Hair loss isn’t anything unusual — in fact, the average person loses about 50 to 100 hairs per day! But if you’re a mom-to-be (or a new mom), you may notice stark changes in your hair that you didn’t sign up for.
First order of business: Take a deep breath and know that you’re definitely not alone.
What’s up with my hair?
In pregnancy, a lot of women experience thicker, shinier and healthier hair overall — this is due to increased hormone levels which slow down the rate of hair loss, explains Papri Sarkar, MD, a dermatologist at Northeast Dermatology Associates in Boston, Massachusetts.
“Although women aren’t necessarily growing many more strands of hair, they’re keeping more of them,” she says.
But that often changes around 3 to 6 months postpartum, when hormone levels decrease and those extra hairs the body was holding onto start shedding. Sleepless nights and stressful days spent calming a fussy newborn certainly don’t help your hair return to normal either.
Postpartum hair loss is usually temporary, but it can leave you with thinning hair and baby hairs around your hairline that can be difficult to style.
Luckily, there are a handful of products out there that can help combat pesky side effects of postpartum hair loss. Here are some of the best on the market that dermatologists recommend to their new-parent patients.
- $ = under $10
- $$ = $10–$30
- $$$ = $30–$50
- $$$$ = over $50
Shampoos and conditioners
When searching for a conditioner to help thicken postpartum hair, Zenovia Gabriel, MD, a dermatologist based in Newport Beach, California, suggests opting for one that’s lightweight to avoid weighing it down — like this one from John Freida.
One of the key ingredients in this conditioner is caffeine, which helps support hair growth in a gentle manner, so it’s safe (and well-priced) for everyday use.
And if you’re a whole-package kind of person, start with the brand’s shampoo.
Nutrafol consists of plant-based ingredients and marine collagen (which the brand stresses is sourced from North Atlantic cod, as opposed to more at-risk marine life like sharks).
“It contains all natural ingredients that work to balance dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone involved in some cases of male-or-female pattern baldness,” explains Rina Allawh, MD, a dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Considerations: Like Viviscal, Nutrafol may not be suitable for use in breastfeeding (or pregnant) women, as well as those with medical conditions that require the use of blood-thinning drugs. Also, a few reviewers comment on symptoms of nausea, frustrating packaging, and a high price tag.
A note on safety
As they’re not regulated by the FDA, oral supplements are tricky. Before taking any sort of supplement while pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s best to consult a lactation specialist or your OB-GYN.
Dealing with hair thinning or hair loss seems like a small price to pay for bringing your incredible, tiny human into the world — but that’s not to say it’s not frustrating.
Luckily, depending on what you’re willing to spend (money and time), there are products on the market that might help return some normalcy to your locks.