Have you recently given birth? If so, congratulations! This is one of the most exciting times in a mother’s lifetime. What isn’t always exciting is the repercussions of postpartum pregnancy. Specifically, postpartum hair loss that some mums face after giving birth.
Hair loss is a setback for women; it shatters their self-confidence. It is devastating to see your hairline receding every day. However, you cannot control the damage and reverse postpartum hair loss without understanding its root causes.
Keep reading to learn more about how you can get back those luscious locks post pregnancy.
The Hair Growth Cycle
Have you ever wondered if there is a science behind hair growth? It is a complete cycle with three different stages. Understanding the hair growth cycle will help you understand the causes of hair loss more clearly.
Anagen –The Growth Phase
Anagen is the first phase of hair growth; at this stage, your hair grows at a rate of 1 cm per month. How long your hair stays in the anagen phase depends on your genes. Usually, it can last anywhere between 3 and 5 years. The duration of the phase also tells how long your hair can grow. 85-90% of the hair is in the growth phase at any given time.
Catagen –The Transition Phase
It is the transition phase, which lasts for 2 weeks. At this stage, the hair follicles prepare to grow new hair. During the transition, the follicles shrink to one-sixth of its original size. It is during this phase that the hair follicles “die” and fall out.
Telogen –The Resting/Shedding Phase
This is the final stage where the hair follicles remain at rest. The telogen phase lasts anywhere between 1 and 4 months. At any given time, 10-15% of the hair follicles are in the resting phase. By the end of this phase, hair follicles begin to regenerate new hair, pushing out the old hair. As a result, the old hair is shed from the head. As you can imagine, individuals whose hair spends the majority of its life in the telogen phase will be those who experience balding and thinning.
What is Postpartum Hair Loss?
Postpartum hair loss is very common among moms after giving birth as already mentioned. This refers to hair loss post pregnancy. There are a lot of factors that go into this, but the main thing is your hormones and how they affect your hair growth cycle.
After the telogen stage of the hair growth cycle, most individuals lose up to around 80-100 strands of hair. Not new moms! They rarely lose any hair throughout their pregnancy. This is because your hormones are extremely high, especially estrogen. This hormone keeps your hair follicles in the growing stage of the hair growth cycle for longer than normal periods of time. Did you notice your hair was thicker and maybe even healthier while you were pregnant? This is why.
After you give birth, your hormones almost immediately go back to their normal levels. By immediately, I mean within 24 hours. Amazing right? Well, maybe not considering you might be losing large amounts of hair at one time. This is partly due to the estrogen level drop in your hormones. All of those hair follicles that were in the anagen stage of the growth cycle for 8-9 months are going to reach the telogen stage. Unfortunately, this can all happen around the same time so you may notice clumps of hair coming out together in certain areas. It has been reported that some women lose up to 400 strands of hair postpartum.
In the case of alopecia or pattern balding, you can opt for Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT). It is a non-invasive, non-chemical treatment for women and men. LLLT is a scientifically studied treatment for promoting hair growth.
Low-level light therapy is one of the top treatments used to reverse or slow down androgenetic alopecia. Devices that emit this light therapy have made their way into the hair loss industry with the evolution of technology. These devices are a hair growth cap that are worn in the comfort of your own home every other day for 30-minutes. They have been scientifically proven to regrow the hair follicles on the scalp by stimulating blood flow and encouraging new cell growth in problematic areas. Users will typically see new hair growth results in 4-8 months of religious use. Laser caps are relatively affordable and are FDA-cleared to be safe and effective.
Hair loss amongst women can be terribly life-altering. Fortunately, many causes of hair loss can be cured with the appropriate treatment. Make sure you are staying properly nourished and that you are taking care of your existing, healthy hair strands. Also, make sure you are staying educated about what potential causes might be contributing to your hair thinning. This way you will be able to easily pinpoint a solution to get your hair back on track!