As many postpartum birthing parents know ― but few discuss ― after gaining a family member, they often lose a ton of hair.
In a recent Instagram story, former “Glee” actress and new mom Lea Michele revealed she was losing hair by the clump. “Enjoying this long hair while it lasts because the mom bob is right around the corner,” she shared in a candid mirror selfie.
In a 2019 interview with HuffPost Canada, Dr. Jeff Donovan, a dermatologist and president of the Canadian Hair Loss Foundation, said that postpartum hair loss (PPHL) usually occurs around three to six months after delivery and can last another six months after that.
While most women experience some hair shedding after giving birth, it’s “particularly noticeable” in about 60 to 70 per cent of women, Donovan said. The dermatologist described the phenomenon as “extremely distressing.”
“Some women are extremely worried and upset by their hair loss, especially those that have intensive amounts of shedding and loss,” he said. “And some women with postpartum shedding can lose significant amounts of hair, even to the point of feeling more comfortable using a wig short term.”
Watch: Postpartum hair loss is no joke (but this video is hilarious!). Story continues below.
According to the Canadian Hair Loss Foundation, research suggests that “a drop in hormones, especially estrogen, after delivery results in hairs being shed.”
If, like Michele, you are going through postpartum hair loss, the new parent had a few tips to share in a follow-up Instagram story on Wednesday.
She suggested paying extra attention to the foods you consume during this phase. The actress has been incorporating fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins into her diet. “Some suggested foods include eggs (vitamin D), dark leafy greens (vitamin C and iron) [and] fish (omegas and magnesium),” she wrote. She is also continuing to take her prenatal vitamins.
And she added, “A lot of my mommy friends […] also said to avoid using too much heat on your hair and tight ponytails.”
In a blog post for the Donovan Hair Loss Clinic, Dr. Donovan also recommends avoiding combing hair while it’s wet, using a light conditioner formulated for fine hair (so the hair doesn’t get weighed down and look even thinner), and getting a shorter cut to create more volume.
The dermatologist also emphasized that sharing with other new birthing parents is often a positive experience for those going through postpartum hair loss.
“With so much focus on the new baby, there is often little attention given to the concerns of the new mom,” the doctor wrote. “It is normal to be worried about hair loss. Talking with others, especially other mothers who experienced hair loss, can be helpful.”
Ironically, Michelle was under fire last summer for allegedly threatening to “shit in” a fellow “Glee” castmate’s wig. Samantha Ware said Michelle abused her power as a lead and subjected Ware to racist aggressions while on set. Ware’s allegations lead other Black castmates to also come forward with their stories, and Michelle eventually apologized publicly to Ware.
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