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Dry Hair in Pregnancy

Even though the anticipation that comes with expecting a new baby is exciting, the changes that occur with your body, skin and hair can put a slight damper on your joy. All sorts of hair changes can happen during pregnancy, depending on the individual, says Dr. Annie Chiu, a cosmetic dermatologist in Redondo Beach, Calif. "Hair can get more oily or dry, depending on genetics and beauty habits," says Chiu. "However, it can be more common, especially in the second trimester, for hair to feel more dry and brittle as a result of hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy." Combat the dryness with specialized beauty treatments designed to keep you feeling beautiful during this special time.

Common Causes

Besides the influx of hormonal activity during pregnancy, your styling habits may be contributing to dryness. Heat styling with hot hair dryers, curling irons and straightening irons dry out hair more during pregnancy, says Chiu. "Any chemical processing, including hair dyes, perming or chemical relaxing of hair, will roughen and dry out the cuticle of the hair," she says. Frequent hair washing, especially with harsher shampoos, can also exacerbate dry hair.

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Changing Your Washing Routine

To bring back the moisture to your luscious locks, Chiu recommends changing your washing routine. "Try washing hair every other day instead of every day with sulfate-free shampoos," she recommends. "If you want to wash daily, just shampoo every other day and use conditioner every day." Look for shampoos and conditioners with vitamin E, as it is an antioxidant ingredient that helps moisturize without a lot of weight. For an added boost of moisture, Chiu recommends mixing one-quarter cup of olive oil with mashed avocados for a home remedy. Apply to dry hair and leave in for one hour before rinsing out with warm water.

Conditioning With a Kick

Rigorous conditioning is the key to bringing back the moisture in dry hair during pregnancy and to combat the damage of UV rays. Boost your hair's texture by applying a leave-in conditioner with titanium dioxide. Products with panthenol or provitamin B5 also combat dryness during pregnancy, says Chiu. "This ingredient acts as an emollient and humectant to attract moisture," she says. Products with dimethicone can also smooth the cuticles of dry hair and leave it feeling silkier and more manageable.

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Healthy Lifestyle Habits

An apple a day may just keep the dryness away while you're carrying that little one. Some of the most common factors that contribute to dry hair during pregnancy are poor nutrition and diets high in sodium, says Toni Garcia-Jackson, professional hairstylist and owner of Alexander Myles Salon & Spa in Wilmington, Del. "Women can minimize dry hair during pregnancy by eating a well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water," she says. Taking prescribed prenatal vitamins will also strengthen those lovely locks.

Mane Maintenance

A day at the spa or salon will not only keep you feeling pampered but also combat the dryness your hair is experiencing during pregnancy. "The hormonal change that women experience as a result of becoming pregnant can cause the skin and scalp skin to become drier," says Garcia-Jackson. “Our scalp produces sebum and lipids that nourish and moisturize our hair," she explains, but it can't do that job when pregnancy hormones mess with the scalp skin's moisture balance. Garcia-Jackson recommends keeping hair ends trimmed to promote growth and rid the hair of highly porous, moisture-depleting ends.

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