Dandruff has irritated, frustrated, and embarrassed many, many people. But it’s done worse to some, making them lose their hair. Obviously, if you’ve had hair transplant surgery, which is meant to restore your hair permanently, you’d be terrified of dandruff. But the truth is that it is something that many people struggle with.
Keep in mind that dandruff is not harmful or contagious. Usually, it is nothing to worry about. The only thing you need to do is follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions. Although in any case, keep an eye on your scalp because sometimes, dandruff can be indicative of something more serious.
What Is Dandruff?
Dandruff is a common scalp condition that causes the skin to itch and flake. The white flakes of dead skin can usually be seen stuck to hair and shoulders.
While many people suspect that dandruff is a result of poor hygiene, that’s not the case (but it can make it more noticeable). It’s believed that dandruff is actually caused by multiple factors, which include:
- The presence of a fungus called Malassezia
- How much oil is produced by the scalp
- Individual risk factors
Dandruff is something that can affect people of all ages. According to Mayo Clinic, however, it is more common in males than females (due to testosterone). Keep in mind that dandruff isn’t something that can be “cured.” However, it is possible to control and manage it through different treatments.
Depending on the cause of dandruff, there can be different signs and symptoms. However, most commonly, you’ll notice the following:
- White or grey flakes of dead skin
- Red patches/rashes and scaly bumps (in severe cases)
Getting a diagnosis from a healthcare professional after a thorough examination is essential.
Can A Hair Transplant Be Done With Dandruff?
You can get a hair transplant if you have regular (mild) dandruff. It will not affect the final results of your surgery. However, if your dandruff is moderate to severe, your doctor may recommend the use of an anti-dandruff for a few weeks to a month before the surgery.
But before that, you need to get your scalp checked by a medical professional. The reason is that dandruff may be caused by something else and may not clear up with just anti-dandruff shampoo. Once your scalp is clear of dandruff, you can undergo hair transplant surgery.
Is It Normal To Have More Dandruff After Hair Transplant?
It is normal to have dryness and dandruff after a hair transplant. However, it usually resolves on its own after some time. Keep in mind that it can affect both donor and recipient areas.
Dandruff is likely to be accompanied by temporary itchiness. But here, you need to be careful about not scratching your scalp as it can dislodge the grafts. That will affect your overall hair density.
What Causes Dandruff After Hair Transplant?
There are different reasons why people have more dandruff after a hair transplant. It could be due to one or more of the following:
Hair transplant surgery itself can cause dry scalp and dandruff in patients. This is due to the unavoidable trauma the scalp (and hair grafts) undergoes due to extraction, incisions and implantation.
Another reason for dryness could be the mishandling of the hair grafts. Keep in mind that when the hair grafts are extracted, their oil glands are intact. But if, on extraction, these glands on these grafts are dissected or damaged, you’ll experience more dryness.
The idea of surgery can cause stress. Many people, however, continue to feel stressed after surgery because they are worried about the outcome. This increase in stress results in the release of stress hormones, which, in turn, increase the production of sebum (oil).
Too much oil on the scalp can cause dandruff. It can also trigger other conditions that cause inflammation of the oily areas of the scalp. It can further aggravate dandruff.
There are certain skin conditions that can cause dandruff (in addition to other symptoms). People can develop them at any age, and they can be triggered by the stress of the surgery, among other factors. These include:
- Seborrheic dermatitis – A form of eczema that increases cell turnover resulting in dandruff, greasy skin and scalp patches on the scalp.
- Psoriasis – An autoimmune condition that causes thick and raised patches on the skin, itchiness, rashes, and dandruff.
- Eczema – An inflammatory skin condition that makes the skin dry, flaky, rough and very itchy.
- Tinea Capitis – A fungal infection that causes dandruff, itchiness and bald patches on the scalp.
- Contact dermatitis – A skin condition triggered by allergens or irritants that can cause itchiness, dryness, scaly skin, and dandruff, among other symptoms.
You can develop these skin conditions after a hair transplant due to one reason or another, and it can cause dandruff after the surgery. Dandruff can also be caused by other medical conditions, such as diabetes and thyroid disease.
You can have dandruff if the skin of your scalp is too oily or too dry. The dry and irritated skin can also come off in flakes. While the surgery itself can cause temporary dryness, it may be worsened by cold weather and hot water baths. So, you need to be careful about that to avoid dandruff after a hair transplant.
Using minoxidil after a hair transplant can also cause dandruff. That’s because the alcohol in the medicine can dry the skin, which can cause it to flake.
You should know that you’re strongly advised against using minoxidil for 6 months after a hair transplant. That’s because it can clog the pores, not allowing the freshly transplanted grafts to “breathe” (and heal). And if it’s causing dandruff, it will only make things worse.
Two days after a hair transplant, you need to start washing your hair every day (with special shampoo and lotion). If you don’t, it can cause a build-up of skin cells, which can make dandruff worse.
Additionally, if you don’t wash the scalp properly and any product is left in the hair, that can also cause build-up and dandruff. So, you need to be careful about this as well. Be gentle, but make sure to clean your scalp thoroughly.
How To Reduce Dandruff After Hair Transplant?
One month after the hair transplant, you can start using an anti-dandruff shampoo every other day for 14 days to get rid of dandruff. However, before that, make sure to use the medicated shampoo and lotion provided by your doctor. Additionally, continue to firmly massage your scalp.
You’ll find different anti-dandruff shampoos available in the market, each containing a different active ingredient like:
- Ketoconazole (Nizoral, Dandrazol or some other brand name)
- Selenium sulphide (Selsun)
- Zinc pyrithione (Alpecin, Head & Shoulders)
- Coal tar (Polytar, T/Gel)
- Salicylic acid (T/Sal, Dercos)
Do not use any shampoo on your own without first consulting with your doctor. Also, keep in mind that these shampoos can have different instructions. Make sure that you read the label directions before using them. Also, you won’t have to use them daily. You’d need to use it at least 1-2 times a week.
If the dandruff is too serious, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid lotion. On your own, you should not use any product containing steroids because it can cause serious adverse effects.
Can You Oil Your Scalp For Dandruff After Hair Restoration?
Unless your surgeon advises you otherwise, do not oil your scalp if you have dandruff due to scalp dryness. Patients are usually advised not to oil their scalps for at least 1 month after surgery to prevent a scalp imbalance.
In case of clogged pores or too aggressive a massage, the grafts will be permanently damaged. Consult your surgeon before applying any oil or other moisturising product to your hair, such as aloe vera gel.
A hair restoration surgery can result in slightly more dandruff for a while. Usually, though, it is nothing to worry about; it has to do with the surgery itself and the factors associated with it. During this time, make sure to keep following your surgeon’s aftercare instructions.
Do not apply anything to your scalp unless advised by your doctor. Make sure to keep them updated on the condition of your scalp. If it’s getting worse, it can be indicative of something more serious, in which case you should consult a dermatologist.