The various hormonal upheavals that occur during pregnancy impact the body at different levels. Hair is no exception and undergoes several changes during this period and after childbirth. What is their condition following a pregnancy?
Postpartum and hair: what is their condition?
- The condition of hair in the days following childbirth
- The condition of hair in the months following childbirth
- Taking care of your hair after childbirth
The condition of hair in the days following childbirth.
Pregnancy is one of the periods in a woman's life where hormonal fluctuations are most pronounced. Just after childbirth, the body gradually recovers and hormone levels take several months to return to normal. In terms of hair, the condition is similar to what it was during pregnancy, that is to say often strong and shiny. Indeed, most pregnant women notice that their hair seems healthier during their pregnancy, due to the increase in the amount of estrogen and progesterone in the body.
These steroid hormones appear to have a beneficial effect on hair. Estrogens bind to certain receptors present in the scalp that have an affinity for this hormone and induce a speeding up of the anagen phase. This phase corresponds to the period of hair growth in the hair cycle. Progesterone, on the other hand, is capable of inhibiting the activity of 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that modulates the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). However, DHT acts at the level of hair follicles by shortening the lifespan of hair and accelerating hair cycles. This is why pregnant women often notice faster hair growth.
The condition of hair in the months following childbirth.
During the months following childbirth, hair often undergoes significant stress. Indeed, the postpartum period can lead to a hair loss, varying in intensity among women, often localized at the front of the scalp, along the hairline. This hair loss typically occurs around the third month after childbirth and lasts at most a few months. The mechanism at work is still poorly understood, but researchers observe a stimulation of the telogen phase, which corresponds to the period when the hair falls out, which they correlate with the decrease in estrogen and progesterone in the body. This intensification would, in a way, compensate for the increased hair growth observed by pregnant women during the months of pregnancy.
Taking care of your hair after childbirth.
The postpartum period can be challenging from a holistic perspective. It involves women regaining their strength and reclaiming their bodies while establishing a new routine with the baby. Carving out time to take care of oneself and one's hair may seem difficult, however, it can provide a much-needed moment of relaxation. A visit to the hairdresser is a first step in caring for one's hair. They can apply targeted active ingredients, such as tiger grass extract (INCI name: Centella Asiatica Extract) or biotin, to strengthen hair fibers and limit future hair loss.
You can also rely on the intake of dietary supplements, which often contain biotin, to prevent this phenomenon. A course typically lasts for 3 months, and it is recommended to start it in the days following childbirth. However, it should be noted that scientific studies only attribute limited effectiveness to this method. Finally, another tip for taking care of your hair is to brush it very gently, to avoid causing additional hair loss. Tight hairstyles are discouraged, instead, opt for a braid or a loose bun if you wish to tie them up.
EKMEKCI T. & al. The changes in the hair cycle during gestation and the post-partum period. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (2014).
CASTELO-SOCCIO L. & al. A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss. Skin appendage disorders (2017).
MECZEKALSKI B. & al. Hormonal Effects on Hair Follicles. International journal of molecular sciences (2020).