Naturally, hair transplant surgery is a scary yet exciting experience. There are so many unknowns that patients end up questioning if something is normal or not most of the time. We do provide general recovery milestones and instructions. Still, the scalp is under extreme scrutiny by the patient so the smallest changes can ring alarm bells.
One such thing is the hair transplant scabs. Many people start fretting over it. Since they don’t go away in a couple of days, people might start believing that it’s a bad sign. However, in this guide, we’ll explore this facet of hair transplant surgery in detail. The good news is that you shouldn’t worry.
After going through such a significant change in life, many patients feel worried about the results of their surgery. Of course, it is desired that things go smoothly, so there’s nothing to stress about in the post-op recovery period. A reason why people find scabs so scary is that they’re associated with wounds that come from accidents or injuries.
But what many people don’t realise is that scabs are, in reality, a sign of healing. Both FUT and FUE hair transplant surgeries involve their formation. They’re a part of the healing process. However, let’s understand them in greater detail. It’ll allay your fears.
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 vitamin 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 still. 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 FUE hair transplant will cause blood to come out. This will lead to the formation of blood clots and, eventually, FUE hair transplant scabs. The same goes for FUT surgery. But in that case, the size of the incision is much larger.
How Long Before Scabs Fall Off After Hair Transplant?
As the size of the wounds in the surgery is quite small, the hair transplant scabs will usually take no more than two weeks to completely go away. As the incision size is larger in a FUT hair transplant, scabs may take longer to fall off. After that, the recovery will continue just as before. The only way you can ensure the successful removal of scabs is through adherence to the aftercare instructions we provide.
No matter what, you shouldn’t touch the transplanted area during the first week. On the 7th day, you can start to gently massage the transplanted sites. Having scabs means that you’re healing just well.
Once the hair transplant scabs start to fall, you might notice that the transplanted hair is falling along with them. You shouldn’t panic about this. The roots of the hair follicle are still underneath the skin. This means that your hair will grow quite normally.
Is Itching Normal With Hair Transplant Scabbing?
Growing up, you might’ve heard that if the wound’s itching, that means it’s healing. That’s scientifically true. The healing of a wound is perceived as an irritation. The nerves signal this stimulus to the central nervous system, which perceives it as an itchy sensation.
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, prolong the healing process. Moreover, the risk of more prominent scarring increases. In addition, it can cause swelling, pain, bleeding, or redness, which can slow down healing. Therefore, do not scratch your scalp.
How To Get Rid of Scabs After Hair Transplant?
Because of the very nature of hair transplant surgery, you’ll end up with temporary scabbing. It’s not possible to have no scabs after a hair transplant. And you cannot get rid of them instantly after the surgery. But the good news is that they’ll eventually fall off.
A shampoo and lotion bottle will be given to you at the hospital for use during the recovery period. During the first two weeks, you have to apply the lotion and wait for 30 to 40 minutes. Your skin will get moisturised and soften up. It’ll also make it easier to remove the scabs without touching them.
You will notice the crusts separating from the skin after 7 days and then going away after 15 days. You should do a gentle massage on the 7th day to increase the rate at which the scabs fall off your scalp. However, do not be aggressive with them.
If you use your fingertips or nails to get the crust off, the bacteria on your hands will increase the risk of infection. You should focus on keeping your scalp clean and dry.
Dos and Don’ts of Hair Transplant Scabs
For starters, try to leave the hair transplant scabs on their own. Trying to peel off the crust of the wound is somewhat like the urge to pop a pimple; neither is helpful. They end up doing more harm than good to your skin. Chances are that you’ll end up drawing blood, which is never good news.
You should also avoid exposure of the wound to dirt or sweat. If it does happen, gently clean the area.
An important thing to consider is taking a good night’s rest. It can strengthen your immune system. According to a study, wound healing can delay because of sleep problems. Other than that, you need to consume nutritious meals that are rich in proteins, vitamin A, C, etc.
Lastly, avoid smoking. It delays the healing of the wound, according to a study published in the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing. The constricted blood vessels are unable to carry sufficient oxygen to the body’s cells, slowing wound healing.
Additionally, according to the study, fewer white blood cells, which serve the function of fighting against bacteria, viruses and other foreign organisms, make their way to the wounds because of smoking. This could cause an infection, which would only prolong the recovery period.
By taking a few steps, you’ll ensure that the wounds on your head are healing properly. Moreover, you’ll keep the area safe and clean. It can be a discomforting experience initially, but it is only temporary. The temptation to pick at hair transplant scabs is quite a lot, as they may appear unsightly. However, remember to keep the end goal in mind.
Will the Scabs Affect Hair Follicles?
They shouldn’t. 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 we mentioned above.
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. Scabbing should go away after a certain period of time. 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.
Hair transplant scabs are nothing you should bother about. Consultation with a doctor is important if you feel that your wound site is getting worse. They will take their time to go away on their own, but you can help speed up the process by following our washing instructions and massaging.
You might feel the need to use your hands to remove them, but you know there are too many downsides to that. Successful recovery can take place if you resist the urge to pick at the scabs.
You have to remember that they’re there for your protection, eventually. Removing them would make your skin vulnerable to infections. It is the way the human body works. Your scabs will become crustier as time passes. It’s a good sign, and so is itching.
If at any time you have questions regarding this, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Longevita will ensure to guide you about the post-op recovery period. While you’re healing, the mind can wander to imagine the worst-case scenarios.
We offer our patients 12-month aftercare just so that you know that we’ve got you covered. You can book your aftercare support session with us.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.