If fatigue and stress often accompany the first weeks of a young mother’s life, the drop in hormones after childbirth can also cause postpartum alopecia. What to do and how to prevent this hair loss after baby is born? Update with dermatologist Ségolène Fays-Michel.
The life of a hair involves 3 steps : the so-called “anagen” growth phase (the growth is 1 mm per day and lasts between 3 to 7 years), the “catagen” activity phase (the hair stops growing and this period lasts about 3 weeks), and finally the so-called phase “telogen“(the hair dies, gradually dislodged and replaced by a new hair. This stage lasts 2 to 3 months). However,”during pregnancy, these cycles are disrupted because estrogens are then produced in large quantities “ explains dermatologist Ségolène Fays-Michel. These hormones are beneficial on the scalp by increasing the vascularization of the hair bulb. Consequence: the telogen phase is lengthened and the hair falls much less than normal. Your hair is often more beautiful and abundant during pregnancy.
The causes of alopecia postpartum are therefore above all hormonal. At delivery, the sudden drop in estrogen levels puts an end to this phenomenon, and about three months later (end of the normal telogen phase), the hair begins to fall profusely. But hormones are not the only cause of postpartum hair loss. Also cumulate childbirth stress and fatigue the first months of life with your baby. “The stress, whether physical or psychological, causes a desynchronization of the cycle and the sudden transition to the rest phase of the hair, which then begins to fall” explains Dr. Fays-Michel. Food of young mothers is not necessarily optimal either often due to lack of time. And diaper return and its abundant blood loss, increases an iron deficiency already frequently caused by childbirth. Finally, “seeing your hair fall can create stress aggravating the whole” adds Ségolène Michel.
“Alopecia can last up to 4 months or even 8 months after delivery in the most serious cases ” as the dermatologist points out.
There are three types of treatments against postpartum alopecia. They can be :
- Local : You apply a lotion based on keratin and group B vitamins (B5, B6, B8) which protects the bulb and solidifies the hair fiber. In addition, massaging the scalp when shampooing also has a stimulating effect on hair growth, taking care not to rub it so as not to sensitize the already weakened hair.
- Orals: A treatment based on trace elements can also help make up for possible mineral and vitamin deficiencies. They are generally based on vitamins A, B, E, zinc and magnesium, and participate in the formation and strengthening of hair keratin. However, certain food supplements are not recommended in the event of breast-feeding, it will be necessary to seek the opinion of its doctor or pharmacist.
- Hormonal: You will be prescribed treatment in the event of persistent hormonal imbalance diagnosed by a specialist.
This postpartum alopecia can go away on its own, however “if the hair loss persists beyond 4 months, it is better to make an appointment with your doctor who will prescribe a treatment “ advises the dermatologist. It is also best to consult if you are concerned about this hair loss, if it lasts beyond 4 to 5 months or if you notice a decrease in the density of your hair.
All young mothers face the decrease in estrogen, in fact, hair loss is almost inevitable. However, “it can vary in intensity depending on the women, sometimes going as far as impacting 30% of the hair mass” notes Dr. Fays-Michel. Also, to limit the intensity or / and the duration of this postpartum alopecia, the dermatologist suggests, in addition to the treatments if necessary, to encourage the young mother to take care of her, to agree a little time to relax, unwind and adopt a balanced and varied diet.