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Struggling with postpartum hair loss? Here’s what experts say actually helps

Everything you need to know about getting to the root of it.
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What is postpartum hair loss? | What to look for in products | Products to help | FAQs | How we chose | Meet the experts

While many new moms may feel shocked and alone when they see patches of thinning hair after having a baby, it is far more common than you may think. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 40-50% of people experience excessive postpartum hair shedding.

Shop TODAY spoke with OB-GYN Dr. Melissa Dennis and hair loss specialist Dr. Hannah Kopelman for their tips on how to manage birth-induced hair loss and what to look for in products that work.

What is postpartum hair loss?

Postpartum hair loss — known medically as telogen effluvium — is a direct result of the hormonal fluctuations that happen throughout pregnancy and continue after childbirth, which is what makes it so common.

“The hair on our heads is always either actively growing, resting in place or falling out. This cycle is disrupted during pregnancy due to high estrogen levels, resulting in more hair actively growing than resting and falling out. This is why many people feel their hair is thicker and fuller during pregnancy,” Dennis explains.

“Unfortunately, this luxurious hair does not last forever. After delivery, estrogen levels drop precipitously and all of that extra hair the body held onto during pregnancy will shift into the resting phase and shed 3-5 months later.”

What to look for in products for postpartum hair loss

Kopelman advises looking for products contain the following ingredients to help with hair regrowth: 

  • Biotin: Also known as vitamin B7, biotin is essential for the health of hair, skin and nails. It plays a key role in the production of keratin, a protein that is a primary component of hair.  
  • Keratin: Think about keratin as the building blocks for hair follicles —  a protein that makes up the structure of hair and nails. Products containing keratin can help improve the appearance and texture of hair by strengthening it, reducing breakage and increasing elasticity. This can result in hair that looks fuller and healthier.
  • Minoxidil: Minoxidil is a topical medication originally used to treat high blood pressure, but was later discovered to have hair growth-promoting effects. “When applied to the scalp, it can stimulate hair growth and slow down hair loss,” Kopelman tells us.
  • Ketoconazole: Ketoconazole is an antifungal agent used in some shampoos to treat dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, but has also been found to have a positive effect on hair growth. “It helps to lower sebum levels around hair follicles that have a concentration of testosterone. And it is also believed that ketoconazole might block 5 alpha reductase which helps to decrease DHT levels in the blood, which can be a big contributor to hair loss,” says Kopelman. 
  • Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that plays a vital role in hair tissue growth and repair. It also helps keep the oil glands around the follicles working properly. Hair loss is a common symptom of zinc deficiency, so using products with zinc can help maintain healthy strands.

Products to help manage postpartum hair loss

Zimasilk 100% Mulberry Silk Pillowcase

According to Dennis, using a real silk pillowcase decreases friction on the scalp while sleeping, which can help mitigate the hair from shedding, falling out and flattening. This pillowcase is made from 100% mulberry silk and it comes in a dozens of colors.

Folliflo Hair Boost Shampoo

Kopelman likes Folliflo's line of products, calling out this shampoo, the matching conditioner and conditioning serum. “I recommend Folliflo for its all-natural, plant-based formulation that has shown to have benefits for people experiencing hair shedding and androgenetic alopecia. It is a great option for those seeking a holistic approach to hair loss,” she says.

Hers Hair Blends Solution

This formula is made with 7% minoxidil (a higher dose than your typical OTC option), biotin, ketoconazole and vitamin B5, can be applied once daily to help boost blood flow to the hair follicles. Minoxodil, biotin and ketoconazole are all ingredients the experts called out in effective products.

Rogaine Hair Regrowth Treatment

When you think of hair loss solutions, the first thing that comes to mind is probably Rogaine. The brand says it works by "reactivating hair follicles to stimulate regrowth." All you have to do is apply it once a day to your scalp and massage it in.

“Rogaine is an important remedy for hair loss in both men and women, thanks to its key active ingredient: minoxidil," says Kopelman. "It’s affordable, safe to use [and] an over-the-counter treatment, which makes it a convenient option for those seeking to address hair thinning issues without the need for a prescription as long as you’re not [still] pregnant or breastfeeding.”

How we chose

We chose products that were not only recommended specifically by experts, but that also meet their guidelines for what would be considered helpful for postpartum hair loss.

Meet the experts

  • Dr. Melissa Dennis, MD, FACOG, is the chief medical officer at Partum Health, where she helps provide interdisciplinary perinatal support that complements the care patients receive from their obstetricians and midwives.
  • Dr. Hannah Kopelman is a hair loss specialist at Kopelman Hair Restoration in New York City where she often counsels patients on postpartum hair loss. She has two fellowships in dermatology, including hair loss from Columbia University and cutaneous oncology from Boston University.