Taking Care of Your New Hair Without Damaging Your Health

Although hair transplant surgery dates back to the 1950s, it didn’t become a popular alternative to correct bald or thinning hair until the mid-1990s. According to an infographic called “The Bald Facts”, 47% would spend their life savings to regain a full head or hair. Notable celebrities such as Sir Elton John, Gordan Ramsay, and A.J. Mclean from the Backstreet Boys have all had hair replacement surgery. Celebrities are fortunate to have enough money buy the best products for their hair, but what about the regular people? How do you make sure to take care of your newfound hair without damaging your health?

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It’s called hair transplant surgery for a reason: like any other surgery, there’s going to be post-op care required to ensure the surgery is both successful and comfortable. While it may surprise you that you aren’t entirely free to go, it’s important to listen to your doctor on how to properly proceed following the procedure.

Here’s a quick look at what to expect, and what to do:

Pain Control

It’s not uncommon to experience swelling and irritation in the area of your scalp that was serviced during the surgery. Pain is most common in the first couple of days following surgery and can be kicked by taking the medication that your doctor prescribed upon your discharge. It’s also common for swelling to occur anywhere from two to four days after surgery. To help with swelling, doctors recommend sleeping with your head elevated at a 45 degree angle for up to three nights following surgery.

In an effort to minimize side effects, doctors also advise patients to take it easy post-op. This consists of refraining from sports or heavy exercise for one to two weeks, taking a few days off work immediately following surgery, and avoiding swimming in chlorinated water for up to 14 days. Your luscious new locks need time to heal!

Bleeding

Infection is rare following hair transplant surgery, but other side effects, such as bleeding, are not. Bleeding often occurs immediately after surgery and is best resolved by applying pressure to the area for about 15 minutes. Your doctor will also give you some supplies upon discharge to help care for the serviced area. Often, this includes a spray bottle and a sterile solution to use to treat the area of your scalp for three to five days. Use as directed by your doctor.

Hair Care

While pain and other side effects are important to address, the most important thing you have to know is how best to care for your hair following transplant surgery. After all, you just spent good money to get back a healthy head of hair and you want to keep it. Here’s a look at how to keep your hair healthy:

  • On the day after surgery, begin gently washing your hair in the shower, but be careful not to let the water bead directly onto the area of your scalp that received the treatment as doing so can damage the new grafts. Two to three days after surgery, you can begin to gently touch the grafts in the shower. Also, when you comb your hair, do so gently and carefully to avoid coming into contact and potentially dislodging the grafts.
  • If you use any product in your hair (mousse, gel, hairspray), you can resume this one week after surgery. However, any product should be washed out daily for best long-term results.
  • Avoid hair dryers for two weeks after surgery. Instead, just allow your hair to dry naturally.
  • Crusts will fall out by themselves about 10 days after surgery. Only after your crusts fall out can you have your hair cut, dyed or permed.

While sacrificing style may seem difficult, it’s a small price to pay to ensure your hair remains safely where it was transplanted. Just like your hair needs time to heal following surgery, it also needs you to take care of yourself: a healthy lifestyle doesn’t just benefit your muscles and bones, after all. Smoking and heavy drinking can reduce blood flow to the scalp, which has a direct effect on your hair growth, so one way to ensure long-term hair health is by either eliminating or reducing the frequency of your smoking or drinking. But that’s not all:

  • Protein: It’s a simple fact – protein grows hair. So make sure you’re getting plenty of it in your diet. This includes working meats and dairy foods into your diet. Consuming a daily protein shake can also help.
  • Water: Drinking six to eight cups of water per day doesn’t just help fend off early heart disease, but it can also help ensure your hair stays full and healthy for longer. You see, the hair shaft is comprised of about 25 percent water, so to a certain extent you need to “feed” your hair.
  • Get plenty of vitamins: Vitamin A, B, C and E all help with hair growth. Make sure you’re getting enough of them every day and consider adding a supplement if you’re not.

Like any surgery, there are side effects to fend off and factors that need to be considered following hair transplant surgery to ensure its long-term success. While this is a general overview, you should always talk with your doctor before discharge on what to look out for and how best to care for your new head of hair moving forward.

Sam Richie

Sam is health blogger who loves to focus on stress reduction and healthy eating. She writes for Bryan Health and several hosptials.

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