As with all procedures, there are certain things to expect after a hair transplant. One such thing is hair transplant scabs which may appear within 24 to 48 hours of surgery. These are perfectly normal, and with 650,000 people worldwide undergoing hair transplants annually, they are to be expected. 
However, most people do not know what they are, why they form, or how to deal with them. Those undergoing a transplant should have awareness of what to expect. Especially as hair transplant surgery is a permanent solution to hair loss problems. However, most are unaware of what to expect during their recovery time.
Post Transplant Healing
A study conducted by The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery found interesting results regarding hair transplantation. They discovered that the presence of crusting increased the risk of grafts being dislodged in the long-term, but could actually help preserve the grafts in the immediate days after surgery.
Thus it seems necessary to let the scabs form initially to aid with graft security. However, it is also important to know how to remove them before they hinder recovery. That means it is vital to follow post-surgery instructions.
What Are Hair Transplant Scabs?
These occur after a hair transplant procedure and are part of a natural healing process. Just like other scabs, these can be dry and crusty and are there to protect wounds. They are not the nicest thing to look at, but they help the scars to heal underneath.
The patient may opt for either a Follicular Unit Transplant or a Follicular Unit Exclusion/Extraction. Both procedures take healthy hair follicles from another part of the patient’s scalp and transplant them into the affected areas.
With small incisions being made into the scalp, there will be some trauma to the skin. Like with all injuries, our bodies form blood clots to stop blood loss. Although soft to begin with, these clots harden and become crusty. It then protects the skin underneath as it heals.
This is precisely what happens in this surgery. These usually appear within the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Patients may also see some hair transplant swelling, and/or redness of the scalp.
Learn more about how hair transplants work to understand what else to expect with this type of surgery.
How Do You Cope With The Scabs?
There can potentially be many issues with hair transplant scabs.
As they are healing wounds, these can be quite itchy at times. However, it is important not to scratch them as you could dislodge the grafts.
You also want to avoid infection as it is not expected after this procedure. Should you get an infection, this can have detrimental effects on the grafts. The risk is low – one study found infection and excessive bleeding in just 1.3% of patients. However, it is important to leave them alone when told.
It is vital to follow the correct procedure after such a surgery. Your surgeon will give you precise guidelines to follow. You might also be able to use specific shampoo after a select number of days to wash your hair gently.
Many people worry that these crusts may affect hair follicles after the graft. They do not generally affect follicles, but they should be removed if they do not fall off within the time frame.
If they haven’t fallen off after 14 days, you should consider speaking to a doctor or your surgeon. However, you may not be shampooing vigorously enough and may be told to try this first.
How Do I Remove or Soften My Hair Transplant Crust?
They are likely to be gone by day ten if the patient has followed the appropriate washing procedure after hair transplant surgery. However, they usually start falling off between 7 and 14 days.
The scalp can be touched from day six– although the scabs should not be picked off. If you do need to touch them, you should pat them gently. Let them dry on their own and contact a doctor if they bleed excessively.
To soften the scalp and crust, wet your hair with warm water and massage your scalp gently with a conditioner. This should be done carefully to remove and potentially dislodge the dry skin. You should not use your nails during this process. 
It is important to note that some short hairs that were implanted may fall out with your scabs. This is expected, and you shouldn’t worry about it if there is no bleeding. Do not try to remove them early, which could damage the follicle underneath.
Is It Important To Remove Them?
Whilst they may fall out on their own, you might need to remove them if they don’t seem to be dislodging. There are a few reasons why it is important to remove them.
These include reducing your itchiness – it can be tempting to scratch the itching area, but it is important not to. Proper growth of the grafts can be affected, as scabs can potentially hamper growth if not washed off.
It is also essential to remove them to prevent scarring. Whilst scabs remain, the chances of scratching at them are increased. Scratching and picking could lead to scarring or damaging the hair grafts.
While these may fall off naturally, it is essential to remember that the fall-off time will vary from person to person. However, if they are causing you concern, it is vital to ask for advice.
As you can see, scabs forming after a hair transplant are incredibly common. Many people have to deal with them after having the procedure. There are various ways to cope and make the process easier on yourself.
Hair transplant scabs are an essential part of the graft process. Regardless, they mustn’t hinder the procedure. These should be removed through careful scalp washing or under a doctor’s supervision if proving stubborn.
The Wimpole Clinic prides itself on patient welfare before, during, and after every hair restoration procedure. Our aftercare is vital, and we will ensure you are guided throughout the process to ensure a successful recovery. Having been awarded Hair Transplant Clinic of the Year 2022, you can be assured you will get the best care.
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