If you are considering a hair transplant, it is essential to understand what to expect during the healing process. This will help you to achieve the best results possible.
The healing process starts with a clot being formed in the wound. You will likely experience some pain and swelling in the first few days.
The First Week
Your scalp will heal significantly during the first week after your hair transplant. Scabbing is what should you expect after a hair transplant. This scabbing and redness in the implanted area are normal and not alarming.
However, this is still a sensitive area, and it’s important not to scratch or rub it with anything, as this could damage the grafts or increase the chance of infection.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions on caring for your scalp in the weeks after your operation. This will include applying a scalp spray that can help speed up the healing process as well as helping to protect your follicles.
The Second Week
The second week after your hair transplant is a time of significant healing. You will see scabbing on the donor site (where the grafts were harvested) and the placement site and you may experience redness and itching.
Your doctor will have provided you with instructions to follow during this time. These include:
- Only wash your hair once instructed (typically after five days following your surgery).
- Rubbing your scalp.
- Engaging in intense physical activity for two weeks.
You will also notice a small amount of hair loss in the recipient area at this stage; this is called shock shedding and is normal. In the third week, new hair growth will begin to occur, and this should take a couple of months before you can fully see the results of your hair transplant operation.
The Third Week
During the third week, some of the hair follicles that were transplanted will enter the sleep phase (telogen) and begin to fall out. This is perfectly normal and will not affect the final results of your surgery.
However, it is still essential to keep your new follicles healthy and allow them to heal correctly. This can be done by avoiding certain hair products, heating appliances and power showers until the strands have settled down.
It is also important to avoid harsh rubbing or touching the transplanted area during this period, as this can disrupt your healing process. Moreover, you can use a softening cream for 15-30 minutes on the scabs around your transplanted hair to soften them and remove any traces of dried blood.
The Fourth Week
You start noticing some improvement in the fourth week after your hair transplant. The scabbing may still be present but will begin to subside, and the swelling should have reduced to a minimum.
New follicles are beginning to form in the graft sites and will continue to grow. This is a normal part of the hair growth cycle and shouldn’t be cause for concern.
The grafts are still slightly vulnerable, so you’ll want to keep your head elevated as much as possible, especially in the first few days. It’s also important to avoid harsh and repetitive physical activity. Sleeping propped up at a 45-degree angle with something supporting your neck (either a travel pillow or rolled-up towel) can also help to discourage post-operative swelling. It’s also essential to avoid direct sunlight during your first few weeks.
The Fifth Week
During the first 1-4 days after your hair transplant surgery, you will notice small scabs where the freshly implanted grafts are located. These should begin to wash away during the 5th day after your surgery.
You should avoid alcohol and aspirin for the first five days following your procedure to decrease the chance of bleeding from your scalp (which could dislodge the grafts).
The back and front of your head will be slightly red due to the tiny cuts made during the hair transplant procedure. This redness lasts 10-14 days and is especially noticeable if you have lighter skin coloring.
Usually, it is safe to return to work after five days since you will have fewer signs of your surgery, and the hairs in the recipient area are not as fragile. However, taking at least ten days off work is still advisable to fully recover from your hair transplant.
The Sixth Week
The sixth week after your hair transplant is a critical stage that varies from patient to patient. Swelling should have subsided, and scabs should have fallen off naturally, meaning there’s less risk of irritating the scalp by vigorous exercise or rubbing the grafts with towels.
New follicles start to grow, though they can still be patchy. This is because the follicles enter a resting phase and shed their tiny hairs for 2-4 weeks before waking up and growing their hair again in month 3.
The total effect of your transplant is not fully visible until about 12-15 months after surgery. This is because hairs can change texture, thickness and color during this time.
The Seventh Week
Your scalp’s donor and recipient areas go through a healing process after your hair transplant. This is normal; you will experience some itchiness as scabs form and fall off.
At this stage, it is essential to avoid scratching and touching the recipient area as much as possible. This can cause itchy scabs to break off, or the bandages may loosen and start falling off.
Avoiding heavy lifting is essential as it can damage the follicles and interfere with their healing.
In this week, the grafts in the recipient area enter a resting phase (telogen) and eventually fall out (exogen). This is normal.
The Eighth Week
During this week, the hair follicles in your transplanted area will go through a temporary rest phase. This process is called shock loss, and it is normal to experience some shedding of your transplanted hair during this time.
Following your doctor’s instructions for proper care after surgery is essential. This includes washing your head with special shampoos and lotions.
When you are washing, it is also essential to use gentle movements and not rub your scalp. This will help prevent any damage to the grafts.
You should also avoid vigorous physical activity in the first week after surgery. The transplanted grafts are very fragile and need to be treated with care.
The Ninth Week
The transplanted grafts in the recipient area should start to heal and lay flatter on your scalp. You may notice redness and irritation during the first few days as scabs fall off naturally.
It is safe to wash your hair during the first week after the surgery with warm water (don’t use hot, as this could damage your new grafts) using a gentle shampoo and water sprays. Avoid rubbing your hair and let it dry naturally without towel-drying it.
Don’t drink alcohol for at least two weeks after your hair transplant, as this can dehydrate your body and scalp, which are both important during the healing process.
The Tenth Week
The tenth week is usually the most challenging of all the post-op recovery phases. It is also the time of year when hair growth slows down due to seasonal hormonal shifts. The most important thing to remember during this time is to ensure you eat and sleep well to keep your head and body in good condition.