Scabbing is a part of the wound-healing process. When you get a hair transplant, you will end up with wounds on your scalp, which will eventually form scabs. Therefore, normally, hair transplant scabs are nothing to worry about.
However, there’s a certain time frame during which the scabs on your scalp should fall off. Any longer than that and they might affect your final results. It could also be a sign of a post-complication.
In this guide, we’ll explore this facet of your hair transplant surgery in Turkey in more detail, and you’ll also learn how you might help these scabs fall off.
What Are Scabs?
Scabs are a part of the wound-healing process. Their formation is quite normal. Without them, there wouldn’t be anything to stop the blood loss in case of injuries.
This protective issue covers the damaged skin. Through this, it prevents the entry of harmful microorganisms into the body. Thus, the wound’s infection risk is lowered.
Wherever our skin breaks open, the platelets, together with protein, calcium and vitamins, form a blood clot to stop the blood from flowing.
This blood clot is not as hard initially. However, as the days pass, it begins to develop a crusty appearance. It keeps getting drier.
Meanwhile, the skin underneath continues to heal. When it finally does, the scab falls off, and the skin continues to heal. Depending on the shape and size of the wound, the amount of time for complete recovery can vary.
In the case of a hair transplant surgery, you will start noticing the formation of scabs one or two days post-surgery. The micro incisions in the FUE hair transplant will cause blood to come out. This will lead to the formation of blood clots and, eventually, scabs.
The same goes for FUT surgery. But in that case, the size of the incision is much larger, and it also involves stitches.
What Is Scalp Crusting In Hair Transplants?
It’s a protective layer that forms over the cuts made on your scalp during the surgery. And Keep in mind that you will have scalp crusting in both the donor and recipient areas.
What Causes Crusting After Hair Transplantation?
Crusting after hair transplantation is a consequence of the extraction and transplantation steps of the surgery. During extraction, the surgeon takes a punch tool to score out hair grafts from the back and sides of the scalp – the so-called donor areas. That leaves tiny wounds back in those areas.
In the recipient or balding areas, the surgeon has to find a way to place or transplant those grafts, and so they have to make tiny incisions to place the harvested hair grafts in them. So, these cuts will also result in a blood clot forming, which will dry and become crusty scabs in the scalp.
How Long Before Scabs Fall Off After Hair Transplant?
Normally, scabbing on the scalp should take 2 weeks to go away after an FUE hair transplant. Once the scabs fall off, you might notice red, taut skin underneath, but it’s also considered normal.
Another thing to note is that your hair might come out with scalp scabs. This is also something you don’t need to worry about, as the roots of your hair will remain intact.
Your hair transplant scabs need to fall off on their own in the 2 weeks’ time. If they’re stuck on your scalp for any longer than 2-3 weeks, they might affect your growth and results. Gently massaging the scabs is generally recommended but you should talk to your doctor about it first.
In the meantime, don’t do anything that can prolong the presence of these scabs. For instance, smoking can slow down the recovery process, and your scabs will take longer to fall off. Smoking also increases the risk of hair transplant infection, so avoid it for as long as advised by your doctor.
Don’t try removing the hair transplant scabs with your nails (don’t scratch your scalp until the scabs fall off, and don’t dig your nails into the scalp anyway to avoid damaging any tissue). If you’re experiencing any issues here, make sure to get in touch with your surgeon.
Do Hair Transplant Scabs Cause Itching?
Itching is believed to be a sign of healing. So, itching can accompany the scabbing after a hair transplant surgery. In fact, itchiness is considered an expected side effect. Your donor and recipient areas can also feel dry and flaky, which might also cause itchiness.
You might feel the urge to scratch these small FUE hair transplant scabs as they can get itchy, but you are strongly advised against that. It might provide temporary relief, but you can permanently damage the results of your surgery by dislodging the grafts. It also increases the risk of infection.
If you do try scratching the itch, it might reopen the wound, making it bleed. This will, of course, also prolong the healing process. Moreover, the risk of more prominent scarring increases. Therefore, do not scratch your scalp as it interferes with scab healing and can affect the final results.
Why Do Scabs Itch?
Growing up, you might’ve heard that if the wound’s itching, that means it’s healing. There are different reasons as to why a healing wound can feel itchy.
One reason is that the histamines released as a result of the injury might be making you feel itchy. The healing processes might also be perceived as an itch by your brain.
How To Heal Crusting After Hair Transplantation?
To allow your scalp crusts to heal, it’s important that you follow the aftercare instructions of your surgeon, which may include:
- Don’t try to peel off the crusts on your scalp, as you can bleed and damage your skin.
- Don’t expose your scalp wound to dirt and/or sweat.
- Rest well and eat healthy foods.
- Do not smoke, as it can affect the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your wounds.
- Keep your scalp clean and protected.
It can be a discomforting experience initially, but it is only temporary. The temptation to pick at the scalp with scabs can be quite a lot, as they can appear unsightly. However, remember to keep the end goal in mind to heal the scabs.
How To Wash Scabs After Hair Transplant?
To wash the scabs after your hair transplant, use the shampoo and lotion given/recommended to you by your surgeon. They will also give you instructions on how to use these products exactly. It may involve the following:
- Apply the special foam to your scalp 1 hour before washing.
- Use lukewarm non-pressurised water to wash off the foam.
- Foam up the shampoo and gently dab it onto the entire scalp.
- Wash it all off and pat (not swipe) your scalp dry with a paper towel.
The application of foam an hour or so before washing can allow the scabs to soften, which can, in turn, help them come off more easily.
To help the hair transplant scabs fall off, your surgeon might also advise you to gently massage your scalp using your fingertips about a week after the surgery. You must consult your surgeon about this first, though as your doctor might not recommend it to you.
How To Get Rid of Scabs After Hair Transplant?
Because of the very nature of hair transplant surgery, you’ll end up with temporary scabs after a hair transplant. It’s not possible to have no post-hair transplant scabs. And you cannot get rid of them instantly after the surgery. But the good news is that they’ll eventually fall off.
Make sure to use the shampoo and lotion given to you. Also, do not be dismissive of the aftercare instructions, as they’ll only help you in hair transplant scab removal.
Will the Scabs Affect Hair Follicles?
Scabbing is normal after hair transplant surgery. You might notice some hair fall as the scabs fall off, but it is nothing to worry about as the hair roots will remain in place.
If the FUE hair transplant scabs stay on your scalp for longer than usual, that’s when you need to start worrying. If after 15 days they haven’t gone away, you should consult the doctor.
Also, you should get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible if there is bleeding, oozing, swelling, pain or if the situation is worsening in any way.
Scabs after a hair transplant are normally nothing you should bother about. They will take their time to go away on their own, but you must follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions.
You might feel the need to use your hands to remove them, but that’s definitely not a good idea even if it’s itching. Remember that they’re there for your protection, eventually. Removing them would make your skin vulnerable to germs.
However, consultation with your doctor is important if you feel that your wound site is getting worse and you have scabs on your scalp that won’t heal.
Reviewed and Approved by Trichologist Yaprak Yazan