Pregnancy Greasy Hair, Dry Scalp & Dandruff – Why Is Your Hair Changing During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy Greasy Hair, Dry Scalp & Dandruff - what does pregnancy do to your hair and how to manage it

Are you expecting and starting to notice changes in your hair? It’s completely normal! When you’re pregnant, your body is going through so many changes, and your hair is no exception. Many women notice changes in their hair during this time – sometimes for the better, like healthy, strong and thicker hair, and sometimes for the worse, like dandruff, itchy scalp, and oily hair.

Changes in hair are very common for pregnant women, and understanding these changes can help you make sure you’re taking care of your hair in a proper way during this special time. Read on to learn more about why your hair is changing during pregnancy and what you can do to manage it.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice.

Does Pregnancy Change Your Hair?

Yes, pregnancy does change your hair. This is because of the hormonal fluctuations that occur during those 9 months, which can affect your body in different ways. Whether it is pregnancy glow or excessive shedding, hair changes are a common pregnancy symptom.

Why Does Pregnancy Hair Change?

The main reason why your hair may change during pregnancy is higher level of hormones like estrogen and progesterone. This can cause your hair to become thicker and more voluminous, as these hormones stimulate the hair follicles.

Higher levels of hormones also lead to an increase in the number of hairs in the resting phase of the hair growth cycle. This means that you could find yourself with more hair than normal. This could be a blessing for those women who usually have fine hair – during pregnancy you could be flaunting your thicker locks.

Not only does pregnancy cause increased hair growth, it also reduces the amount of hair you lose each day. This is because the resting phase of the hair growth cycle is extended, meaning that hair stays in the growing phase for longer. It results in less shedding and less breakage.

If you’re one of those lucky moms, you may be able to enjoy shinier hair during pregnancy. But it doesn’t happen to all of us!

Not all women have lustrous and healthy hair during pregnancy. The increased hormone levels can also cause negative changes to your hair, such as an oily scalp or increased dandruff. This could be a result of the overproduction of sebum, which can lead to a oily hair or an itchy, flaky scalp.

When you’re expecting changing hormones can also cause hair to grow in places that may not be so desirable – such as the face, back or… your belly bump (yes, hairy belly is a common symptom during pregnancy as well!).

These changes start to become noticeable during the second trimester. For some women, the changes may start even earlier, around the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy. Lots of women start to notice hair changes, especially in its volume, by week 15-20 of pregnancy.

If you’re seeing some unwanted changes like oily hair or frizzy hair, it’s important to keep in mind that these changes are normal and usually temporary. And depending on your hair texture, there are ways to take care of it, so you could again have shiny hair!

What Does Pregnancy Do To Your Hair

What Does Pregnancy Do To Your Hair (And How To Manage It)?

I’m sure you’ve noticed changes in your hair at some point during pregnancy. The hormonal changes you’re going through, can have an effect on the hair in many ways, from texture and thickness to even color.

Here I’m going to discuss what pregnancy does to your hair and what are the best way to keep it healthy and beautiful.

1. Dandruff

As a pregnant woman, you may experience an increase in the amount of dandruff in your hair.

But what is dandruff, and why is it so common during pregnancy?

Dandruff is a scalp condition that is characterized by white or gray flakes of skin on the scalp. It is caused by an increase in the amount of oil on the scalp, which can lead to an overgrowth of a fungus called Malassezia1. This fungus can irritate the scalp, causing the skin to flake off. Other possible causes of pregnancy dandruff are seborrheic dermatitis as well as eczema.

The flakes of dandruff are usually accompanied by redness, itching, and sometimes even a burning sensation.

Stress, cold weather, not washing your wash regularly can make dandruff even worse.

What Causes Dandruff In Pregnancy?

There are several factors that can contribute to an increase in dandruff during pregnancy.

  • Hormonal Changes

Pregnancy hormones can cause the scalp to produce more oil than usual, which can lead to an overgrowth of fungus that causes dandruff.

  • Stress

It can lead to an increase in the production of hormones such as cortisol, which can cause the scalp to produce more oil, leading to dandruff.

  • Nutritional Deficiencies

Especially those related to vitamin B, can lead to development of fungus and an increase in dandruff.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to fight dandruff during pregnancy.

Tips To Help Reduce Dandruff

In some cases dandruff may be manageable, but I still recommend consulting with a doctor to make sure the product you’re using are pregnancy-safe.

Here are some tips to fighting dandruff in pregnancy:

  • Wash Your Hair Regularly

Proper hygiene can help remove the excess oil from your scalp and get rid of the fungus that causes dandruff.

  • Use A Mild Shampoo

It’s very important to choose the right gentle shampoo that is specifically designed for scalp conditions such as dandruff. If an over-the-counter daily shampoo doesn’t help, you may need a medicated shampoo. According to experts the best dandruff shampoo is the one that contains Zinc Pyrithione.

However, you need to keep in mind that this ingredient is in “grey area” – there have been no studies proving it is safe for pregnant women. Make sure to talk to your OB-GYN and/or dermatologist before using dandruff shampoo with Zinc Pyrithione2.

  • Avoid Styling Products

Some styling products can further irritate the scalp and create perfect environment for fungus to grow.

  • Balanced Diet

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help keep your scalp healthy and reduce the chances of dandruff.

  • Reduce Stress

Because stress can contribute to an increase in dandruff, try to reduce stress levels as much as possible.

2. Greasy Hair In Pregnancy

Another change that you may notice in your hair when you’re pregnant is that your hair seems greasier than usual. Even if you usually have dry hair, suddenly it can become oily hair during pregnancy.

It’s one of the most common beauty complaints reported by pregnant women. It’s caused by a variety of factors, and unfortunately, it’s not something that can be completely avoided.

However, there are some steps you can take to help reduce greasy hair and keep your hair looking more healthy and fresh.

Let’s start by digging into cause of greasy hair in pregnancy.

Factors That Can Contribute To Pregnancy Greasy Hair

  • Hormonal Changes

Again those crazy hormones! During pregnancy, your body’s natural hormone levels fluctuate, and this can cause increased sebum production (the natural oil that your scalp produces).

Particularly one sex hormone is guilty for greasy hair in pregnancy – androgen. It enlarges your skin’s sebaceous glands under your skin, increasing oil production. This can lead to greasy hair. What’s noteworthy, not only your hair may become oily, it can cause your skin to become more greasy too!

  • Poor Hair Care Habits

Not shampooing your hair regularly enough, washing it TOO OFTEN, or using a shampoo that is too harsh for your hair can also contribute to greasy locks.

  • Stress

It can also cause your body to produce more sebum, leading to oily hair.

  • Diet

Eating a diet that is high in fat and sugar can make your hair look greasy.

How To Take Care Of Oily Hair During Pregnancy

Here are my tips and tricks for moms-to-be who are struggling with oily hair:

  • Wash Your Hair Regularly, But Not TOO Often

Use a gentle and natural shampoo to wash your hair every 2-3 days. This will help remove any excess sebum and dirt from your hair and scalp. Make sure to choose a mild daily shampoo that is safe for pregnancy.

Some of the most dangerous chemicals that you should avoid in shampoos are silicones. They can build up in your hair making them look greasy, dirty and heavy.

What’s noteworthy, don’t overdo washing! The more you shampooing your hair, the more you strip it of natural oils, which dries out your scalp. Then it tries to overcompensate it by producing more sebum… leading to greasier hair!

  • Try 2in1 Shampoo And Conditioner

This can be a good choice instead of a separate conditioner which usually gives greasy hair more moisture than it needs3.

  • Use A Dry Shampoo

It can help absorb excess oil and give your hair a fresh, clean feel. Again, make sure to opt for a gentle and natural shampoo, otherwise it can lead to product build up and irritate your scalp.

  • Use Clarifying Shampoo

Use it once a month for removing any build up of grease and hair products.

  • Avoid Using Heat Styling Tools

They can strip your hair of its natural oils and lead to more greasiness.

  • Use A Deep Conditioning Treatment

It will help nourish and hydrate your hair. Use it once per week.

  • Healthy, Balanced Diet

Avoid processed and sugary foods and focus on eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins to combat greasy hair.

Why Is My Hair So Dry During Pregnancy

3. Dry Scalp

Dry scalp is a another common condition among pregnant women, due to the changing hormones, which can get even worse if you’re using the wrong shampoo! It that can cause a lot of discomfort and can be difficult to treat.

What Causes Dry Scalp In Pregnancy?

  • Hormone Changes

One of the most common causes of dry scalp in pregnancy is an imbalance of hormones. Hormones can lead to overly dry and itchy scalp, and uncomfortable feeling of flaky scalp.

  • Excessive Use Of Hair Products

Using harsh shampoos, conditioners, and styling products can strip away the natural oils in the scalp, leading to dryness. Shampoo removes natural oil from your hair, so ease on that! Always take some time to massage the shampoo into your scalp to stimulate the oil glands.

  • Stress

During pregnancy, many women experience increased levels of stress, which can cause the scalp to become overly dry (as well as lead to other skin conditions).

  • Diet

Eating a diet that is low in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals can also contribute to dry scalp.

How To Deal With Dry Scalp When Pregnant

If you’re experiencing dry and itchy scalp during pregnancy, here’s what you can try to do:

  • Gentle Hair Care Products

The best way to take care of dry scalp in pregnancy is to use gentle, natural products that are specifically designed for pregnant women.

Look for products that are free of harsh chemicals (SLSs, parabens…) and synthetic fragrances, as these can be damaging to the scalp.

  • Avoid Hair Heat Damage

Steer clean of straightening irons and curlers, because they can cause brittle hair to break even more.

  • Air Humidifier

Additionally, using a humidifier in your home can help to add moisture to the scalp and keep it from becoming overly dry. It is also important to pay attention to your diet during pregnancy.

  • Visit Dermatologist

Consulting with a doctor or dermatologist can help to determine the best option of treatment for dry scalp during pregnancy.

4. Dry & Frizzy Hair

Dry and frizzy hair during pregnancy is less common than oily hair, but it can still happen. It can particularly occur during the first and third trimesters, when the body is going through many hormonal changes.

Why Is Your Hair Dry During Pregnancy?

  • Hormones

Your changing body and fluctuating hormone levels may not be stimulating your skin’s sebaceous glands to produce as much sebum as they used to.

  • Deficient In Vitamins

Another reason for dry hair during pregnancy is that expectant moms are more likely to be deficient in certain vitamins, such as B-vitamins, iron, and zinc. These deficiencies can cause dryness in the hair and scalp.

  • Higher Internal Temperature

Frizzy hair during pregnancy can also happen due to your higher internal temperature, as your hair follicles and cuticles stay open, making it more prone to frizz and having imbalance of moisture.

  • Over-Washing

There is one more thing that can is making your hair so dry during pregnancy: over-washing. If you wash your hair too often, it strips it of its natural oils, resulting in dryness.

Remember that straw-like dry hair during pregnancy, although a bit less common, is normal, and it will likely improve after the baby is born.

How To Take Care Of Dry Hair During Pregnancy

Here are my best tips to help reduce dryness in your hair and maintain a healthy scalp when you’re pregnant:

  • The Right Shampoo

Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner to avoid stripping the scalp of its natural oils. Your pre-pregnancy hair products may no longer be quite right for your changing pregnancy hair.

  • Leave-In Conditioner

Use a leave-in conditioner or hair mask to help lock in moisture.

  • Limit Heat Styling

Avoid blow-drying, curling, and straightening, as they can further dry out your hair.

  • Don’t Wash Your Hair TOO Often

Avoid over-washing – it’s best to wash your hair every other day or less.

  • Get A Wide-Tooth Brush

Use a wide-tooth brush or comb to reduce breakage when combing and brushing your hair. Avoid pulling on the hair.

  • No Tight Hairstyles

Avoid tight buns or ponytails, which can cause further damage to your hair.

  • Balanced Diet

Eat a balanced diet and take a prenatal vitamin to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs to keep your hair healthy.

Oily Hair Pregnancy Frizzy Dry Hair

5. Thicker Hair

Of course being pregnant doesn’t mean you will have to fight dandruff or will definitely have greasy pregnancy hair.

Lots of women are actually happy with the volume and condition of their hair during those 9 months. I’m sure you’ve heard stories from other moms who had lustrous and healthy hair in pregnancy4.

It doesn’t mean that during pregnancy you grow more hair, but definitely fewer hair strands will be falling out.

Voluminous hair is common and welcome “side-effect” of pregnancy, but it does not necessarily occur for all women.

What Causes Increase Volume In Pregnancy Hair?

Here are three reasons why you may experience thicker hair during pregnancy:

  • Increased Estrogen Levels

Estrogen helps to stimulate the hair follicle, encouraging it to produce thicker, longer hair, because it interrupts shedding cycle.

  • Higher Levels Of Androgen

Your hair may have more volume thanks to accelerated hair growth and prolonged the hair growth phase, caused by high levels of androgen (it raises from first trimester and reaches highest level in second trimester5).

  • Increased Blood Flow

The increased blood flow to the scalp during pregnancy helps to nourish the hair follicles, resulting in thicker, healthier hair.

If you are experiencing thick, luscious hair during your pregnancy, just enjoy it while it lasts!

6. Hair Loss

While it is more common to experience hair loss following childbirth, it is still possible to experience hair loss during pregnancy.

When it comes to hair loss during pregnancy, there are several potential causes.

Causes Of Pregnancy Hair Loss

  • Hormones

Pregnancy causes increased levels of certain hormones, such as progesterone, which can cause increased shedding of the hair.

  • Stress

What’s more stress can be a major factor in hair loss, and the rigors and emotions of pregnancy can increase stress levels.

  • Nutritional Deficiencies

For example low levels of iron, can lead to hair loss. That’s why it’s so important to get enough of the essential nutrients for both you and your baby.

Keep in mind that if hair loss is excessive or persists for an extended period of time (beyond postpartum), it is important to speak to your doctor, as there may be an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed.

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.


About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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