Pregnancy and postpartum hair is a total mind f**ck. During pregnancy, you might discover gorgeous, flowing, shiny locks – the likes of which you may have never seen. Then, following the birth of your babe, you might experience something similar to that scene of out the critically acclaimed 90’s film, The Craft (yeah, we went there), where fistfuls of hair will come out in the shower. On flip side, your hair might starting falling out during pregnancy and begin to grow back postpartum. Truly anything goes, which leaves us wondering WTF?!
But, before you freak out, just know that’s all entirely normal. Much like yourself and your bod, you hair is on a journey all its own during pregnancy and postpartum. Fortunately, our friends at Jupiter, the makers of luxe, clean, science-backed haircare products, outlined a few reasons why your hair changes during pregnancy and postpartum, and what you can do about it. While you’re at it, peep its new Daily Scalp Essential designed to foster thicker hair and a moisturized scalp.
(PS Jupiter is offering 15% off to first time customers with a minimum purchase of $40, and 20% off the first month of a supplement subscription with code: HATCHMAMA).
1. Hormonal shifts throughout pregnancy can impact the texture, health, and hydration of your hair and scalp.
The increase in estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy, paired with the dramatic decrease right after giving birth, contribute to changes to your scalp throughout your pregnancy. As you progress, and even in your “fourth trimester” you may notice rapid changes to your scalp, which in turn impacts hair strength and hair growth. Lets dive deeper below.
2. Many women experience a dry scalp during pregnancy.
Dry scalp throughout your pregnancy can be attributed to changes in diet due to cravings/aversions, increased stress and anxiety, and dehydration, especially during early pregnancy
Just like your diet can impact the skin on your face (hello pimples after a few too many greasy meals!), it also affects the skin on your scalp. As your diet changes throughout your pregnancy, certain foods can be linked to a dry and itchy scalp such as foods high in sugar, saturated fats, and dairy.
Increased stress and anxiety as you progress throughout your pregnancy can also be linked to a dry scalp. Stress can result in an inflammatory response in our skin, including the scalp.
Lastly, dehydration can also play a role in dry scalp. Dehydration is common in pregnancy as your body is hard at work, and breastfeeding in postpartum can also cause dehydration which directly affects your skin, scalp, and moisturization of your hair strands.
Look for a conditioner that adds much needed moisture to your hair and scalp, while also soothing the skin of your scalp that may be rough or irritated when dry. Check out Jupiter’s Nourishing Conditioner which is packed with luxe ingredients like colloidal oatmeal and probiotics that’ll leave your hair feeling silky fresh, while working behind the scenes to soothe and moisturize.
3. During pregnancy, rapidly changing hormone levels can cause increased sebum production which may result in dandruff and oily scalp.
Dr. Sherwin Parikh, founder of Tribeca Skin Center, notes that, “for some people, the hormonal changes in pregnancy lead to oilier scalp skin and increased sebum production. These changes allow for proliferation of yeast particles which can result in itching, inflammation, and flaking.”
He goes on to recommend products with “natural ingredients such as zinc and aloe vera…can calm (and even reverse) these problems; this leads to a healthier scalp without the use of harsh chemicals and prescriptions, many of which are contraindicated during pregnancy.”
Check out Jupiter’s Balancing Shampoo and Restoring Serum, both are formulated with the star active ingredient Zinc Pyrithione to help control oil production and keep flakes at bay, and they’re specially formulated without many of the surfactants and harsh chemicals found in most dandruff shampoos.
4. One-third of women experience a change in hair texture during pregnancy
It’s common to experience thicker hair during pregnancy. This is because higher estrogen levels during pregnancy keep hair in the growth phase, leading to added volume. Many women actually see a decrease in hair loss thanks to the increased estrogen levels. During pregnancy, normal hair loss may decrease to ~15 strands per day vs 100 per day when not pregnant.
With increased volume (woohoo!), it’s important to make sure your scalp is cleansed and balanced, especially if it’s supporting a few more hair strands than normal. We recommend a weekly exfoliation to rid the scalp of buildup from styling products and environmental debris with Jupiter’s Purifying Mask for a cooling and clarifying scalp reset before cleansing.
5. 40%-50% of women experience hair loss during pregnancy
On the other hand, some women can experience hair loss in pregnancy. There are a few potential causes. For starters, coming off the pill can cause hair loss related to hormonal fluctuations as hair growth can be influenced by our hormones. Estrogen, found in many oral birth control pills, helps hair strands stay in their growth phase. A sudden decrease in this hormone may be linked to shedding (which may not occur until weeks later).
Stress and anxiety can also be the culprit behind hair loss during pregnancy. Oftentimes a stressful first trimester (related to morning sickness, or general stress and anxiety around the change to your body and life), may lead to hair shedding later in your pregnancy.
6. Those who experience pregnancy related and postpartum hair loss see a return to normal, fuller hair within 6-12 months
After delivery, your hormones start to return to their normal levels, which causes the hair that was in a prolonged growth phase to fall out and return to the normal cycle. Your hair that was in the growth phase will start to enter the telogen resting state and fall out. While this can be a bit alarming, we promise there’s no need to worry.
The hair fall will start to subside and return to normal as your hormones normalize and your hair follicles rejuvenate. Those who experience pregnancy related hair loss usually see a return to normal, fuller hair within 6-12 months after delivery or stopping breastfeeding.