Pregnancy Hair Changes
Causes of Hair Changes during Pregnancy
Changes to hair and the scalp. Many women notice that the hair on their head is thicker during pregnancy. Many lose a lot of hair a few weeks, or even months after delivery. These changes are normal. Hair growth generally returns to its regular growing cycle within six months after delivery.
When you’re not pregnant, the hairs on your head grow in a regular cycle. Each hair:
· Usually grows about one-half inch per month for anywhere from two to six years
· Then goes into a “resting” phase for 2 or 3 months
· Then gradually falls out, usually when you’re brushing or washing your hair
The growth cycle then starts again. At any one time, about 10 percent of the hair on your scalp is in a resting phase, and about 90 percent is growing.
During pregnancy, hairs tend to stay in the resting phase longer. And much more of your hair is in the resting phase, therefore, fewer hairs fall out each day. This causes your hair to seem thicker and fuller.
After delivery, this resting phase shortens. More hairs fall out, and you start to grow new hair. But the normal hair loss that was delayed by pregnancy tends to take place all at one time. This may cause your hair to seem thinner than usual.
Other hair growth. Some women also develop more hair on their chin, upper lip, cheeks, arms and legs during pregnancy. You also may notice new hairs (sometimes even just one or two) on your breasts, belly and back.
Pregnancy hormones and increased cortisone cause this type of hair growth during pregnancy. This growth usually lessens within about six months after pregnancy.
Hair Changes: What You Can Do
Hair growth on the face, arms and legs during pregnancy is normal. Your hair growth should return to its regular cycle within six months after delivery.
To get rid of unwanted hair growth, you can safely tweeze, wax or shave. Avoid using bleaches or depilatories that can be absorbed into the skin. Permanent hair-removal techniques (such as electrolysis) are thought to be safe during pregnancy. But they can be painful or uncomfortable.
You can do several things to have a healthier head of hair during pregnancy and after delivery:
· Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables. These may provide protection for the hair shafts and encourage hair growth.
· Be gentle with your hair when it is fragile and wet. Avoid fine-tooth combs.
· Avoid using blow dryers and other heated hair instruments. If you must use a hair dryer, use cooler settings.
· Avoid pigtails, cornrows, tight braids and tight hair rollers. They can pull and stress your hairs.
When to Talk to Your Health Care Provider
Some hair thinning in the months after delivery is normal. Your hair should return to its normal growing cycle without any special treatment. This hair thinning is usually not serious enough to cause bald spots or permanent hair loss.
If you have a lot of hair loss or lose quarter-size patches of hair, you may not be getting enough vitamins or minerals. It may also be a sign of a medical problem unrelated to your pregnancy (such as a skin disease or a thyroid disorder). Talk to your health care provider if you feel that your hair loss is unusual or excessive.
Fuller, thicker hair is one benefit of pregnancy for some women and a myth for others. Pregnancy hormones can affect every woman’s hair differently. For some, the increased estrogen causes their hair to grow thick and fast, while others find that their hair goes limp and even falls out. To encourage healthy hair, make sure you eat well and get all your essential nutrients. Your hair is part of your skin system so the healthier you are: the healthier and more beautiful your hair will be.
Even if you are one of the lucky ones who experiences increased hair growth, it may behave differently than your pre-pregnancy hair. Dry hair may become oilier, oily hair may become dry. Curly hair may become straight, or vice versa. Your hair will take perms and coloring differently, and may also grow in areas where you may wish it didn’t such as your face, abdomen, back, and legs.
Hair loss during pregnancy may be the result of iron, iodine, or protein deficiencies which can also cause your hair to become dry and brittle and grow in lighter than your normal color. Many pregnant women don’t get enough iron, especially women who are experiencing severe morning sickness or are not getting proper nutrition. Foods that are particularly good for your hair include yogurt; fresh fruit and vegetables; cold pressed oils; pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds; whole grains such as brown rice and oats; and almonds, figs, and dates.
To combat undernourished hair, massage your scalp for five or ten minutes every day to stimulate circulation. Every few weeks, turn this into an aromatherapy massage by adding a few drops of essential oils (such as lavender, neroli, patchouli, sandalwood, or ylang ylang) to a half-cup of warm vegetable oil. Massage the oil onto your scalp and hair ends, then wrap your hair in a warm towel and relax for ten minutes. If your hair is dry, wash it less frequently. The natural oils your body produces are good for your hair and scalp – washing it two or three times a week is more than enough. When you do shampoo, use a mild, low-detergent shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner. Whenever possible, let your hair air dry since blow drying and curling irons increase dryness and damage. Your Strands stylist will be able to assist you with treatments, products or special procedures. She/He will also be able to recommend the time to see a physician.
Many pregnant women want to try a new hairstyle that is easy to manage which often means they decide to cut their hair short. But short hair may actually be harder and more time-consuming to style than long hair which can be pulled back into a clip or ponytail. Also, a drastic change may not look as good with your face shape as you had imagined. Remember that your face shape may change as your pregnancy progresses and as you put on weight. Long, straight hair can create the illusion of a slender face.
If you usually color your hair, talk to your obstetrician about any color treatment you are planning during your pregnancy. Some animal studies have shown that a few of the chemical compounds in hair dyes can cause birth defects. However, in many of these studies the animals were exposed to extremely high doses of the chemicals – more than a woman would ever come in contact with while coloring her hair every month or two. The Organization of Teratology Information Services, which provides information on potential reproductive risks, says that coloring your hair during pregnancy is probably safe. Most experts agree, however, that it’s best to wait to color your hair until after your first trimester. To limit the absorption of any chemicals into your bloodstream, avoid processes that touch the skin and scalp, such as single-process coloring. Highlights are a good alternative since they involve painting sections of your hair with permanent color, which does not come into contact with your scalp or skin. Your Strands stylist can recommend non ammonia permanent or semi permanent ammonia free or ionic coloring systems that are safer. She/He is trained to work with your concerns and comfort levels.
When styling your hair during pregnancy, make the most of however your hair has decided to behave. If it is straight and limp, work a volumizing product through hair at the roots and blow dry upside down to increase volume. If you have curls, tame any frizzies by working in a curl-defining product and letting it dry naturally. If you’re not sure what to do, consult with your stylist on how to maximize your new pregnancy hair.
Once you have given birth, don’t be alarmed if your hair – be it limp or full – begins falling out in handfuls. Most women experience increased hair loss between 3 and 6 months after giving birth. Your hormones are simply returning to normal and it may take a couple of growth cycles (several years) before your hair completely returns to normal.
You have discovered you are pregnant and you immediately start to investigate the latest information on nutrican, exersicse and health for you and the baby growing within you. Everything is going great until you notice it is time for your next hair appointment. The hair has grown out and there are visible roots in a different colour. What to do? Can you stand the site for the months to come or is there an alternative. Your friends are, as always, a great help as there advice ranges from – do not even think about it – to no problem no ill effects have ever been proven.
Urs at Strands tells me, that there are two experts on this issue. You and what you feel comfortable with and your hairstylist. Your stylist understands your conundrum and has to deal with this issue on an almost daily base. With her/his help you will discover that there are colouring products approved by the FDA to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. There are natural products and ionic colours that do not need any developers (that is the liquid that transports colour pigments). Also most stylists have developed techniques to colour or highlight hair with out any product actually touching your scalp. If your decision is to stay away from chemicals during this time your stylist will respect that and may suggest a different hairstyle or a different styling technique to camouflage those annoying roots.
Your stylist is trained to help you thru all the changes you will encounter during your pregnancy and after. Keep in mind everybody reacts differently and what worked for your friends and the other women in your family may not apply to you at all. Your regular stylist knows you and your hair and could be a good adviser and calm helper. He/she will look foreword to baby’s first haircut and will be –if possible-even more exited then you are.