Ashley Graham has been praised by fans for opening up about postnatal hair loss following the birth of her twins 10 months ago.
Sharing several close up images of the regrowth of the hair she lost during the pregnancy of her twin boys, the mum-of-three explained that she was grateful her hair was starting to grow back.
"I mean at least it’s growing #postpartumhairloss," she captioned the shots on Instagram.
The post clearly touched a nerve with other mums as it has since been liked almost 120K times with many thanking the model for getting real about the subject.
"Omg, I thought I am the only one looking like this," one user wrote. "I feel so much better now, thank you for being so transparent with your postpartum journey."
"Thank you for keeping it REAL!" another user wrote.
"I relate so hard," another added.
Others added their own stories of pregnancy and postpartum hair loss.
"My life rn [sic]," one mum wrote. "Thankfully it’s starting to grow."
"I feel this. Going through it my third and final time. Little sprouts everywhere!" another added.
"This speaks to me! Currently getting my hair back... slowly!" yet another user commented.
Watch: New study identifies root cause of hair loss
This is not the first time Graham, who gave birth to her first son with husband Justin Ervin in 2020, has spoken out about experiencing hair loss. In May 2021, she told Parents that her "whole hairline fell out" four months after giving birth to her first child.
"That was more traumatic than even birth because I was like, 'My hair's falling out in clumps — what am I doing?' and then I realised it's actually a thing," she said. "My skin got a bit irritated as well, and I had a little bit of rosacea that I had to combat."
Graham isn't the only one to open up about losing their hair during the motherhood journey. Earlier this year Emma Willis revealed the reason she keeps her hair short was due to suffering from postpartum hair loss following each of her three pregnancies.
During a discussion about pregnancy side effects on Loose Women, the presenter opened up about her personal experience.
The mum-of-three, who is famous for her pixie cuts, revealed she keeps her hair short not for fashion reasons, but because she lost a huge amount of hair after giving birth to each of her kids: Trixie, four, Ace, nine, and Isabelle, 11.
“I noticed my hair was really thinning. [What] I didn't know with my first pregnancy was how much hair you can lose afterwards,” she told the panel.
“I lost so much of it, which is why I always cut my hair short, because it was really non-existent, it wasn’t worth growing, so I cut it off.”
Meanwhile Lea Michele, who gave birth to her son Ever Leo in August 2020, also opened up about struggling with hair loss after pregnancy.
And model Abbey Clancy previously revealed she’d suffered from hair loss during and after her third pregnancy.
What causes postpartum hair loss?
According to Anabel Kingsley, consultant trichologist at Philip Kingsley, oestrogen levels rise during pregnancy.
“This keeps hairs in the anagen (growth) phase of the hair growth cycle for longer than usual – fewer hairs are shed and by the end of pregnancy the hair often feels thicker and more voluminous.”
However, once the baby is born, or breastfeeding is stopped, oestrogen levels drop and return to normal.
“In approximately 50% of women this causes a type of hair loss known as ‘postpartum shedding’ six to 12 weeks later,” Kingsley continues.
“Here, hairs that were kept in the growth phase move all at once into the telogen (shedding) phase of the growth cycle creating substantial hair fall.”
Experts aren’t entirely sure why hair loss occurs in some women and not others, and why it may happen in one pregnancy and not the next.
Can postpartum hair loss be prevented?
Unfortunately nothing can be done to prevent postpartum shedding, but Kingsley has some reassuring information for women battling excess hair loss after having a baby.
“While the loss can be extremely distressing, it is temporary,” she explains. “The shedding should stop on its own and all hairs lost will grow back.”
Certain factors can cause hair loss after pregnancy to continue for longer, according to Kingsley.
“The most common of these are an improper diet, nutritional deficiencies and stress – all of which are more likely with the responsibility of looking after a baby,” she explains.
“To encourage new growth, try to eat a diet rich in protein and iron. If you leave longer than four hours between meals, snack on a complex carbohydrate. Energy to form hair cells drops after this amount of time.
“Supplements can also be extremely helpful as they provide the body with additional nutrients to produce hair cells.”
In terms of products, Kingsley suggests applying stimulating anti-androgenic scalp drops daily and using a stimulating scalp mask once a week.
“Stimulating ingredients include menthol and methyl nicotinate,” she explains. “These will help to optimise the scalp environment and create a good foundation for healthy hair growth.”
Breakage can also thin the appearance of the hair.
“To strengthen and add elasticity to strands, use a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment once a week,” Kingsley suggests.
“This can be applied to your hair at the same time your scalp mask is applied to your scalp.”