Guidance comes in all kinds of forms. Whether it is through helpful tips in the form of healthy habits or complete lifestyle changes – one can expect that the same amount of dedication to care guidance is needed for post-operative situations.
Actually, that may even be downplaying it a bit. We might as well replace “same amount” with “a whole lot more.” In the case of hair transplants, most people will wrongly assume that the procedure doesn’t require much care during the healing process.
Well, we’re here to give you a rundown of the reasons why that line of thinking is misguided. It’s essential for patients who have undergone hair transplants (or will do so in the future) to know what harmful habits or mistakes to avoid when recovering after an FUE or FUT operation.
The Dos and Don’ts of Washing Your Hair
After an FUE or FUT procedure, the transplanted hair is smothered with non-abrasive oils or lotions and left for 20 minutes or so. After the softening effect does its thing, you’re meant to wash your hair with warm (but not piping hot) water and special medical shampoo. Your specialist may recommend baby shampoo, depending on your case.
There’s little point in putting on large quantities of shampoo – a little scoop will do the trick just fine. It would be best if you avoided any strenuous scrubbing. Gently pat the shampoo with your palm area.
The same exact “pat mentality” applies to the drying process. Just use soft paper towels and gently pat until you feel it’s dry enough. Moisturizers like oils and lotions should be used every time before washing in the same manner – 20 or so minutes, to help remove the scabs.
Please keep in mind that the products you use should ‘not’ contain any strong perfumes, harmful dyes, or silicone.
Alleviate the Discomfort
Pain, itching, swelling – whatever the side effect is, we know you’re not about to deal with it. If your medical overseer hasn’t recommended any particular over-the-counter painkillers, then your nearest pharmacy can help you with that. In most cases, Ibuprofen and Tylenol are the go-to options, while Aspirin is discouraged.
Swelling tends to be a rare occurrence in comparison. Nevertheless, a medicinal drug called Dexamethasone is prescribed in cases of severe swelling. Itching is usually an indication of the scabs recovering, but if the patient finds it too annoying to bear, then an antihistamine pill can be used.
It should go without saying that directly touching and applying pressure to the scalp is a massive no-no after hair transplants. The area is super sensitive during the healing phase, which is why you should sleep on your back with a unique neck pillow (often given to patients in most hair transplant clinics).
The special neck pillow elevates your head without directly touching the scalp. You might find it somewhat uncomfortable during the first few nights, but it is worth the hassle as long as you keep in
Moreover, you would be required to use a pad that collects the remnants of the local anesthetic, as it will leak from the operated parts of the scalp. After two weeks or so, the healing process will be at a stage where you can safely sleep normally again.
Shaving and hats – yay or nay?
Shaving or trimming should only be done if a month has gone by - or, in certain patients’ cases – two months. More specifically, this only applies to the recipient area, while the donor hairs can be safely trimmed or shaved after a week and a half has passed.
With hats, it can get a bit complicated. You see, any hat that holds even the slightest tight grip on your scalp, whether you can feel the squeeze or not, is out of the question. The perfect hat for the post-op period is one that feels light as a feather and barely applies any downward pressure on your head, with barely any squeeze to be felt.
Sun exposure should be kept to an absolute minimum. Your medical experts know this, which is why many clinics often give out Panama-styled hats which protect against dust and the sun without harming the follicles in your treated area. Headwear should be worn until the scabs are nearly gone.
Some Additional Caveats
While keeping your scalp safe is at the forefront of importance, you should also keep in mind that the rest of your body is affected by the treatment. The sedatives used during the transplant can be pretty intense, which is why driving is prohibited for the next day or two. It would be almost like driving under the influence of alcohol.
Speaking of liquids, water is of utmost importance when it comes to speeding up the healing process. A cup (8 fl. oz.) of that good ol’ H20 every waking hour can make the difference. Remember, liquids should go into your body but should not escape it – in other words, try to avoid sweating since the sweat harms the healing follicles and can result in infections.
We hope that this little guide of ours helped you out! Post-transplant treatment can be overwhelming, but don’t lose confidence and diligently follow medical experts' advice.