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5 Reasons Your Scalp May Be Itching After a Hair Transplant
Dr. Correia (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Correia (GMC)
Updated on May 17, 2024

If you are concerned about your scalp itching after a hair transplant, you’ll be happy to know that in most cases, it is perfectly normal. Albeit unpleasant, this sensation is a part of what you can expect during hair transplant recovery.

Itching typically occurs a few days post-surgery, as your scabs start to dry up and heal. As long as you avoid scratching and maintain proper hair transplant aftercare, there is usually no need to worry about complications due to the itchiness alone.

If, however, the itchiness does not subside over time and is accompanied by other symptoms, it could be a sign of an infection. While it only occurs in 1% of patients, it is possible to develop folliculitis after a hair transplant [1]. Or you may be experiencing a flare of a common scalp problem, such as seborrheic dermatitis, eczema or scalp psoriasis.

If your scalp itching gets worse over time or is accompanied by other symptoms, it is best to contact your hair transplant surgeon. They will assess your situation and recommend the best course of action so your newly implanted hair follicles are not endangered.

Keep reading to find out more about:

  • The reasons your scalp may be itching after a hair transplant procedure
  • How long you can expect your scalp to itch after a hair transplant
  • How to relieve your hair transplant scalp itch
  • When to contact your surgeon for an itching scalp
Table of Contents

Why is my scalp itching after a hair transplant?

If your scalp itches after hair restoration surgery, it is likely due to one of the following reasons:

scabs 5 days after hair transplant surgery

1. It is a normal part of healing

As the small punctures (made on your scalp to harvest healthy hair follicles and then to reimplant them) start to heal, it is very common for your scalp to feel itchy. In the vast majority of cases, this is one of the most common hair transplant side effects.

While it may be unpleasant, it is perfectly harmless [2]. Itching usually starts a few days post-hair transplant operation and can last until the healing process is complete. Make sure to keep your scalp moisturised with salt water to avoid dryness that may increase itching.

new hair growing into implanted areas post hair transplant

2. Hair regrowth can cause itching

If a few months have passed since your hair restoration surgery and you suddenly start experiencing an itch on your transplant area, with no other symptoms, it may be a good sign. It may be telling you it’s time to start checking the mirror for new hair. That is because, after a hair transplant, an itchy scalp can mean your hair is growing, the same way it sometimes happens after shaving.

scalp folliculitis after hair transplant
Scalp folliculitis after hair transplant

3. It can be a sign of infection

While the wounds from your hair transplantation are small, they can still get infected. Scalp folliculitis (infection of the hair follicle) is one of the most common post-transplant complications, present in about 1% of patients [1][2]. It is caused by bacteria and manifests with bumps, pustules or pimples around your hair follicles, inflammation, redness and pain.

In more severe cases, the infection can be deeper, causing an abscess. Depending on the severity of your infection, your hair transplant surgeon may prescribe topical or oral antibiotics [3].

scalp psoriasis
Scalp psoriasis

4. You might have a common scalp problem

If you have a long-term scalp problem, such as seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, scalp psoriasis or lichen planopilaris, they must be well managed before your hair transplant so they don’t flare up during healing. However, even with the best prevention, they can still occur and may be itchy.

Hair restoration surgery can sometimes trigger your scalp psoriasis, making lesions appear on the healing areas (this is called the Koebner phenomenon) [4]. Be sure to let your surgeon know about any lesions, rashes, scales and plaques that appear on your scalp during recovery, so they can provide proper care instructions.

Contact dermatitis at the base of the scalp
Contact dermatitis at the base of the scalp

5. It can be caused by an allergic reaction

Rarely, you may find that your scalp starts to itch after applying a cream or medicated shampoo prescribed to you as part of aftercare. Or after any specific kind of substance or fabric comes in contact with your scalp.

If you are also experiencing redness, swelling, burning and/or blisters alongside the itching, it could be a sign of contact (allergic) dermatitis [5]. The best thing you can do is to stop using the substance or object that caused it and if you are still in your healing period, inform your surgeon of this development.

How long should itching last after a hair transplant?

Normally, itching should subside once both your donor and transplant areas are healed and the scabs have fallen off, which takes around 14 days after your hair transplant. However, in some cases, the itching may persist for a week or two longer.

If your scalp is suddenly itching again about 2 months after a hair transplant, it may be caused by your new hair starting to grow. If this is the case, it should improve in a few days, as stubble comes in.

How do I relieve itching after a hair transplant?

How do I relieve itching after a hair transplant?

There are several things you can do to relieve itching after a hair transplant, such as:

  • Follow your aftercare instructions carefully
  • Keep your scalp hydrated with salt water to avoid dryness
  • Take an over-the-counter antihistamines
  • If you were recommended a medicated shampoo, use it according to your surgeon’s instructions
  • Keep your head out of the sun, to avoid more dryness and itching
When is it safe to scratch my scalp after a hair transplant?

When is it safe to scratch my scalp after a hair transplant?

As severe as your itching may get, it is very important to avoid scratching or rubbing your scalp at all until your grafts have healed and are securely rooted in place. This normally takes about 14 days after a hair transplant, but it is best to refrain from scratching your transplanted area with your fingernails for at least a few months post-surgery.

Light rubbing or scratching, with the flat side of your fingers, should be safe about 3 weeks after your hair restoration.

When should I contact my surgeon about scalp itching after my hair transplant?

When should I contact my surgeon about scalp itching after my hair transplant?

While it is generally a good idea to contact your surgeon any time you have concerns, you should let them know if you experience any of the following alongside an itchy scalp:

  • Pustules or pimples around your hair follicles
  • Scaling, rashes, or lesions on your scalp
  • Pain, tenderness or a burning sensation on your scalp that persists or worsens with home care
  • Swelling that does not subside in a few days
  • A flare-up of a preexisting scalp condition, such as psoriasis.

Are you considering getting a hair transplant?

If you are considering getting hair restoration surgery and want to know more about this procedure and its implications, book a consultation now at one of the best hair transplant clinics in the UK.

Our experienced team will be happy to answer all your questions you may have about hair transplants and set you on your way to getting a natural-looking hair transplant. Our results speak for themselves, as you can see in our before and after hair transplant gallery.

5 Reasons Your Scalp May Be Itching After a Hair Transplant, Wimpole Clinic

Dr. Correia (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr. Correia (GMC)Updated on May 17, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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