Greasy or oily hair during pregnancy is another one of those bothersome pregnancy side effects that we could probably all do without! There are so many joyous parts of being pregnant, but greasy hair is not one of them. Fortunately there are things that can help.
Here we explain why your hair might get greasy during pregnancy and some remedies to try at home.
Can greasy hair be a sign of pregnancy?
Greasy hair is not necessarily a sign of pregnancy. There are likely to be a lot more noticeable signs that you are pregnant than the state of your hair such as nausea, tiredness and not having a period.
However, greasy hair can definitely be a result of pregnancy due to overactive hormones. It is also possible that your skin may become more oily at this time too which is why breakouts are quite common especially during your first trimester (up to around 12 weeks of pregnancy).
Is oily hair in pregnancy normal?
Yes! It absolutely is normal. And once again it can all be put down to those marvellous pregnancy hormones that your body is producing.
As a result of extra progesterone during pregnancy, this can in turn, encourage extra production of natural oil, otherwise known as sebum. An increase in the amount of sebum produced can then lead to excessive oily scalp and dandruff. Oh the joys!
But fear not, read on to see how you can tackle this delightful perk of pregnancy…
Why does your hair get greasy in early pregnancy?
Hormones, hormones, hormones! They have been affecting us all for years, even before we started our first periods and they’re continuing to throw fun symptoms in the mix all the way through our pregnancies.
Hormones can be accountable for most of the changes that the body goes through and can definitely be laid to blame for a lot of the interesting side effects that a pregnancy can offer us. Namely an increased level of progesterone, which boosts your production of sebum; a naturally oily secretion.
And it’s not just greasy hair that we have to contend with during pregnancy. Your hair can start to do all sorts of weird and wonderful things when those pregnancy hormones kick in.
It can affect the texture of your hair - if you usually have frizzy, fly-away hair then you may find that due to extra sebum, your hair becomes shinier and more lustrous during your pregnancy - granted, no bad thing!
Sometimes, these hormonal changes can completely change the way your hair sits, with straight hair turning curly and vice-versa. It is also common for your hair to feel a bit thicker. With elevated levels of oestrogen, you are likely to ‘shed’ less hair than you usually would.
Beware though, this hair makes a dramatic turn about 2 months after you’ve given birth and your hair will seem to fall out at a dramatic rate - but this is once again is perfectly normal.
How long will greasy hair last for?
Greasy hair may last for the whole of your pregnancy, but it may also just be an early pregnancy symptom. It is usually at its worst when the body is going through the most changes during the first trimester, and can last up to 16-20 weeks depending on how your body is reacting to the pregnancy.
Unfortunately some women’s body’s don’t cope too well with the fluctuations in hormone levels during the first trimester and can take a while to settle, prolonging the effect of side effects like nausea, greasy hair or breakouts well into the second or third trimester.
What can help with greasy hair?
Washing your hair less!
Strangely enough one of the easiest ways to combat greasy hair is by washing your hair less. The more you wash your hair, the more you can dry out your scalp and as a result your body overcompensates and produces more sebum, which is the culprit of an oily/greasy scalp.
So ladies, get reaching for the dry shampoo! Dry shampoo is a really simple way to combat greasy hair and is perfectly safe to use during pregnancy.
Using gentle hair products
It is also important that you use gentle, mild shampoos with reduced sulphates to avoid any extra irritation. Your skin can become quite sensitive during this phase of your life so mild soaps and shampoos are generally recommended during pregnancy. It is also important that you try to avoid any chemical hair treatments at this time.
Greasy hair home remedies
There are a few home remedies that you can try to reduce greasy hair, such as apple cider vinegar, coconut oil or aloe vera, but there isn’t enough evidence to prove whether these treatments actually do help or not.
Adequate hydration and a well balanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables are the two best ways to maintain healthy skin and hair, during pregnancy and well into the fourth trimester.
Get more tips and advice from our team of pregnancy experts at Naytal. Discover how to cope with dry skin during pregnancy, the best foods to avoid constipation and what to do if you can't stop eating sugar!
Want to speak to someone about your pregnancy or birth? Book a midwife appointment at a time that suits you to get specialist advice with any concerns.
Kate, Naytal Midwife
Kate has been a Midwife within the NHS for more than 15 years and supports women to work harmoniously with their bodies and tune into their intuitions.