Many physical changes occur during pregnancy and postpartum, also affecting the condition of the hair. Does hair grow more during pregnancy? Is it usual to fall after giving birth? When is that fall slowed and capillary density recovered? Ricardo Moreno Alonso de Celada, dermatologist at the University Hospital of Henares , in Coslada (Madrid), answers the most frequently asked questions.
“Hair loss is a constant throughout life, it is physiological. In our hair, under normal circumstances, there is always a part of the hair that is growing, another that has stopped growing and another that is detaching, ”Moreno contextualizes. At some times, in relation to situations that affect our health, we suffer effluviums, or periods where we have a hair loss superior to the physiological one. One characteristic is postpartum telogen effluvium, which occurs 3 or 4 months after giving birth.
Causes and solutions for hair loss after childbirth
It seems that during pregnancy the amount of hair growing increases, due to estrogen , increased in the pregnant woman during the months of pregnancy. Therefore, “at the end of pregnancy and suddenly changing the hormonal pattern, many hairs enter synchronously in the detention or telogen phase, and 3 or 4 months later they detach from their roots,” explains the dermatology specialist.
As we see, Moreno continues, telogen effluvium is nothing more than a striking way that our hair has to return to normal ; and the organism is able to regulate this phenomenon alone. But it must be borne in mind that during pregnancy and postpartum, exceptional nutritional circumstances such as iron deficiency can occur , and this could contribute to aggravate the effluvium or to not recover normally. Therefore, postpartum feeding should not be different, it must be careful and adequate, any nutritional deficit must be detected and, sometimes, we have to use dietary supplements to contribute to the recovery of the organism.
Over time, does all that amount of lost hair recover?
“Typically, all lost hair is recovered when there are no aggravating factors. Capillary density has usually returned to normal 12 months after delivery. The normal thing is that the evident effluvium (the period in which we observe the greatest fall) lasts less than six months, but a later period is necessary until the detached hair is repopulated ”, says the dermatologist of the Henares University Hospital.
Some women comment that they lose hair during pregnancy. It is common?
In addition to physiological hair loss (from 100 to 150 hairs per day in a normal way, and less during pregnancy), during pregnancy, thyroid disorders, iron deficiency (decreased iron in the body) or other metabolism situations are possible. they make the hair loss increase, instead of decreasing – as it is in the pregnant woman.
Others report having stronger hair during pregnancy. It is a myth?
“During pregnancy we will have less hair in detention and fall, but the thickness or resistance of most of the hair does not increase with respect to its normal state,” says Moreno.
Can a thyroid malfunction influence a greater hair loss?
Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism associate effluvium in a very characteristic way by different mechanisms. In fact, since both disorders of the thyroid gland are possible and relatively common during pregnancy, a striking hair loss in this period should alert us to the possibility of a thyroid problem.
Hair dyes, pregnancy and lactation
“ Hair dyes are a group of cosmetic products well studied and that pass strict safety controls, so we can make it clear that their use is safe in pregnancy . They are also considered safe during breastfeeding , according to the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, ” says the specialist in Dermatology. This expert points out that it is only true that some permanent synthetic dyes, which are the most used, carry oxidizing substances such as monoethanolamine or hydrogen peroxide and can damage the hair shaft and increase the fall, especially if they are in high concentrations.
Other dyes are at risk of allergic contact dermatitis, especially those containing paraphenylenediamine. These circumstances are not specific to pregnancy, but it may be desirable to avoid them during this special period of life.