Post-op care or aftercare is as crucial as the procedure itself. It may be tempting to feel like you no longer need to think or worry about your hair. But for patients who want their procedure to last and have excellent results long-term, the early effort you put into maintaining and providing aftercare to your scalp can make all the difference.
Keep in mind that every patient is unique, so there may be variations in the general guidelines. The do’s and don’ts of hair transplant aftercare are very important, and you must adhere to these to get the most out of your new hair.
Hair Transplant Aftercare Do’s
You can and should do the following after the surgery.
Do Sleep With Your Head Elevated
You should sleep with your head elevated for the first few nights post-procedure. This will not only work to reduce the swelling, but it can lessen the discomfort.
Sleeping on your back can keep the pressure off of the recipient areas. However, it’s also important to consider the donor area. To ensure that it heals properly and with minimal scarring, it will also need to be protected and elevated.
Do Wash Your Scalp
You need to start washing your scalp according to the instructions of the surgeon. You may have to wait a few days after which you can start the washing, but after that, you may need to do it daily.
Use the shampoo and lotion as instructed, and when doing so, use warm water and avoid pressurised showers. Preferably, use a cup of water and pour it over your head.
Do Take Your Medicines
Following your surgical procedure, your hair transplant aftercare will likely involve several medications, all of which aid in the healing and management of your new hair.
This may include antibiotics for at least four days following your transplant procedure to protect you against infection and allow your hair to become further integrated with your scalp.
Other medical options will include medication or cream to reduce swelling, as well as painkillers for the first few days following your procedure.
Do Stay Hydrated
You must stay hydrated after the surgery because it will also help with your recovery.
Dehydration means that your body will hold onto the fluids that are present in the body, which can worsen the swelling. So to avoid that and flush out toxins and anaesthetics, you must drink lots of water 1 week after the surgery.
Do Stay Patient
You must remain patient during the hair transplant aftercare. It might be difficult for a while, especially as you won’t see the results immediately, but these small things will make a big difference. You may also experience “shock loss” 3-4 months into the aftercare and will be able to see the final results only after 1-1.5 years.
Do Expect Temporary Discomfort
Hair transplant aftercare will involve dealing with some temporary discomforts like pain, bleeding, itching, swelling, etc.
You may not be able to avoid all these, although the doctor will prescribe medications for the management of some of them. In addition to these physical discomforts, you should also prepare for the mental ones that will involve some lifestyle changes. However, things will get better with time.
Hair Transplant Aftercare Don’ts
You can and should avoid the following after the surgery.
Don’t Engage in Sports & Physical Activities
It’s best to avoid sports for a couple of months following your surgery. While some sports can be played within a month, contact sports and those requiring heavy helmets or headgear should be left as long as possible.
As far as other physical activities are concerned, you need to avoid hitting the gym, for 1 month for your hair transplant aftercare. You also need to avoid any sexual activities for 1 week.
Any activities requiring perspiration are best avoided for the first week or two. Sweat can irritate and infect open wounds, and while your scalp is healing from the FUE surgery, they are particularly prone to this.
Don’t Go Into the Swimming Pool
Other than the fact the water may be contaminated and contain harsh chemicals, the swimming itself can cause damage to the hair grafts. The grafts can get infected or permanently displaced.
There’s also the risk of hitting your head somewhere, and the pressure from the water may be too much. Therefore, avoid pools for 1 month. In a similar vein, you should also not go to saunas, Jacuzzis, or solariums for this duration.
Don’t Be In Extreme Temperatures
Avoid extremely hot or cold temperatures where possible. Sweating shouldn’t be a problem after 1 month. If you are unsure whether you can take part in a particular activity, speak to your surgeon.
Don’t Wear Caps or Hats
You should avoid wearing any tight hats or caps soon after the hair transplant. Loose caps, hard hats, and scarves are permissible after 2 weeks, beanies and woolly hats after a month.
Anytime before that, you can dislodge the grafts and jeopardise your hair transplant aftercare. You can try some other things to hide your scalp after a hair transplant.
Don’t Drink Alcohol or Smoke
Do not drink alcohol, caffeinated beverages or energy drinks for seven days after your procedure. In addition, do not smoke or use nicotine-based products for two weeks after your procedure. All these products can slow down your recovery and permanently damage the results.
Don’t Rush Back To Work
Most people can return to work within a few days, or sometimes even immediately if they work a desk job or one that does not require strenuous activity.
For those working in physically demanding jobs, it’s best to wait two weeks or more until you fully return to your daily work schedule. Make sure to discuss this with your doctor, as it can vary depending on the nature of work and your health.
Don’t Scratch Your Head
It’s also important to ensure that you do not scratch the area, even if it begins to itch. Scratching can delay healing and cause the small incisions to either re-open or become worse. If the itching does become difficult to bear, use ocean water spray or any nasal spray to soothe the scalp.
Do Not Massage Your Scalp Right After
It’s true that scalp massages have many benefits that ensure better scalp health and increased hair density, but you should not do these right after the surgical procedure. That’s because you’ll end up dislodging the hair grafts.
They can get permanently damaged or even come out of your scalp. Still, scalp massages are recommended during hair transplant aftercare, but only after 7-10 days of the surgery. It will not only help with the scabs but also improve the blood circulation in the area. However, be gentle.
Don’t Use Hair Products
Do not use hair products for three months after your procedure. This applies to hair gel, mousse, wax, hairspray, pomade, and other similar products. Your scalp may still be sensitive, which is why it’s best to not use them to avoid any damage to the overall results.
Don’t Eat Salty Foods
Do not consume salty or overly unhealthy foods for 3 days after your transplant, such as chips, crisps or takeaways. Keep your diet as healthy as you can for as long as you can. That’s because it can worsen the swelling, which can prolong the recovery.
Don’t Wear Tight Clothes
Do not wear a hat or any headgear, such as a bike helmet or a safety helmet for at least one month after your transplant.
Also, do not wear any item of clothing that would involve you pulling clothes on over your head. It’s recommended that you wear button-up shirts. That way, you can avoid dislodging the transplanted hair grafts and allow the wounds to heal.
Don’t Go Directly Under Sun
Sunlight not only suppresses the immune system but also makes you sweat, both of which can increase the risk of infection during hair transplant aftercare. Therefore, avoid direct sunlight when you can, and when you do go outside, make sure to use an umbrella to shield yourself from the sun.
Don’t Shave or Cut Your Hair
Understandably, you might want to style your hair a certain way after the growth starts. However, you need to avoid that. At most, you can trim your hair using scissors 1 month after the surgery and wait for at least 6 months before you can shave it. If you want to use a trimmer, you also need to wait for 3 months.
Don’t Dye Your Hair
The chemicals in hair dyes not only harm the existing hair but also the transplanted ones. For at least 6 months after your hair transplant, you should not dye your hair. It can badly irritate your scalp and damage the new hair grafts. Even afterwards, you should be careful about its usage because it can cause hair loss, even permanently.
How Will Aftercare Process Be Followed Up?
Your treatment package will include a free 12-month aftercare program, during which we will regularly check up on your recovery. Even after that duration, you can reach out to the support staff for any assistance or queries.
Aftercare services are available online and in person. You won’t have to travel to Turkey for these as they can take place in the London clinic with a medical doctor. If you want to avail of online consultation, you can open a ticket and further refer to the Support Portal for additional information on the aftercare process.
To Sum Up
Post hair transplant care is not easy. You will feel uncomfortable for a while, but as things get better, your recovery will go on much more smoothly.
While you have the general guidelines above for hair transplant care after surgery, you must follow the instructions that are customised to you. It may be different because of your medical history and unique anatomy. When in doubt, it’s best to get in touch with the Aftercare Department.
You need to take care of your hair so that you don’t lose density after surgery. For that, you need to make sure that you’re eating healthy and not using any harsh chemicals on your hair. Furthermore, you can get PRP injections to support post-care after a hair transplant.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr Kuddusi Onay