Actress Lea Michele just welcomed a new baby into the world, and while she’s been loving every minute of her newest addition to the family, the new mom recently opened up about her postpartum side effects.
On Wednesday, the 34-year-old took to Instagram to share that she’s been experiencing postpartum hair loss. “Enjoying this long hair while it lasts because the mom bob is right around the corner,” she says in her post.
The Glee star followed suit with another picture, one that features a chunk of hair that she combed out of her head. “The postpartum hair loss is real,” she writes.
According to Beverly Hills, CA hair restoration specialist Dr. Craig Ziering, regular hair shedding is normal, but large amounts of hair loss can be a bit more alarming. “Regular hair loss shedding is normal for all of us—both men and women—in small amounts every day,” he says. “More dramatic hair losses or changes referred to as telogen effluvium are often associated with hormones, which is why women see significant changes during pregnancy, postnatally, and during perimenopause or menopause.”
But, the dramatic drop in hair growth doesn’t happen right away. “During pregnancy, there is an increase in the percentage and time for hair in the growth phase. Combined with vitamins rich in folic acid and vitamin B, pregnancy is usually the time for fuller, thicker hair than normal,” explains Dr. Ziering. Because of this uptick in growth, hair loss after pregnancy can seem much more substantial. “Normal hair loss is often more dramatic [or appears so] when, after birth, there is a quick and even extreme drop in hormones and a higher-than-normal percentage of hair enters the resting or catagen phase. This results in excessive losses as the hair in the follicle pushes through for the telogen phase to begin new growth.” Thankfully, Dr. Ziering adds that this hair loss is not permanent and that one can expect the hair to return to its usual growth cycle about six to 12 months after birth.
While it’s nearly impossible to avoid this type of hair loss, Dr. Ziering offers proven treatment options for managing it. “Start with keeping a good self-care routine, vitamins and maintaining a well-rounded diet,” he says. “Because hair follicles are made up of mostly protein, make sure you are getting enough healthy protein. Include green leafy vegetables, fatty fish like salmon, avocados, beans, sweet potatoes, fresh berries, and nuts [in your diet]. All of these foods have the vitamins and minerals that promote healthy hair and growth.” Dr. Ziering also recommends managing sleep and stress as well as you can, as the body does its best cellular function, repair and restoration overnight.