What Do You Know About Postpartum Alopecia?

The cause of postpartum alopecia is related to hormonal changes that occur during this phase. Learn all the details below.
What do you know about postpartum alopecia?

Postpartum alopecia is the temporary hair loss that occurs in most women who have given birth. It manifests itself two or three months after the baby is born. However, despite what some people think, it is not related to breastfeeding.

Causes of postpartum alopecia

woman in the puerperium

The cause of this type of alopecia is related to changes and temporary hormonal processes  that occur in the postpartum stage. However, other factors also influence, such as:

  • Stress: during this period, the mother may feel pressured or stressed by the new situation in her life.
  • Iron Levels : A decrease in iron levels occurs in a high percentage of women after childbirth and also causes hair loss.

Hair biological cycle

To understand the postpartum alopecia process, it is convenient to know the biological cycle of the hair. Each of the hair follicles has the capacity to develop 20 to 25 cycles. These cycles consist of 3 phases:

  • Anagen phase:  corresponds to the growth phase and lasts between 2 and 6 years.
  • Catagen phase: in this phase hair growth ceases. It lasts between 2 and 3 weeks.
  • Telogen phase : it is the phase in which the hair falls out. This process takes approximately 3 months. The anagen phase starts again in the same follicle.

Under normal conditions, 90% of hairs are in the growth phase,  while the remaining 10% are in the resting or shedding phase.

However,  estrogen and thyroid hormone levels keep hair in the anagen phase . For this reason, many pregnant women find that their hair is healthier and has more volume during the period of pregnancy.

postpartum alopecia

postpartum alopecia

After childbirth, hormone levels are rebalanced so that any hair that was in the anagen phase abruptly switches to the telogen phase. In this way, two or three months after the baby is born, the mother will suffer a sudden and diffuse postpartum alopecia.

If in the pre-gestational phase a woman lost between 50 and 100 hairs a day, during the postpartum period this number can triple, and she can even lose 500 hairs a day. Postpartum alopecia usually lasts four to six months,  although volume recovery takes a few more months.

Postpartum anemia and alopecia

or ferropenic anemia  is very common in women in the postpartum stage . This is due to considerable blood loss during childbirth and the puerperium.

Lack of iron leads to a decrease in hemoglobin; therefore, the necessary amount of oxygen cannot be transported to tissues. For this reason, the hair bulbs, in the long term, are not well nourished and weaken, which favors the appearance of postpartum alopecia.

Factors such as:

  • Fatigue.
  • Sleep deprivation.
  • Changing eating habits.
  • Stress related to new obligations and attention to the baby.

Prevention and treatment of postpartum alopecia

Brush strands of hair

To prevent and treat postpartum alopecia, it  is necessary for women to pay attention to proper hygiene and hair care.

Use of products

The mother should gently comb her hair and use shampoos and products indicated for postpartum alopecia. In addition, it is advisable to restrict the use of blow dryers, flat irons, rough brushes and other aggressive hair treatments.


As for nutrition,  the intake of all essential vitamins, trace elements and amino acids must be guaranteed. This is especially true for those related to hair health, such as sulfur amino acids, L-cysteine ​​and L-methionine.

These amino acids participate in the transport of iron and zinc to the scalp. Zinc is essential for the formation of keratin,  which is the most important hair protein.

On the other hand, B-complex vitamins, including biotin which regulates sebum secretion, and selenium as an antioxidant, play important roles in maintaining good hair health.

Millet extract, rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids, reduces hair loss and stimulates hair growth.

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