A friend of mine experienced postpartum hair loss with her locs a few months after having her son over a year ago. Personally, I had no idea that this could occur after pregnancy so I began to help her research more about it. We wanted to find out what step we could take to prevent hair loss and promote growth on her 4c locs.
What Is Postpartum Hair Loss?
Postpartum hair loss, also known as Telogen Effluvium, is the excessive shedding of hair after pregnancy. This can occur anywhere between 1-5 months postpartum. Around 40-50% of women will experience and generally, it will peak around month 3 postpartum.
Why Does Postpartum Hair Loss Happen?
Normally, around 90% of our hair is growing and also shedding at any given time while the other 10% is in a resting phase.
When a woman is pregnant, due to hormonal changes, the majority of the hair now goes into a resting phase. Because of this, women tend to notice thicker and fuller hair because the hair is not shedding nearly as much.
After pregnancy, blood levels and hormones return to normal and the hair that was in the resting phase begins to once again shed, sometimes all at once.
Luckily, this process is only temporary and within 6-12 months, everything should return back to normal.
How To Protect Locs and Prevent Breakage
My friend was feeling quite discouraged with her postpartum hair loss and was even considering cutting off her dreadlocks. Her edges and locs became thinner and her self confidence went down.
After doing some research and assuring her that everything was temporary, she decided not to cut her locs and we realized we could take steps to protect her hair.
Moisture Is Key
With my friend’s 4c hair, the key to keeping it happy and healthy is moisture and this especially applies to those with dreadlocks postpartum.
It’s important to make sure you stay adequately hydrated, meaning drink plenty of water. Also, make sure that the base of your locs are moisturized. My friend finds that coconut oil works well with her hair while I prefer extra virgin olive oil. Use an oil that’s right for you.
You’ll want to use lighter oils as things like Jamaican Black Castor Oil can cause more buildup. Also, stay away from thick unnatural gels to hold down those edges. Instead, try something like fresh aloe vera gel.
Wash Your Locs Less Frequently
I always promote sticking to a wash routine since clean locs equal healthy locs. However, with postpartum hair loss, washing your hair frequently means that you’re stripping the hair of vital moisture. So cut down on how often you wash your hair to promote growth.
Use a shampoo that is sulfate-free and gentle on your hair. Your hair at this stage is quite delicate so it’s important to use a shampoo that is not harsh but cleans well. You also want to use a shampoo that leaves behind little residue for your dreadlocks.
Maintain A Healthy Diet
Not only is a healthy diet important for your overall health but also the health of your baby if you’re breastfeeding. Make sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet that way your body can receive all of the important vitamins and nutrients you need to promote hair growth.
You can also talk to your doctor about including vitamin supplements such as biotin, omega 3 and 6, and vitamins E and C to help promote further hair growth.
Another thing you can do is exercise. Exercising helps to promote oxygenated blood flow throughout your body including your scalp. This really helps with encouraging hair follicle growth and thicker, fuller hair.
It Will Get Better!
Although it can be alarming, postpartum hair loss is normal and temporary. My friend saw improvement with her dreadlocks around the 5-month mark and her hair now is back to its full state.
If after 12 months you still do not see any improvements, I recommend talking with your doctor to see if any other factors are contributing to your hair loss.
– This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency