Congratulations on your new head of hair! Having a transplant procedure is a great way to achieve fuller, healthier, and more natural-looking hair. But now you need to take care of your new luscious locks. The success of the transplant depends on the aftercare you provide for your grafts and the scalp.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll go over the dos and don’ts after a hair transplant to help you achieve optimal, long-term results. Dr Mehta and his team are happy to answer any questions you may have about transplant procedures, what they involve, recovery, and what to avoid after a hair transplant.
What is the post-hair transplant recovery time?
The recovery time after the procedure depends on what type of transplant you had and your own individual healing time. However, with any transplant method, the days and weeks after the procedure are important for recovery and healing. You will have some pain for the first several days, which your surgeon can relieve with painkillers.
We expect most people will experience hair fall 2 to 4 weeks after their surgery, which is a normal part of the process. After 3 to 4 months, you will really see the difference. This is when your new growth will be more noticeable and you can see the final results of the surgery.
You will be provided with specific advice to follow during your recovery period to ensure optimal healing and results.
Do’s after the hair transplant
It may take 2 to 3 months for new follicles to fully develop and begin to grow new hair. While it is frustrating to wait to see the results, there are many things you can do to aid your recovery and healing and ensure a successful hair transplant.
Here’s a great list of tips on what to do post-hair transplant procedure to ensure that in a few months, you will see healthy, thick growth.
A list of things to do for a successful hair transplant:
Follow your doctor’s instructions. Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for your grafts and hair after your transplant. It’s important to follow them carefully to avoid any complications. They will provide advice such as:
- Apply a sterile solution to your graft sites 2-3 times per day for the first 3 days.
- Sleep with your head elevated for the first week, until any swelling has resolved.
- Take painkillers as prescribed.
Keep your scalp clean and moisturised. This helps to prevent dryness and promote healing. Use a mild shampoo and avoid using any harsh products, hair spray, or other styling products.
You can shower after the transplant; however, you should avoid the water spraying directly onto your head. You can begin to gently wash your hair three days after your procedure, but don’t scrub or direct the water stream onto your head.
Be gentle with your grafts and the scalp. Avoid scratching or picking at your wounds, as this can damage the grafts and delay the healing process. After a week, the scabs from the surgery will fall off.
Protect your scalp from the sun: After a transplant, your scalp will be more sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays. It is best to avoid the sun for the first week.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. A healthy diet is essential for the growth and maintenance of your hair. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and protein-rich foods.
Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help keep you hydrated and promote healing.
Get enough rest and sleep. Rest and sleep are important for the healing process. Make sure to get plenty of rest and sleep after your transplant.
Be patient. Hair growth is a gradual process. Be patient and give your wounds time to heal and your hair time to grow.
Don’ts after the hair transplant
Now that you know what to do post-hair transplant, it is important to also know what not to do. You have gone through a surgical procedure to restore a full head of hair, and the last thing you want to do is hinder the healing and recovery process or accidentally ruin the results of the surgery.
A handy list of things to avoid post-hair transplant:
Don’t scratch or pick at your scalp. As mentioned earlier, scratching or picking at your scabs can damage the grafts and delay the healing process. If you are itchy or sore, ask your surgeon for ideas on how to alleviate it without scratching.
Avoid brushing or combing your hair and scalp until the graft and surgical sites have healed. The scabbing from the procedure usually starts to flake off after 7 to 10 days, after which you can gently begin combing again.
Do not go swimming for about 2 weeks after the procedure.
Don’t engage in strenuous exercise or activities. Strenuous exercise or activities can increase blood flow to the scalp, which can cause swelling and bleeding. You should avoid heavy work, activity, or exercise for a week, if not longer, after your surgery.
Avoid using any harsh products that can irritate your scalp and damage the grafts for at least the first week. Your scalp needs to heal from the surgical wounds.
You should not use a hair dryer or other heat-styling tools for several weeks. This allows your scalp time to heal and the grafts to fully take hold.
Do not dye your hair in the month after your procedure. After this, it would be best to follow the advice of the surgeon about the appropriate timing to colour your mane with chemicals.
Don’t wear hats, headbands, or hair ties. Hats or headbands can put pressure on the wounds and affect hair growth. Avoid wearing these in the postoperative period until about a week post-surgery.
Don’t smoke or use nicotine products. Smoking and nicotine use can delay the healing process and increase the risk of complications.
Additional tips for a successful recovery after your hair transplant procedure
Here are some more amazing tips and advice that you can follow to help in the recovery, healing, and success of your hair transplant.
Manage your stress levels. Stress can affect hair growth and delay the healing process. Manage your stress levels through exercise, meditation, or other relaxation techniques.
Avoid taking certain medications. Certain medications, such as blood thinners, can interfere with the healing process. Talk to your doctor before taking any medications after your hair transplant.
Consider using hair growth supplements. Hair growth supplements, such as biotin or minoxidil, may help promote hair growth. You should discuss these with your hair loss specialist prior to taking any.
Schedule follow-up appointments with your surgeon. Follow-up appointments with your doctor are important for monitoring your progress and ensuring the success of the hair transplant.
Take all the precautions after a hair transplant for a full head of hair.
After a hair transplant, precautions are essential for achieving optimal results. You should be following the advice of your surgeon, plus the dos and don’ts listed above, to ensure a successful recovery and natural-looking hair. Remember to be patient and give your wounds time to heal and your hair time to grow.
Dr Malay Mehta, a hair loss specialist and hair transplant surgeon, is passionate about helping patients restore luscious, full heads of hair. If you have any questions or concerns about transplants or what happens after a hair transplant, please don’t hesitate to contact the team here.
You can read through these questions about what happens after a hair transplant.
How long should I be careful after a hair transplant?
The first two weeks after a hair transplant are when you should be most careful to take care of your scalp and grafts. After this time, most of the swelling and pain will subside, and the scabs from your surgery will flake off. You will still need to be gentle with your skin and hair grafts for at least a month.
When can I wash my hair normally after a hair transplant?
The general advice is to avoid washing your hair normally for at least three days. On the third day after your procedure, you can gently wash your hair; however, don’t use harsh shampoo or products, don’t use too hot or cold water, and avoid spraying the water directly onto your head. Instead, use a cup to gently pour the water over your upper body, face, and head to wash your hair.
How do I sleep after a hair transplant?
It is recommended that you sleep with your head elevated for the first few days to help alleviate the swelling associated with the procedure. After this, you should sleep on your back for the first week and avoid sleeping on your stomach or side. Some clinics may even provide a specific pillow for you to sleep on that avoids irritating the graft sites.
How long after a hair transplant can I get a haircut?
It is advisable that you wait for your wounds to fully heal from your surgery before having a haircut. This is usually after the first month. About 2–3 months after the surgery is when the follicles start growing new hair, and this is when a small trim can be used to neaten your stands, if you wish.