healthy HAIR after a hair transplant Procedure
Hair follicles are the starting point for your hair growth. Follicles are glands at the top of the scalp that hold the only living part of your hair; the hair that you see on your head is not growing, and is actually considered “dead.”
We lose about 100 hairs a day, but new hair is constantly growing, so it is barely noticeable. Hair loss or balding occurs when the normal cycle of hair growth and shedding is disrupted due to stress, hormones, or other factors, or if the hair follicle is damaged or destroyed and replaced by scar tissue.
Hair thinning, hair loss, and baldness can be significant challenges for many people, both men and women. While some try to manage it on their own, many other people will pursue some type of hair restoration, such as medication.
Hair transplant procedures are also growing in popularity as an option for halting or even reversing hair loss. More than 100,000 hair restoration procedures are performed each year in the US alone, and that number continues to grow.
During a hair transplant, small groups of healthy hair follicles—called grafts—are removed from one part of the scalp—a “donor site”—and transplanted to the area of thinning or balding. Though this transplanted hair will fall out within a few weeks of the surgery—remember, the hair itself is dead, but the transplanted follicles are “alive” and healthy—new hair growth will begin in that area soon after.
If you have recently undergone a hair transplant or other type of surgical hair restoration procedure, taking care of your hair is now more important than ever. While hair thinning, hair loss, and baldness are heavily influenced by genetics, there are some steps you can take to help care for what you do have.
Haircare after a hair transplant procedure
Taking care of your hair helps prevent oil buildup, breakage, and split ends, which can weaken the hair. The ideal hair care routine varies with every individual, but some basics can help keep your hair—whatever its personality—healthy.
- Less is more, especially when it comes to your shampoo. Although it’s designed to clean your hair, too much can strip your hair of the natural oils and minerals that keep it healthy and shiny. Many hair experts even discourage daily shampoo, suggesting you instead opt for an all-natural dry shampoo. You also want to avoid shampoos with excessive chemicals or fragrance. Look for products free of sulfates, parabens, dyes, GMOs, and mineral oils. These ingredients can dry out your hair, and cause buildup that dulls the shine.
- Be gentle with wet hair, as it’s far more fragile than dry hair. Instead of using a harsh cotton towel to dry your hair, opt for an old t-shirt. Try to comb and detangle your hair before you wash it, and use a wide-toothed comb when you still have conditioner in your hair.
- Beat the heat, as much as you can. While completely cutting out heat treatments may not be possible, limiting them is best. Invest in a hairdryer that has a cooling option, or a straightener that works without being over 300 degrees. Heat-protective products are also recommended.
- A softer style works for your hair better than harsh up-dos. Loosen ponytails, braids, and any other hairstyle that puts a little stress on your roots. Additionally, try to limit products that make your hair too stiff or too big and opt instead for a little texture.
- See your stylist regularly to trim split ends. Cutting off those dead ends every six to eight weeks promotes healthier, faster hair growth.
A healthy diet can help keep your hair healthy after a hair transplant procedure
There are a variety of foods that you can incorporate into a healthy diet that will help give your hair the nutrients it needs to grow full and healthy. Some of these foods include:
- Fish, such as salmon, tuna, or trout, are rich in protein and Vitamin D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids
- Walnuts are also rich in fatty acids, biotin, and vitamin E which help protect your hair against damage.
- Eggs, in addition to protein, have zinc, selenium, sulfur, and iron, which carries oxygen to your hair follicles.
- Blueberries are abundant in vitamin C, which is critical for circulation to the scalp.
- Spinach has beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C—all of which benefit scalp oils.
Other factors that can help keep your hair healthy after a hair transplant procedure:
Sometimes, hair damage and loss can be attributed simply to age or other genetic factors; other times, it’s a result of daily habits. If you’re eating right but still having trouble with your locks, you may want to have your vitamin and mineral levels checked and take supplements as recommended by your doctor.
In addition to limiting product use, try to choose silicone-based products to limit the amount of damage done to your hair. Leave-in conditioners are also excellent for protecting hair and don’t forget about following the product directions precisely. Finally, be sure you trust your hairstylist—whether it’s a cut or a styling, they shouldn’t be hurting your scalp by doing their job.
Dr. Tim R. Love is a board-certified plastic surgeon with more than 30 years of experience in hair restoration procedures. He has worked closely with pioneers in the hair transplant field and continues to remain at the forefront of the latest innovations in transplant technology and techniques.
If you have questions about your hair transplant or think you may be a good candidate to receive this hair transplant procedure, call our office today at (405) 751-LOVE (5683) or contact us to schedule a consultation.