Many women often experience loss of hair weeks or months after moving past a pregnancy as the process
does not only change a woman’s body but also causes some unexpected strange changes in their hair.
These changes lead to the shedding of hair a few months after delivery, and this condition is known as Postpartum Alopecia. However, it’s not permanent.
According to Chijioke Anaele, General Manager, Recare Cosmetics, makers of Natures Gentle Touch haircare range, hairs on our bodies grow in a cycle that lasts between two to seven years. The growing phase of hair is called anagen and it determines the length of the hair.
“After a while, the hair follicle enters a transition phase called catagen, before entering a resting phase called telogen. Shedding also known as exogen then occurs and the process starts all over again.
“During pregnancy, a lot of hormonal changes occur and some of these changes affect the hair positively. Some women will notice that during pregnancy, their hairs are usually healthier. This is as a result of estrogen that is being produced.
“The estrogen stimulates the hair follicles to start the growing phase, and that is why as a pregnant woman, you’ll notice that your hair grows significantly faster than it did before you got pregnant.
“After childbirth, the estrogen level drops and returns to the pre-pregnancy level, prompting the hair follicles to enter the resting phase. A hundred days into the resting days, the hair begins to shed”, he explained.
He stated further that it is important to note that besides the estrogen and progesterone changes, stress and nutrition also affect hormone levels which can also affect hair growth.
Thyroiditis, which is caused by an imbalance of thyroid hormones can create an imbalance in the thyroid hormones and affect growth.
To prevent postpartum hair loss, Anaele highlighted the following points: “ensure that you’re getting regular, gentle-to-moderate exercise. This keeps all the vital organs of your body active and can help regulate the hormonal imbalance during pregnancy; do not underrate the essence of a good diet.
“Consume a healthy diet rich in nutrients to support your body that is experiencing changes and help its postpartum recovery and if recommended by your doctor, take postpartum vitamin and mineral supplements if recommended by your doctor.”
He also advised on what to do about postpartum hair loss. “When you notice that you are beginning to shed hair after pregnancy, don’t panic. You can recover from it in a matter of time. All you need to do is: Reduce stress, use anti-hair loss cream, maintain a healthy lifestyle and take nutritional supplements”.
He advised further that one can go natural to recover from postpartum hair loss.
“During postpartum hair loss, avoid colouring your hair or using harsh gels and sprays for styling. Opt for natural oils that are said to help strengthen hair growth and reduce hair loss. Add a few drops of peppermint to your shampoo to help moisturise the hair and give it shine”, he added.
Anaele noted that postpartum hair loss is normal and should not be a cause for alarm when one starts experiencing it, adding, “following the steps highlighted above will set you on the right track to recovering from it”.