Pregnancy can make your hair grow thick and fast – and often in places you weren’t expecting. So that’s probably got you thinking if you are able to still go about hair removal when you’re pregnant? Well, there are some forms of hair removal you will want to avoid once pregnant, but there are still plenty of options available to you so you don’t have to live with all that extra hair – if you don’t want to.
Wait, where will I grow more hair during pregnancy?
While some women may experience increased hair growth in certain areas, others may notice hair loss or thinning in different areas. Here are some common changes in hair growth that can occur during pregnancy:
- Scalp: Many pregnant women experience thicker, fuller hair on their scalp during pregnancy. This is often due to hormonal changes that prolong the growth phase of the hair follicles. It can result in a luxuriant and healthy-looking head of hair. Sadly, at around 6 months postpartum, it will most likely all fall out. Sigh.
- Body: Some women may notice increased hair growth on their body during pregnancy, particularly in areas such as the arms, legs, underarms, and bikini line. This is primarily caused by hormonal changes and is typically temporary.
- Facial hair: Some women may notice an increase in facial hair growth during pregnancy, particularly in areas such as the upper lip, chin, and cheeks. This can be attributed to hormonal fluctuations, specifically higher levels of androgens.
Why does hair grow more during pregnancy?
While all those hormones in your body are doing some pretty amazing things to develop and grow your baby, the side effects can often come out in unwanted ways – like extra hair.
Hair follicles go through different phases of growth, including the anagen (growth) phase, catagen (transition) phase, and telogen (resting and shedding) phase. During pregnancy, increased estrogen levels can extend the duration of the anagen phase, resulting in more hair follicles actively growing at the same time. This leads to thicker and fuller hair on the scalp.
Additionally, pregnancy hormones like estrogen and progesterone, can influence the balance of androgens (male hormones) in the body. Higher levels of androgens can stimulate hair growth in certain areas, such as the body and face. This can result in increased hair growth on the body during pregnancy.
While extra hair can be welcome on your head, you might be less thrilled about it sprouting up on your face, legs, arms, underarms, belly, back, bikini area.
The hair should return to regular after the baby is born (it might take up to six months) but it should settle back down once your hormone levels do.
What methods of hair removal are safe for pregnancy?
There are plenty of safe options you can turn to for hair removal during pregnancy, such as:
Shaving is probably one of the easiest forms of hair removal, especially for legs and underarms as you can do it in the comfort of your own home – which is great because you’ll probably find that you have to shave a little more regularly than you used to. Just make sure you take extra care not to cut/nick yourself while you do it and always change your blade regularly.
Perfect for tackling small problem areas and easy enough to do yourself at home.
Best done by a professional, threading uses a length of thread to pluck hairs and is often done on areas such as the face (cheeks, lips, chin) and eyebrows.
Waxing is safe during pregnancy so it’s another great option for hair removal, just be wary of hot wax as your skin may be more sensitive skin than usual. Make sure you patch test before doing any large areas and always use a soothing gel or cream after to help the skin settle and reduce redness and swelling. If you are getting your waxing done in a salon, make sure your beautician practices good hygiene with the wax, using gloves and never double-dipping.
Fun fact: sometimes you will be encouraged to shave or wax your pubic area before you go into labour. This is because, in the event of an emergency c-section, it will save the doctor a minute or two as they will need to shave the area anyway. So, it might be a good idea to book in for a late pregnancy waxing just before your due date!
What type of hair removal methods should I avoid?
Depilatory/hair removal creams
Some doctors may say it’s ok to use these hair removal cream in pregnancy, but there isn’t enough research on the topic to be sure. Best to avoid altogether, or speak with your doctor and see what they recommend.
If you do decide to use them, make sure you patch test as you may find your skin to be more sensitive to the chemicals in them while pregnant. Try a more pregnancy safe hair removal cream which caters to extra sensitive skin in order to avoid discomfort.
Also make sure you open a window because they have a very strong and distinctive smell, which can be extra off-putting to your pregnant nose!
You should avoid using bleach to hide unwanted hair growth during pregnancy, as the bleach touches and penetrates the skin.
Is laser hair removal safe for pregnancy?
Again there isn’t enough research to deem laser hair removal safe at this point so it is best to avoid it until after your baby is born.