Washing your hair regularly is an essential part of hair and scalp health. This doesn’t stop when you’ve invested in a hair transplant — in fact, it’s more important than ever to keep up your hair washing routine to maintain your hair health.
But using the wrong techniques and products to wash your hair after a hair transplant can actually damage your newly grafted hairs. If you’re too vigorous, you can easily dislodge grafts or cause unnecessary scarring. Using an unsuitable shampoo can also lead to hair transplant infection, as well as other complications and hair transplant side effects.
Find out how to wash your hair after a hair transplant to give your new hair the best chance of growth.
The first wash after your hair transplant
Most good hair transplant clinics will give you the opportunity to return to the clinic for your first hair wash after your transplant. Your clinician can then show you the right techniques for washing your hair at home. They’ll also check that your transplant is healing well, and adjust or prescribe your medication if they notice any signs of infection, folliculitis, or other complications.
At the Wimpole Clinic, we invite all our patients back 3 days after their procedure for a hair wash and to check their healing progress.
How to wash your hair after a hair transplant
The most important thing to remember when washing your hair is to be extremely gentle. It’s easy to dislodge your newly transplanted hair grafts, especially in the first few days after surgery.
Here’s our step-by-step guide to washing your hair after your hair transplant:
- Apply a moisturising spray or lotion to your head to soften the scabs around 30-45 minutes before you wash your hair . This helps the scabs fall away when you wash your hair, and reduces the risk of scarring.
- When getting your hair wet, don’t put your head directly under strong shower jets. This can dislodge your hair grafts. Use a low-pressure setting, or fill cups with water and pour them over your head.
- Your clinic should give you a special antibacterial shampoo, which is designed to prevent infection. If you don’t have this, you can also use a saline solution (a mixture of salt and water) to keep your transplant clean.
- Using your palms or fingertips, gently massage the shampoo or saline solution into your scalp. Don’t use your fingernails, as these can lift, scratch, or move hair grafts from their positions.
- Rinse your hair, remembering to use a low-pressure shower setting.
- Ideally, let your hair air dry. You can comb it very gently at this stage if you need to. If you need to dry your hair more quickly, use a very soft towel or absorbent paper towels (like kitchen roll) to pat your hair dry. Never rub your hair dry or use a hairdryer after a hair transplant. Don’t use rough towels, as these can snag hair grafts and dislodge them.
How often should you wash your hair after a hair transplant?
For the first 10-14 days after your transplant, you should aim to wash your hair daily, starting with your initial hair wash at the clinic. Daily washing removes any dried blood and scabs from the transplanted area, keeping it clean, healthy, and making your hair transplant less noticeable.
Washing your hair using a safe method can also prevent complications like cicatricial scarring . This is an inflammatory condition that damages your hair follicles, and can lead to permanent hair loss.
After 14 days, your scabs should have disappeared, and your grafts should have taken root in their new positions. From that point, you can wash your hair normally using standard hair products, as you did before you had a hair transplant.
Should you use caffeine shampoo after a hair transplant?
Caffeine shampoo for hair loss has been shown to be almost as effective as Minoxidil for promoting hair growth . So it can be a great way to minimise continuing hair loss and promote growth in your transplanted hairs.
Despite this, you shouldn’t use caffeine shampoo until at least 14 days after your procedure. Until then, use the shampoo recommended or provided by your surgeon.
How to deal with post-transplant itchiness
An itchy scalp is a common side effect of hair transplantation. It can affect both the donor and recipient sites. But scratching your scalp is a very easy way to dislodge your hair grafts and compromise the success of your hair transplant.
Washing your hair can reduce scalp itchiness — but don’t be tempted to scratch your head while you wash it . Minimise the risk by keeping your nails cut short, taking antihistamines, and spraying your head with a saline solution.
Other hair transplant aftercare tips
Attentive hair transplant recovery is vital for the success of your hair transplant. If you accidentally knock your grafts while washing your hair or doing other everyday activities, you can easily lower the chances of hair transplant success.
To give your hair transplant the best chance of growth, here’s what else you need to do to take care of your grafts:
- Follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions carefully
- Take any medications as prescribed
- Avoid working out after your hair transplant for at least one month after FUE or FUT
- Take at least 1-2 weeks off work, or work from home for that time
- Keep your head protected in the sun.
Find out more about what to expect when recovering from a hair transplant.
What to do if you see hair loss in the shower
Losing large clumps of hair when you wash it is usually one of the first signs of hair loss. Hair loss in the shower can be worrying, especially if you’re not sure what’s causing it.
If you see hair loss in the shower after a hair transplant, this may be an expected side effect like post-transplant shock hair loss. It also could be a temporary hair loss condition like telogen effluvium, which can occur as a result of hair transplant surgery . Shock hair loss usually happens 1-2 weeks after surgery, while telogen effluvium usually occurs 2-3 months later. Both conditions are temporary, and should clear up on their own.
If you’re worried you may be experiencing any kind of hair loss, including male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss, get in touch with the Wimpole Clinic team. We can diagnose your hair loss and help you find the right treatment plan to restore your hair
- Complications of Hair Transplantation
- Complications in Hair Transplantation
- An Open-Label Randomized Multicenter Study Assessing the Noninferiority of a Caffeine-Based Topical Liquid 0.2% versus Minoxidil 5% Solution in Male Androgenetic Alopecia
- Anagen Effluvium after Therapeutic Scalp Surgery: Unreported Phenomenon
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