Natural Treatments For Postpartum Hair Loss Explained

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The period of postpartum is no joke, let me tell you. It’s one of the most sensitive and volatile times for everyone involved. There are women who may experience a certain amount of hair loss sometime after delivery (as if they didn’t have enough going on already, right?), and this post is all about natural treatments for postpartum hair loss.

Like other post-delivery symptoms, this is a condition that won’t affect all postpartum mothers. Some ladies will breeze right through it, while others will find themselves frustrated and dejected, with hair clogging up their drain. At times like that, you just find yourself questioning everything and everyone around you. I’ve been there. The struggle is real.

Why Do Women Lose Hair Postpartum?

Close up of baby feet.

Newborn baby feet.

Hormonal changes are a big part of pregnancy and delivery alike. A few months after giving birth, your body is still trying to get itself sorted out. Sometimes it seems as if you seriously can’t win, but only cope. What a crazy (albeit natural) time it is to be human. And if you are breastfeeding, you are altogether tired, drained, aching, somewhat-dehumanized, and sleep-deprived as it is. If I remember correctly, so far the results are inconclusive regarding the effects of breastfeeding on hair loss, but some say there is a connection.

Not unlike hair loss which occurs while the body is still pregnant, postpartum alopecia (the term for post-delivery hair loss) is a temporary condition which works itself out in time. When the body returns to a more normal mode of being, and the hormones are back in balance, that is when the hair usually grows back and comes in normally.

Females lose hair postpartum due to the higher numbers of female hormones. These are the very same ones that cause hair growth and thickening during pregnancy. In the process of returning to normal, the hairs which -- during pregnancy -- were in the midst of a growth phase, now move into their shedding phase. This is why hair loss usually happens several months or so after delivery.

The reason why this may seem like excessive shedding is because many hairs will be moving into the shedding phase at the same time, after having been locked into growth mode during pregnancy and post-delivery. Again, remember that some women are seriously affected by it, while others don’t experience it in the least. Also, studies have so far not found a real difference between loss of hair during pregnancy to loss of hair after pregnancy.

Postpartum Hair Loss Tips

There are no tips that will get you back to normal immediately. Like pregnancy and delivery itself, it is a long and drawn-out process. Getting the body back to the way it was can often take months or more because it has been through some serious trauma. Furthermore, the newborn takes a lot out of you, physically and mentally, especially during the first year, so the chances of getting on any kind of a normal schedule are slim.

Sure, there are some ladies who can be seen feeling the burn at the gym or gallivanting on a beach in a polka-dot two-piece a mere 17 days after giving birth. Good for them… but most women are not like that. With a new baby comes nursing or bottle-feeding, sleep deprivation, poor diet, lack of serious physical activity, loss of independence, loss of intimacy or romance, and sometimes even depression. 

Well, there are actions you can take to help out with hair loss if you are one of the 50% or so that suffer from it at one time or another after giving birth.

1. Healthy Diet

Assorted toasts with different toppings.

Healthy diet options.

Your hair follicles get their nourishment from the blood which is circulating all over your body. The hair roots don’t change their basic requirements due to pregnancy or delivery. In other words, give your follicles the nutrients they thrive on, and you can help them remain strong and steadfast to weather the hormonal storm. 

Foods that are rich in Vitamin E, biotin (aka Vitamin H or B7), good fatty acids, iron and zinc, other helpful acids and minerals -- these can all serve to strengthen your hair and make it fuller, longer, and more resilient. And not just on your head, but all over. These nutrients also help the skin and nails!

2. Castor Oil

Woman with curly hair putting hair oil drops in her hair.

Woman using hair oil.

This is an oil which has been highly recommended regardless of postpartum hair loss, as a way to grow thicker, longer, healthier hair, and to do so naturally and in a more expedient way. It possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties and an extremely helpful Omega fatty acid which has been said to work miracles. Obviously, the claim of divine miracles is not been backed by modern science -- yet.

Using castor oil on your scalp will improve circulation to the area. It will also combat conditions or infections which may be in the offing and help with proper pH balance. Additionally, it can also lend a hand in normalizing the production of sebum (the body’s natural oil). All of this equals a product which can do a lot for you, and to top it all off it is one of the most affordable oils around!

3. Vitamins

I mentioned Vitamin E and biotin (Vitamin H or B7) earlier since they play a significant role in nourishing the hair follicles and keeping the strands looking good and healthy. Other vitamins are also capable of aiding the body’s return to normal, and the quicker your body gets over the ordeal of pregnancy and delivery, the quicker your hair will return to its natural cycle.

Much like prenatal vitamins are given to expecting mothers to aid them with the process of pregnancy and ensure they are getting what they need, there are certain vitamins and nutrients which are recommended for postpartum mothers who wish to regain their balance. Other than the aforementioned E and B7, there are also Vitamin C and Vitamin D which are quite helpful. Minerals are also grouped in there, even though they are not vitamins, per se, and the two main ones are iron and zinc.

4. Gentle Comb

Hands taking hair out of hair brush.

Woman brushing hair.

This one seems like it could be easily ignored, but it is actually very important. Things like diet, oil, and vitamins are largely helpful, and there is no doubt about that. But if you are physically tearing your hair out and violently weakening the roots by using the wrong kind of comb or an aggressive technique, then all of those helpful tips are for naught. 

During those first months, and probably even afterward, using a wide-tooth comb is advisable. Those types of combs are vastly more gentle on the hair than your ordinary narrow ones. Also, pay attention to your conditioner, and make sure that you use a good one which will detangle your locks without harming you, and which will also allow for gentler combing after you wash your hair. A softer brush is also a good option.

5. Change Up Your Hair Style

If you can’t beat them, join them. Sometimes there is simply no time to commit to changes in diet, vitamin supplementation, or to regular application of oil on the scalp. In that case, you can simply ride it out, embrace it, and/or change your hairstyle to a more comfortable one!

It can really, really take a lot of you, to suddenly feel like you are losing all of your hair. Again, as if you didn’t have enough on your plate… It’s not an easy situation for any woman, let alone one which has recently shoved a human being out of her body. But if you take this loss of hair as an opportunity to get a new style done, it could be that you will mind it a lot less. Consider it -- a new ‘do for a new you!

DIY Hair Serum For Postpartum Hair Loss

Womans hands pouring essential oil on cotton pad.

Woman making her own serum.

There is no real “cure” or solution for this type of condition. It’s just a matter of letting it pass and doing the best you can in the meantime, while your body sorts itself out. But you can concoct a serum which may help your body combat the hair loss. As mentioned, you may not be in that mental or physical place at all. You may not want to have the added responsibility of applying a hair serum. Fair enough. But for those who may be interested, here is a very basic DIY hair serum. I encourage you to experiment with it and find what works for you, because this is not a black and white situation, and we all respond differently to different substances or nutrients. You’ll need:

  • A clean (ideally sterilized) glass vial, or container
  • Jojoba oil OR Coconut oil OR Sweet almond oil (4 tbsp)
  • Avocado oil (2 tbsp)
  • Vitamin E oil capsules (3-4)

Pour the jojoba or coconut or almond oil into the container, add the avocado oil and mix well. Add the contents of the Vitamin E capsules to the mix.

Apply a small amount to your palm and use all over your scalp, massaging it in. Following that, comb out your hair gently so the serum can reach everywhere. Repeat once or twice a day, and rinse off using a light and non-aggressive shampoo.

This recipe is not written in stone, and there are many other oils and recipes which can be beneficial. Make sure to do what feels right to you, since you are the one who is dealing with the condition. 

You may also like our Argan Shampoo for Postpartum Hair Loss

Conclusion

Hair remains hair, which means that whether you are pregnant or not, postpartum or not, female or not -- your hair is still made up of the very same building blocks, namely protein. Helpful advice and essential oil serums notwithstanding, the fundamental cry of “just make sure you eat right and get the proper nutrients into your system” still carries plenty of weight.

Treat your hair right, since it has also been through a lot. Your hair is not a separate entity or external part of you. Its strands may be technically dead, but it is still a part of the living breathing you, and as such, there are ways to help it out: scalp massages, hair masks, and as little interference carried by heat and industrial chemicals as possible.

During those crucial postpartum months, you need to take care of yourself and of the baby. Please make a serious attempt to treat yourself right, even though it might be hard because you are going to need help getting back on track. It may take a long time for you to get back to normal, back to balance, back to reality. Don’t be hard on yourself and judge yourself too harshly if you can’t do it as quickly as you thought. Look after yourself and your little one and your hair will thank you for it in due season, along with the rest of your body and your family.