changes. As your hormones change you may begin to notice that one of the changes that takes place is your hair. This brings me to the topic at hand.
What is postpartum alopecia? It is defined as the temporary telogen loss of scalp hair at the termination of pregnancy.
To understand what that is first you’ll have to understand the growth cycle of hair. There are 4 stages in the hair growth cycle. They are anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen.
- Anagen is the hair growth phase of hair. This is the first phase in the growth cycle. During this stage the cells of the bulb divide rapidly which results in new hair growth. The anagen phase lasts between 2-7 years. Generally about 80-90% hair is in the anagen phase.
- Catagen is the transition phase of hair. During this stage the hair stops growing and detaches itself from the blood supply. This stage typically lasts about 2-3 weeks. The hair becomes what is known as club hair.
- Telogen also known as the resting phase follows the catagen phase. During the telogen phase club hair rests while a new hair grows underneath it. This new hair will eventually take the place of the current club hair. The telogen phase lasts about 3 months and on average about 1o-15% of hair is in this phase at a given time.
- Exogen phase is the final stage of hair growth, the shedding phase. The resting club hair detaches and sheds during this portion of the growth cycle. Every hair eventually sheds so it is normal to shed between 50-100 hairs each day. After the exogen phase the hair follicle will return to the anagen phase.
Now that you understand the cycle of hair growth it’ll be easier for you understand postpartum alopecia.
When you’re pregnant your hormones prolong the telogen/resting phase of hair and keeps the hair from shedding. After pregnancy your estrogen levels decline therefore the hair that was in the resting phase enters into the exogen/shedding phase of the hair cycle.
You’ll begin shedding all the excess hair that was held in the resting phase between months 1-6 after giving birth. On average this happens around month 3 for most women. After month 6 your hair should return to its normal hair growth cycle so don’t panic!
This change is absolutely normal! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
If you continue to see excessive shedding make an appointment with your doctor.
- Keep hair healthy by continuing to take prenatal vitamins after giving birth as well as following a healthy diet.
- Be gentle when detangling the hair! I suggest daily brushing if possible. This will minimize the matting of hair. Detangle the hair from ends to roots. Detangle the hair prior to shampooing. If you don’t detangle the loose hair not removed prior to shampooing will cause your hair to mat into clumps.
- See a stylist to receive regular hair treatments!! I recommend receiving treatments every 6-8 weeks. During the postpartum stage of your body’s transition you should remain on a schedule closer to every 6 weeks if possible.
- In between the 6 weeks following your treatment deep conditioners will be your friend! Add a deep conditioning service to your salon visits. If you opt for home care don’t skip this step. Deep conditioning is still just as important!
Note: If you opt to deep condition at home invest in good hair products for home care! I suggest the Influance Honey Almond Shampoo because it is sulfate free and gives a voluminous lather to gently clean without stripping hair of its natural oils.
For the deep conditioner I suggest Influance Multiplex Conditioner. Concentrated with proteins and amino acids, this unique formulation works from the inside out to restore, repair, and protect the hair.
You can purchase both products online at:
If you prefer to let a professional handle it and you are in the North Carolina area: