Hair transplants are fairly easy medical procedures compared to other, more invasive cosmetic surgery. Follicular Unit Extraction, also known as NeoGraft, requires no general anesthesia and no surgical instruments, and leaves no scars. While the recovery from such a procedure requires little downtime, there are a few things you should know. The NuBody team has put together this list of hair transplant recovery tips.
When to Exercise and Resume Strenuous Activity
There are very few physical limitations for your hair transplant recovery. After a NeoGraft hair transplant, most patients can go back to their regular activities within 1-2 days.
However, your doctor will likely advise you to refrain from certain physical activities for a time. At NuBody Concepts and The Hair Doctor, we recommend two weeks of avoiding certain activities that might cause blood rushing to your head. For instance, we advise that you only bend down using your knees instead of your waist. If you are known to hang off the monkey bars at the children’s playground, you should refrain from that. Scuba diving falls into the same category.
We also prefer you stay away from any exercise that will lead to heavy sweating. If you have certain exercises as a part of your daily routine, it’s best to ask us about these exercises specifically.
How to Wash Your Hair
How to best wash your hair after a hair transplant is one of the most common questions we get. When can you safely wash your hair without putting the newly implanted grafts at risk? It’s actually not as risky as you think. You can safely wash your hair after 48 hours, but if you want to give it an extra day, that’s a good idea.
We also recommend not applying shampoo directly on the head. Rather, mixing a small drop of shampoo with some water in a cup and then pouring this mix over your head is a better approach. The more gently you can wash your hair, the better your grafts will fare. For this reason we also advise you don’t let the spray from the shower head come in direct contact with your head for the first week.
After the first week you can treat your hair as you normally would.
When and How to Wear a Hat
We understand that it’s tempting to cover your newly transplanted scalp with a hat before you go out into the world. But here is where you need to be careful and wait for at least 3 days. You can wear a loose-fitting hat after 3 days, and a more tightly fitting hat, like a baseball cap, after 5. We just want you to be extra careful with headwear, and the longer you can wait, the better. But from a healing standpoint, you are fine to wear whatever you want on your head after 5 days.
Basically, there is nothing you can do after more than 5 days post-op that would cause your grafts to fall out. Just to give you an idea, we would have to surgically remove the grafts from your head after 5 days to have any chance of pulling them out.
You should know, however, that some of your hair does actually fall out after you’ve had your transplant, between 2-3 few weeks to several months after your transplant; this is a normal part of the hair growth cycle and not a matter of concern. New hair grafts shed their hairs just like regular grafts do and will regrow hair as part of the regular cycle.
How to Deal With Itching, Swelling, Sun and Ice
Some swelling after the procedure is normal. It typically peaks around day 3 and 4. But it can be kept in check or even entirely prevented.
We recommend keeping your head elevated for the first 7 days. This means your best bet is to sleep in a recliner, or on the sofa propped up with pillows. This is just a precaution and you may never experience any swelling at all.
You may also apply ice just above the eyebrows, but not onto the transplanted area itself. If your scalp feels itchy, don’t scratch it the first few days. You want to make sure the scabs can form undisturbed. Rubbing in a little conditioner can help against itchiness. Do not expose your scalp to direct sunlight for 2 weeks (and remember the no-hat restriction the first few days!). While vacationing during your hair transplant recovery is a great idea, you should make sure you don’t get much direct exposure to sunlight.
Restrictions on Alcohol, Hair Dye, and Smoking
It’s fine to dye your hair before a transplant, but not in the 4 weeks following it. The chemicals can negatively impact the still fragile hair grafts and prevent them from taking root properly.
You should also refrain from smoking for 4 weeks after your procedure. Ideally you should give it up altogether for obvious reasons, but if you can’t, make sure you don’t negatively impact your blood flow and hair growth by smoking too early.
It’s less strict with alcohol – we simply recommend you wait 5 days before consuming alcohol, as it can also interfere with the blood supply to your head.
Most importantly, listen to your provider, who should have given you a list of instructions before going home. Make sure you read them carefully and check back with any questions. You can always call us and we will take time to give you all the answers you are looking for.
If you have not had a hair transplant yet but are interested, request a free quote directly from our Hair Doctor site.