Getting a surgery that you have absolutely no experience with before can be nerve-racking. You might’ve read a bunch of stuff about it on the internet, but the experience can be different for different patients. The same is the case with hair transplant surgery.
You might have read all about the pre- and post-surgery preparations, possible complications and side effects. But there is something else that leaves many people scratching their heads. Can hair transplants change hair colour?
Now, we know that the miracle of a hair transplant can make your baldness go away, but does it have anything to do with changing hair colour? Those patients who have greying hair find the idea of restoring their natural hair colour through surgery quite appealing. So, naturally, they wonder how much truth there is to the changing hair colour thing.
However, many people have the exact opposite concern. They wonder if their will start to go grey after the hair transplant. In order to find the answer to this question, you need to understand how the hair transplant process takes place. So, let’s get to it.
Can Hair Transplant Change Hair Colour?
The way hair transplant takes place is that the surgeon removes hair follicles from the donor area on the patient’s head. These hair follicles are then moved to the balding regions. So, if the hair in your donor area is grey and these hair follicles are taken to the recipient areas, they won’t start changing colour on implantation.
The implanted hair will continue to grow in grey in the new site. The region of the head or the displacement of the hair follicle will not impact its colour in any way. You should not expect any change in hair colour if you’re getting a hair transplant.
Can the Surgeon Only Extract Black Hair Follicles?
It’s only reasonable to wonder about this if you really want to change your hair colour after transplant surgery. If you have salt and pepper hair but want to have all-black hair instead, you might want your surgeon to only extract black-coloured hair follicles. Not surprisingly, this is one of the most frequently asked questions by our patients.
When performing hair transplant surgery, our surgeons try to extract the hair grafts homogeneously from the donor area. To some extent, we can fulfil this demand of yours. However, this isn’t something that’s possible for everyone and at all times.
The reason why our surgeons can’t simply extract black hair grafts is that they can end up leaving bald patches in the donor area. Black hair follicles may not be evenly distributed throughout the scalp.
If someone has a patch of dark-coloured hair, they can’t expect the surgeon to take all the hair follicles from that area alone. That’s because once the hair follicle is taken out of the donor area, no new hair will grow in its place. That’s why the surgeons are very careful about extracting the hair follicles in a way that doesn’t make the donor area look less dense or patchy.
If the surgeon only picks the coloured hair in one area, they might end up over-harvesting it. This can leave permanent bald patches in the donor area.
If your hair has started to grey, it’ll most likely turn grey all over anyway. So, you shouldn’t think that only picking out black hair follicles will mean that you won’t have grey hair anymore or the hair won’t go grey in the future. If your hair is already greying, the black hair follicle will also start going grey soon or eventually.
Is It Possible for A Hair Transplant to Change Hair Colour Naturally?
This isn’t a possibility with hair transplants. In this procedure, the surgeon won’t extract grafts from someone else’s head. So, the hair colour will not change. However, the colour of hair in the recipient area may be of a different shade than before. That’s because of a different hair colour shade in the donor region.
The follicles for hair transplants only come from the body of the patient. No way can you take hair follicles from the scalp of another person. The surgeon will take the hair from the back or sides of your scalp only.
That is why the health of the donor area is important in determining the overall results of the hair transplant surgery. A healthy donor area can help in better distribution of the follicles in the bald spots.
Moreover, the reason why hair from the donor area of the patient is taken is that this hair is resistant to the effects of the hormone DHT. This is the hormone that is responsible for male pattern baldness. However, since donor area hair is immune to its effects, this hair makes the perfect candidate for transplantation in the balding region.
The surgeon carefully removes the hair follicles and places them in the front or top of the head, wherever the bald spot is. These hairs will grow the same way they used to in the donor region. And they’ll also change their colour the same way as they would in the donor region.
Will The Transplanted Hair Match the Surrounding Hair?
This is another concern among patients. Those who have different shades of hair colour wonder if the hair transplanted in the balding regions will match the hair in the surrounding regions. Here, you don’t have to worry about anything.
If you do have slightly different hair colour shades, the surgeon won’t take all the donor area hair from the same place. It is done at random and then distributed evenly throughout the scalp. Therefore, you won’t even notice anything different.
It is difficult to tell a patient who does not have grey hair whether or not their hair will match the surrounding regions. As we age, our hair colour changes. Even if it is not grey, it takes on different hues of their respective shades.
Different areas of the head may have a slightly different shade of the same colour. There’s no way for the surgeon to tell how the colour distribution will look after the hair transplant has taken place.
Those people whose hair is already greying, of course, hair might not match the surrounding hair. The difference won’t be glaring or drastic, though. Remember, the surgeon will evenly distribute the hair follicles taken at random from the donor area.
So, even if you have grey hair, you should not worry about your hair not matching. It will look natural and normal, provided you get the surgery done by a professional who understands these intricacies.
Matching the hair is especially feasible with the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplant technique, where the hair follicles are taken individually from the donor area.
This gives the surgeon greater control over the areas from where to transplant the hair follicles. This will make the different shades of hair colour easily blend in with each other. So, your transplant is unlikely to change your hair colour.
Can You Change Your Hair Colour By Dyeing After Hair Transplant?
That’s something that many people wonder about soon after getting hair transplant surgery. The answer to that is yes; you can eventually dye your hair. However, you need to wait at least 6 months before doing so.
Chemicals in the dye might harm the newly transplanted hair. They can also potentially irritate your skin and cause damage to the general health of your hair. The grafts are delicate, so you need to wait for your scalp to heal completely before even considering hair dyes. If these chemicals damage your grafts, they will likely die and won’t be growing anymore.
Waiting for your scalp to heal is better than destroying the new hair grafts. So, be patient and follow the aftercare instructions that your surgeon provides you. This will ensure normal recovery. You will eventually resume your normal activities like using dyes once you’ve given your scalp ample time to heal.
Does A Hair Transplant Make Your Hair Go Grey?
Fortunately, it is definitely not a side effect of hair transplants. Your hair colour does not change if you get a hair transplant. Your hair will continue growing in its original, natural colour without any change. If you are genetically prone to premature hair greying, then your hair will probably start to go grey earlier than other people.
The timing of the surgery and this happening can coincide, making you think that the two are related, but the surgery isn’t to blame. Even stress can turn hair grey. So, if you’re experiencing some sort of stress, other than that of the surgery, that too can change your hair colour to grey.
Wrapping Up the Discussion
When getting a hair transplant, you should not worry about it affecting your hair colour. Hair transplant procedures will only take hair from your scalp, so the colour will remain the same as before.
Those who have greying hair also don’t have to worry about mismatching hair after transplantation. The hair follicles blend in without notice. Moreover, your hair won’t go grey as a result of the surgery either. That’s simple because hair transplants do not change the natural colour of the hair.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.