By now you've likely heard from your doctor...maybe your mother... or your own web research (high five google): your postpartum hair loss is hormonal.
Losing your hair about 12 weeks after delivery is completely normal and stems from estrogen and hormones dropping rapidly. But what you may not know is as a new mom there is probably things occurring in your daily routine that are making it worse. Here are a few:
1. Wearing a ponytail every day
To be honest I don't personally know a single Mom who doesn't wear their hair pulled back almost every day of new mom life. However, it really isn't ideal for the hair.
Pulling the hair back and tying it can start to cause breakage where strands are being held by the elastic. Where there's breakage there is split ends.
This is amplified by sleeping with hair pulled back as well, or going days with basically the same ponytail. If you are wearing your hair up in a ponytail multiple days in a row your hair is likely going to become more tangled than if you left it down.
As a new mom it certainly may seem easier to deal with having hair pulled back (away from a babies grabby hands) but the detangling and breakage might be worse than you anticipate.
If you are going to go the pony route the best thing you can do is invest in some silk or soft scrunchies and brush your hair regularly. Investing in a quality detangling spray our deep conditioner for you ends would go a long way as well.
One noteworthy mention is that traction alopecia: a form of hair loss in which mechanical damage to the hair follicle is caused by repeated tension or pulling can occur when hair is pulled back daily.
This is especially amplified when hair is pulled back tightly and while it can typically be resolved by breaking the tension pulling habit, some of the consequences can be far reaching.
Big advice here: Moms, stop yanking your hair back too tightly. On top of postpartum hair loss you could experience permanent hair loss where your hair is most fragile, along your hairline.
Oh, and one more thing.
Got scalp pain? It's possible wearing your hair back daily is at the root (pun).
If you aren't taking care of your scalp and just throwing your hair in a pony daily you will likely experience some form of discomfort.
When hair and scalp lack stimulation they can become sore.
It's a surprising effect of daily ponytail use so if you are guilty and currently on day 3 of that pony you might want to do a little impromptu scalp massage.
Telogen effluvium the same name for postpartum hair loss is the exact same type of hair loss associated with stress.
It really is no surprise that so many new moms, especially this past year (Covid-19, kids at home, stepping in and pulling double duties as mom, teacher, chef, you name it) have been describing extreme hair loss to their doctors.
Stress Telogen effluvium is when significant stress pushes large numbers of hair follicles into the resting phase.
For a new mom already dealing with hormones and estrogen levels changing additional stress can prolong the length of time hair sheds and cause additional amounts.
It seems impossible for a new mom to destress. I 100% get it. Do your best to try and find your calm or its likely you are contributing to longer and more severe shedding.
3. Not Sleeping:
Sleep Junkie recently conducted a survey to see how much sleep new parents get and their findings? On average of 5-6 hours for moms of 18 month olds and younger.
Likely not shocking information to you Mom since you are living it but what's somewhat concerning about that is getting the proper amount of sleep is so highly important for your hair.
In addition to affecting your ability to produce adequate amounts of human growth hormone, sleeping helps your body production of melatonin which is linked to hair growth.
A good nights sleep is required for the protein synthesis of the hair and then the release of enzymes and growth hormones that are necessary for hair health. When this happens hair grows. Actually studies have shown good sleep = good hair growth.
It's likely if you feel like you've lost so much hair and it just isn't growing in, your lack of good sleep is a major reason.
4. Snacking/Poor nutrition:
Moms are constantly doing a million things and it may seem easy to grab junk food, take-out (oily) or a snack but it could really be impacting the health of your hair.
Junk food is typically laden with saturated and monounsaturated fats which yes can cause dietary issues along with heart disease, but they can also make you lose your hair. Diets rich in these fats can elevate levels of DHT hormone which is related to alopecia (typically shown with bald patches on the head- or increase in hair loss).
Additionally oily foods can make your scalp greasy! The link with nutrition is real. It can clog pores and cause miniaturization of hair follicles.
Diet is one of the easiest to remedy. Feed your body with healthy nutritious foods and your hair will thank you. Purchasing or planning high protein and healthy snacks are key during the months after baby and you'll really notice how it affects not only your hair but your skin as well.
Do your best to prevent hair loss and promote growth by eliminating any of the above and your hair will likely thank you. As a new mom it can be challenging to de-stress and find that sacred sleep. Go easy on yourself and do your best. Control your controllables, take your vitamins, and love those babies.