How I Prevented Postpartum Hair Loss

Postpartum days are some of the best and hardest moments of life simultaneously. Baby cuddles are met with C-section recovery pain. The sweetest tiny baby smiles are interrupted by tremendous stomach pain (and, no matter what they say, I don’t think Tylenol and Advil are enough relief for me, but I’m trying). Lots of family time and bonding and memories, but also a lot of sleepiness, discomfort, pain, and as if it weren’t enough, hair loss.

I am currently a couple of months postpartum and happy to say that I’ve managed to stop hair loss in its tracks. Now, this isn’t my first rodeo and I knew just how tricky postpartum hair loss can be to manage. 

During my first postpartum period, I lost a ton of hair starting in month 1 postpartum, peaking about 3-4 months thereafter, and continuing into month 6.

This time, I’m currently 3 months postpartum, and I’m noticing a lot less hair loss. I didn’t play around this time. Using some of my favorite supplements, prenatal vitamins, and the newest and most effective anti-hair loss devices, my hair is actually thicker, healthier, and shinier than before I got pregnant for the second time. Here’s how I did it.

The Root of Postpartum Hair Loss

First and foremost, there are four phases in the hair growth cycle and each phase varies in length:

  1. Anagen: Anagen is a period of new hair growth (or hair regrowth) that typically lasts between 3 to 5 years. Proud of your luscious locks? Chances are you’ve been carrying those strands for as long as you spent in high school (4 years)! About 90 percent of the hairs on your head are in the anagen phase. During pregnancy, hair remains in the anagen or growth phase longer as the body’s progesterone and estrogen levels soar.
  2. Catagen: Once the growth phase slows to an end, mature hair follicles shrink and the catagen period begins. 
  3. Telogen: Telogen is referred to as the resting phase and typically lasts about 3 months. As early as 24 hours postpartum, hormone levels begin to level out, thus the hair follicles transition to the telogen phase. Then, 10-16 weeks later, postpartum hair loss starts in the form of “telogen effluvium”. This type of hair loss is the body’s physiological response to stress (yeah, I’m looking at your childbirth!)
  4. Exogen: Exogen is the hair shedding phase. If this makes you feel better, it’s normal to lose 50-100 hairs per day during this phase. No need to gasp in horror at the hairbrush or shower drain, especially if you have long hair which makes it look even more severe. Though hair loss is natural and necessary for hair health, excessive hair loss is different. Although shedding 50-100 hairs daily is normal, during postpartum hair loss, you might start to form breakage, thinning hair, and bald spots at the crown of the head.

Ultimately, postpartum hair loss comes down to hormonal changes. Thyroid issues, alopecia, anemia, and tight hair styling can exacerbate postpartum hair loss as well. But, hormone therapy is not necessarily the key to healthy hair growth! I’ve found that by eating a healthy diet (with the help of dietary supplements and vitamins) and doing the occasional specialty hair growth treatment, baby bangs don’t have to be your future!

My Postpartum Hair Growth Routine

RED LIGHT CAPS

A hair growth treatment that works while I work or spend time with the kids? Yes please! Red light caps, sometimes called red light laser caps, are essentially a hair or lightweight helmet that exposes the scalp to red LED light therapy. As opposed to greasy leave-in hair products and even some hair loss drugs, red light therapy has been proven time and time again to be a safe natural treatment for hair loss. I’m currently using the iRestore Laser Hair Regrowth Cap ($695, Amazon.com) once per day.

Red light works by stimulating the mitochondria of the cells, reducing oxidative stress, and increasing circulation similar to natural sunlight exposure but without the harmful UV rays. A 2019 meta-analysis examined 8 clinical studies, comprising a total of 11 double-blind randomized controlled trials, and found that low treatment frequency of low-level laser therapy significantly increased hair density for both men and women. A 2017 clinical study conducted specifically on women ages 18-60 who were experiencing hair loss found that laser treatment of the scalp every other day for 17 weeks resulted in a 51% increase in hair counts

While the up-front cost of the device may seem expensive, when you compare it to the price of hair loss medications and other in-office treatments, it becomes much more affordable. Especially if you have more than one child!

COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS

Collagen is one of the best hair supplements around. Though many people view protein powders as strictly for devout gym-goers and bodybuilders, collagen has amazing benefits for hair, skin, and nails. When we’re young, the body produces high levels of collagen to keep our hair, muscles, joints, nails, and more strong and healthy. As we age and become more exposed to free radicals and accumulate oxidative stress, collagen production dies down. One of the biggest side effects of this drop in collagen is hair loss and breakage. 

When consumed, collagen is broken down into amino acids. Some of which are used to produce keratin, the protein hair follicles are composed of. Additionally, some preliminary studies have shown that collagen can protect hair follicles from free radicals through its antioxidant properties. It’s well documented that collagen supplementation strengthens the dermis and boosts skin elasticity which can also contribute to nourishing the scalp and promoting hair growth. 

Buyer beware – clever skincare companies often sell “volumizing collagen-infused conditioners” and products of the like. However, collagen proteins are too large to penetrate the skin or hair follicles, meaning all that precious collagen will wash right down the drain. Instead, collagen treatments need to work their way from the inside out.

I have been using Amandean’s Premium Marine Collagen daily in my morning tea, coffee, smoothies, oats, or whatever I feel like whipping up for breakfast. As opposed to other multicollagen supplements which are drowning in artificial sweeteners and get their collagen from less pure sources (like chicken collagen), Amandean derives their collagen from 100% sustainably caught wild cod. Not only is marine collagen more sustainable and clean than other animal sources, but it’s also more bioavailable meaning it can be used by the body more efficiently. I’ve tried other collagen supplements and have found that Amandean’s marine collagen made my hair look shiner, feel softer, and grow thicker than any other collagen supplement out there.

BIOTIN-BASED VITAMINS

Many postpartum hair loss vitamins tout biotin as their shining ingredient. Biotin has long been regarded as one of the most important vitamins to maintaining healthy hair and nails. 

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin sometimes called vitamin H, vitamin B7, vitamin B8, or Coenzyme R. Biotin cannot be produced by the body, so without the help of a multivitamin, you must eat biotin-rich foods instead such as fatty fish, nuts, and eggs.

In a 2012 study, women experiencing hair loss were given a daily biotin supplement for 180 days. At the 90 day marker, the participants perceived more hair volume, scalp coverage, and thickness. After 180 days, even more participants also reported improvements in hair shine, skin moisture retention, and skin smoothness.

Rather than taking a strictly biotin supplement, I prefer a multivitamin with at least 30 to 100 mcg of biotin plus vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E for more hair and total-body nourishment. Because biotin and collagen are safe to take together, I recommend using both daily to help boost postpartum hair growth and promote healthier hair at any stage. 

PRENATAL VITAMINS DURING POSTPARTUM

Prenatal vitamins contain ingredients that both mother and baby need, like iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin E, and zinc. For a long time, it was recommended that women continue taking prenatal vitamins for as long as they are breastfeeding. Nowadays, many companies are creating postnatal vitamins that contain higher doses of Vitamin D3, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 instead. All of these vitamins will not only fortify breastmilk, but they also support healthy cellular functioning and hair growth.

Whether pre or post-natal vitamins fit the bill, if you are breastfeeding make sure your vitamin includes:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron
  • Vitamin D
  • DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid

I recommend GNC Women’s Ultra Mega Vitamins and have been taking them for the past few months postpartum.

Bottom Line

My postpartum hair growth routine is nothing overly time-consuming, but it’s been working. While I’m still experiencing some hair loss, it’s nothing like the hair loss I experienced following the birth of my son in 2018. By understanding what it is that makes the hair fall out and then filling in nutritional gaps, postpartum hair loss can be managed and stopped in its tracks. To follow along with my hair growth journey and all the ups and downs of the postpartum stage (including the occasional cute baby picture), follow me on Instagram!

1 Comment. Leave new

  • Cheap Private Proxies
    March 6, 2022 11:38 am

    Heya this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skills so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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