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Hair and Hormonal Changes

Q: I have had my curly hair ever since I was about 12 years old. It was very tight ringlets. Just after I got married I was put on birth control and my hair went from curly all over to curly in the front and sides and flat down the middle and back. I also started losing my hair by the handfuls. I wound up cutting my hair short. It has been about seven years now and I tried to grow my hair back out again and the same thing has happened to it: curly ringlets in the front, curls on the sides, and flat down the middle and back. I have not taken any birth control for 5 years. However, I did have a baby 2 years ago. I was just wondering what I need or what can I do to get the curl back.
 
A: You say that you’ve had your curly hair since you were about 12 years old, which leads me to believe that it wasn’t as curly before that point. Even without that statement, what you describe sounds like changes in the hair brought about by hormonal changes in the body. Major hormonal shifts - whether caused by puberty, medications (such as birth control or hormone replacement therapies) pregnancy, or menopausal syndromes – can have an impact on the growth of the hair, triggering changes in the rate of growth, the growing cycles, the texture, and even the wave pattern of the hair. The idea that the curls seem to have formed around the time you would have been undergoing the onset of puberty reinforces this idea.
 
      As for getting the curl back, you really only have a couple of options. You can either choose to manually style the hair into the types of curls you want, or you can look at getting a permanent wave. Those are really the only ways to deal with this situation. Currently, there is nothing that will allow you to make the hair grow in any specific texture or wave pattern. You must either physically change the look in regular styling, or chemically change the wave pattern for a longer-term solution.
 
      Of course, it is possible that the hair will begin to change back on its own or may change back to what was at some point if you undergo another hormone shift, but that’s not a guarantee and not really something you should count on happening.
 
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