Hair in Pregnancy: What Happens Before and After Pregnancy! Can henna be used?

Well yes, there is a direct correlation between hair and pregnancy which can take on different implications from woman to woman. In fact, while for most women pregnancy gives hair greater shine and prosperity, for others it can represent a moment with negative implications for the hair.

And the messages you send me fully testify to this: some of you are entranced by the look your hair takes on during pregnancy while others of you write to me worried about the incessant falling out and dull appearance of your hair.

Let's see what are the factors that influence the state of hair during pregnancy.

I deepened the topic with Dr. trichologist Francesca Esposito.

To understand the changes that occur during pregnancy we must start by understanding:

  • the follicular cycle,
  • estrogen,
  • the telogen effluvium.

Let's see them in detail.

Hair in Pregnancy: What Happens Before and After Pregnancy! Can henna be used?

The follicular cycle

The production of the hair by the follicle matrix is ​​not continuous, but cyclical , i.e. characterized by the succession of

  • a hair production-growth phase ( anagen ),
  • one of involution ( catagen )
  • and a rest phase ( telogen ), at the end of which the hair falls out and the follicle can resume the new production cycle.
Read also: Seasonal hair loss? Fix it with a correct hair care routine

anagen phase:

the follicle actively produces the hair, which stretches upwards, gradually growing in length.

The final hair length is determined by the length of the anagen phase and the growth rate. The duration of the anagen phase varies greatly between individuals, and is shorter in males and in the frontal and temporal regions.

The rate of hair growth is about 0.3 -0.5 mm per day, and therefore 1.5 cm per month.

The catagen phase of involution:

it is the transient and short phase of the follicular cycle, lasting 7-21 days. The follicle interrupts the activity of cellular mitosis and stops producing hair.

Finally, the telogen phase of rest or quiescence,

the duration of which is approximately three months.

The resumption of the anagen phase, at the end of telogen, is the result of a succession of stimuli between the dermal papilla and the stem cells.

In the normal scalp, approximately 90% of the follicles are in the anagen phase, 1% in the catagen phase and 10% in the telogen phase, with an even distribution.

The activity of each follicle is independent from that of neighboring follicles, so that the same area of ​​follicles are in different phases of the cycle , considering that the total number of follicles is around 150,000, the amount of hair that falls out daily under normal varies from 30 to 80 hairs.

Among the various factors that regulate the follicular cycle, a fundamental role is determined by hormones.

Telogen effluvium:

Telogen effluvium is a phenomenon characterized by higher than normal hair loss.

As the term suggests, hair that falls out is in the telogen, resting, phase. Telogen effluvium is an event that can lead to significant hair thinning, but fortunately it is a reversible phenomenon.

The role of the hormones Estrogens

Directly responsible for the increased shine of hair during pregnancy are estrogens, hormones that increase significantly during pregnancy.

Estrogens are the female hormones capable of positively influencing the life cycle of the hair, prolonging its permanence in the growth phase (anagen) and considerably limiting its fall.

Once the placenta has formed, there is an increase in the amount of estrogen in the body, which makes the hair naturally more resistant, nourished and shiny.

This is not always the case and not for all women. In some cases, in fact, the hormonal imbalances that occur during pregnancy can cause hair changes and you can witness thinning and the hair can be dull and more fragile.

Postpartum telogen effluvium

Postpartum hair loss is common and can sometimes be very severe.

But there is an explanation why this happens:

During pregnancy there is a lengthening of the follicular cycle : the hair follicles, under the action of estrogen, in fact prolong their growth phase and do not go into rest.

As a result, a decrease in telogen hair loss is observed throughout the pregnancy.

After childbirth , normal turnover is restored with the loss of all those hairs that had prolonged telogen.

Postpartum telogen effluvium is often aggravated by factors such as anemia, weight loss, stress.

Pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding bring with them many changes that can be more or less evident and vary considerably from woman to woman.

These are manifestations that resolve spontaneously when the effects that triggered them cease.

The hair will gradually return to its optimal condition. Despite the beneficial influence of estrogen, it is still advisable to take care of your hair during pregnancy, starting with cleansing with delicate shampoos, and continuing with post-shampoo products with an emollient action, avoiding excessive rubbing of the hair during washing and using a delicate cloth to dab excess water before drying.

Then avoid high temperatures that could damage the hair shaft.

Tint during pregnancy?

I'm sure that at this point of the study, the question arises:

What if you have white hair and want to dye your hair ? Is it possible to use the tincture in pregnancy?

Read also: Even hair ages

There are many women who, despite pregnancy, continue to give their hair the same treatments as always: chemical dyes and bleaching without taking into consideration that the skin is not waterproof and that everything we apply, the skin absorbs it and consequently all the substances absorbed end up in the blood.

But I'm not here to make psychological terrorism on the use of chemical dyes. I think a woman, even more pregnant, should be 1000 times more aware of what she's going to use on her skin and hair.

Can henna be done during pregnancy?

Yes, you can use henna to color your hair with some precautions that I list below:

  • start using henna only with the approval of your doctor
  • make the applications after the end of the first trimester (a very delicate period during which the organs of the embryo are formed)
  • make sure that the scalp is intact, free from lesions and free from irritation
  • optimize and reduce shutter speed to 1h
  • buy herbal dyes only in official sales channels, preferring certified, controlled dyeing herbs
  • do not buy bulk product or in ethnic shops often even missing labels in Italian and not in compliance with the law
  • ALWAYS read the INCI of the product to make sure that there is no SODIUM PICRAMATE (which is used in some cases to strengthen the dyeing power of lawsonia)
  • always do the skin sensitivity test (during pregnancy there could be adverse allergic effects even if you are not usually allergic)

If you are a beginner with herbal dyes and want to find out more about them, I invite you to read this article for a quick smattering of the world of herbal dyes: Henna (Lawsonia Inermis) and Natural Dyes: 19 things to know before color your hair!

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