The days and weeks immediately following your transplant are an important time for the healing process, and you’ll want to make sure that you follow the proper aftercare recommendations to maintain the best results possible.
If you’re thinking of getting a hair transplant, you’ll need to know how to keep your scalp healthy after your procedure. Here are some expert tips to ensure you know what will be expected of you and how you can keep your new hair well-maintained.
How to prepare for a hair transplant
Before you start thinking about aftercare and before you’ve even had your hair transplant, you need to prepare. Whether you’re having an FUE or FUT transplant, your preparations will most likely be the same.
If you’re a smoker, you’ll have to make sure that you stop smoking at least 14 days before the surgery.
Smoking can affect the way the wounds heal, and can also affect your recovery. If you’re unable to stop, then use nicotine patches after you’ve had your surgery.
The two-week mark before your transplant is when you should also start cutting out all alcohol from your diet. This is due to the fact that alcohol causes your blood to thin, and can increase swelling at the incision site.
Some doctors may tell you that you can wait up to three days before your procedure to stop drinking, but the sooner you ditch the booze, the better it will be for your body and your recovery process.
Avoid cutting your hair
Make sure that you don’t have your hair cut before surgery. This is because it’s important to let the donor area grow so that there’s enough hair length to complete the transplant.
If your hair is accidentally cut too short, this can make the procedure difficult for your surgeon.
Check medications with your doctor
Around two weeks before you have your procedure, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your doctor so they can advise you on whether you need to stop taking any medication.
Anti-inflammatory medications and aspirin, while they may seem harmless, can cause unnecessary bleeding during surgery or can often make it more difficult for wounds to heal.
If you’re taking any other medications like anti-depressants, blood-thinning pills or beta-blockers, make sure to let your doctor know this as this can impact your healing process.
Your doctor may ask you to take Vitamin C tablets to help to quicken the healing process, but this is nothing to be worried about.
Hair transplant aftercare
After the procedure is finished, your doctor should give you a list with all of the dos, don’ts and aftercare products that you’ll need to follow.
Pain management and swelling
Once you’ve had your procedure, it’s normal to see swelling in the first week. You can relieve this with ice packs placed on your forehead and not at the site of the donor area. Fifteen minutes every two hours should help to reduce the swelling.
You’ll also be provided with painkillers to ensure the first couple of days of healing are pain-free.
After a hair transplant you’ll find that you’ll have to sleep differently from what you usually do.
- For the first 10 days — Sleep on your back at an incline. You may feel some slight discomfort but this is normal.
- From day 10-14 — You can sleep on your side, but make sure that you don’t place any pressure directly onto the area that was operated on.
- From day 14 onwards — You can sleep in any position you like.
There are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to sleeping, too.
- Keep your head elevated while sleeping during the first two weeks after your transplant.
- Use extra pillows to elevate your head.
- Use a travel pillow if necessary to prevent you from tossing and turning during the night.
- Turn your head sideways.
- Rub your head hard against the pillow.
- Toss and turn while trying to get to sleep.
- Make quick, sudden movements.
- Take any sleeping pills.
Your new hair follicles will remain vulnerable for a while after the procedure while they are still healing. It’s important to let them heal correctly, which means that certain activities like using a hair dryer or power shower can cause them to shift before they heal — leading to less-than-perfect results.
Hats and helmets
Many people who undergo a hair transplant, feel more comfortable wearing a hat to cover the scabs on their head that form after the procedure.
In the following days after the transplant, your scalp is going to be swollen and you’ll likely suffer from bleeding and scabs. During this period, it’s advised not to wear any form of hat, hard hat or helmet.
If you decide to wear a hat, you must make sure that it doesn’t touch any of the donor area while wearing it or taking it off. You also need to make sure that any hat you wear is clean to avoid any infections.
Avoid any strenuous exercise
Exercise after a hair transplant will raise your blood pressure which can cause unnecessary bleeding or even some of the transplanted hair to fall out.
Make sure to avoid all strenuous activities for at least 14 days after your procedure to protect your newly grafted scalp. Any vigorous exercise is most likely to negatively affect your transplant result.
Make sure that you avoid smoking for 30 days after your surgery as it can slow down the blood flow to your hair follicles, making it harder for your scalp to heal.
It can also interrupt the growth of new hair.
What is the timeline for washing my hair after a hair transplant?
After you’ve had a hair transplant, there’s a rough timeline that you’ll have to follow when it comes to haircare treatment and when you can begin to wash your hair again.
Day of the surgery
Once you’ve had the surgery, your hair will be covered in dressings and you need to make sure to leave these alone. You won’t be able to wash your hair during this period, as you’ll need to spray saline every 30-45 minutes to ensure that the wounds are kept clean.
Day 1 of recovery
You should avoid washing your hair and disturbing the dressings. Make sure to keep applying the saline spray and massage your forehead between intervals.
Day 2 and 3 of recovery
After day 2, you can remove the bandages and wash the donor area with baby shampoo as it’s gentle on skin. Saline spray should continue to be used as should massaging the forehead.
Day 4 of recovery
Wash the donor area again using baby shampoo and make sure to keep the area clean. You won’t need to use the saline spray anymore and likewise, you won’t need to massage your forehead.
Day 5 of recovery onwards
You can begin to wash the entire head with baby shampoo, taking care to not be too harsh on the donor area.
It’s best to use low-pressurised water or wash with a cup so as to not disturb the donor area.
Day 14 of recovery
At this point, your scalp will likely appear pink and scabbed. This will usually last around 10-14 days but those with paler skin may see it appear for a little bit longer. As long as there’s no pain or discomfort there isn’t anything to worry about!
Once the pink skin and scabs have fully healed, the follicles will go dormant and all of the new hair will fall out. At this stage, you can begin to wash your hair like normal again.
But, take care to make sure that you’re not using a shampoo that’s particularly rough or abrasive.
How do I wash my hair after a hair transplant surgery?
When washing your hair, you need to be careful to not pull out any of the transplanted hair. Not only can this bleed and cause discomfort, but it can also set you back in your hair journey.
It’s important to wash your hair after a hair transplant to help reduce the risk of infection and remove any scabs, crusts or blood from the scalp.
When washing just the donor area
- Fill up a cup with warm water and add a few drops of baby shampoo.
- Pour the soapy water onto your hair and gently rub it into the transplanted area, taking care to ensure you don’t dislodge any of the hairs. If there are any scabs make sure not to remove them.
- Fill a cup with warm water and rinse the area until there’s no soap left.
- Allow the hair to air dry naturally.
When washing the entire head
- Pour the baby shampoo into your hands and gently rub them together, creating a lather.
- Apply the shampoo to your head using the palms of your hands and spread the shampoo with your fingertips. Make sure not to rub or massage into the scalp.
- Rinse until the soap has gone.
- Let the hair dry naturally.
Get a safe hair transplant with FUE Clinics
For some, a hair transplant is a perfect solution to their hair loss or hair thinning problems. At FUE Clinics, we make sure that you’re in safe hands from the minute of your consultation to the operating room and aftercare.
If you’re wanting to know more about our professional clinics and procedures, then take a look at our FAQ section. Or visit us in person for a free no-obligation consultation. Contact us today and make an appointment with a professional.