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Oily Hair During Pregnancy

by
author image Erin Carson
A former children's librarian and teacher living in Dallas, Erin Carson loves to share her knowledge of both literature and parenting through her writing. Carson has a master's degree in library science and a bachelor's degree in English literature. As a freelance writer, Carson has published numerous articles on various websites.
Oily Hair During Pregnancy
Young pregnant woman laying on couch. Photo Credit idal/iStock/Getty Images

Pregnancy can change the texture and condition of your skin and hair. It can turn curly hair straight, and vice versa, as well as cause dry hair to become drier and oily hair to turn oilier. It can cause acne and break-outs in women who once had clear skin or lead to clearer skin in acne-prone women. While oily hair might be an unwelcome pregnancy side effect, you can take steps to control the oil and improve your pregnancy style.

Hormones and Oil Production

Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy and higher levels of sex hormones called androgens can enlarge your skin’s sebaceous glands and cause them to increase their production of an oily substance known as sebum. Over-production of sebum can lead to oily skin and hair.

Time Frame and Duration

While the hormonal changes of pregnancy affect each woman on an individual basis, Dr. William Sears, pediatrician and author of “The Pregnancy Book: Month-by-Month, Everything You Need to Know From America's Baby Experts,” suggests that many women will experience changes to their hair and skin by the second trimester—or fourth month--of pregnancy. These changes usually reverse themselves after you give birth, as your hormones return to their normal pre-pregnancy levels.

Hormones and Unwanted Hair Growth

The same androgens that cause your oily hair can also make unwanted hair appear in many areas of your body, such as your belly, back or face. These hairs might appear coarser and darker than your normal hair growth. While you might need to shave or pluck frequently to keep the hair growth under control, all of these changes are temporary side effects of pregnancy.

Hair Changes During Pregnancy

Although most women do experience some hair changes during pregnancy, most do not experience the same types of changes. While your hair might appear thin, greasy and lackluster, other women experience thicker, stronger and more lustrous hair. In addition to increased levels of androgens, pregnant women also experience a surge in their production of the hormone estrogen. Increased estrogen levels can make hair thicker and fuller by extending the growing cycle of your hair, which lessens the rate at which it falls out.

Hair Care and Styling

While you cannot control the hormonal fluctuations due to pregnancy, you can improve the look and feel of your hair. Shampoo oily hair on a daily basis and leaving the shampoo on your scalp for five minutes before rinsing to help remove oily deposits. Instead of using a shampoo designed for your pre-pregnancy hair type, switch to one specifically designed for oily hair. Use conditioner only on the ends of your hair to avoid over-conditioning it and weighing it down.

Consult with your hairstylist on a new style to better suit the condition and texture of your hair during pregnancy. Layered cuts can give flat, oily hair more body and fullness. Dry shampoo or a light sprinkle of baby powder on your hair’s roots absorbs excess oil when you don’t have time for a shower.

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