From taking adequate rest to protecting your scalp from the elements and avoiding harsh chemicals, there are plenty of considerations for aftercare following a hair transplant. One element of aftercare that shouldn’t be overlooked is which vitamins you can take after having a hair transplant.
B-Complex, Zinc and Vitamins C, E, A and D can be taken by patients after having a hair transplant to help promote their healing and growth. In this article, we’ll discuss what to expect after the hair transplant procedure, provide some general aftercare tips and guide you on which vitamins to take for hair growth.
Can vitamins affect a hair transplant?
A diet that’s poor in nutrients can impede hair growth even after having a successful surgery. This has been highlighted by scientific research, where nutritional deficiency has been shown to impact hair growth and its structure. When there’s an insufficient amount of nutrients, especially vitamins, the newly transplanted hair may not be able to grow quickly. In fact, it is likely to grow slowly, and may even become weak.
Is taking vitamins important after having a hair transplant?
Not only for the hair, vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of the human body. They carry out numerous roles, including the regulation of growth, cell reproduction, food metabolism, and energy production. While the human body has the ability to produce certain vitamins like vitamin D, it relies on food materials and supplements to derive most of the vitamins it needs.
That being said, vitamins are equally very important when it comes to hair growth, especially new ones that just got transplanted — which are believed to need even more nutrients than the old ones.
What to expect after a hair transplant
It’s normal for your scalp to feel tight and achy for a few days following a hair transplant. You can also expect a degree of swelling. You’ll take pain medication to relieve symptoms and will wear bandages over your scalp for two days or so. Some people may be prescribed antibiotics. You’ll normally be able to return to work from two to five days after the procedure.
Your transplanted hair will fall out between 2 to 8 weeks after surgery (this is a normal part of the hair transplant timeline) but it should begin to grow back within a few months. After six to nine months, around 60% of your new hair should have grown back.
How to take care after a hair transplant
Following your doctor’s guidance is crucial to the recovery process following a hair transplant. Here are some of the instructions you are likely to be given:
- Washing your hair – you won’t wash your hair for the first few days after your hair transplant. After four days, you can use a special shampoo to wash the operated areas of your scalp, having a warm shower with moderate pressure. You shouldn’t rub your hair dry, but rather, pat it soft gently with a paper towel.
- Nourish the scalp – you’ll be asked to avoid aggressive hair products which include certain chemicals or colourings, as well as to stop using a brush or comb. There are oils you can use to nourish your hair, including argan oil, coconut oil and sesame oil. These can be used after 2 weeks have passed.
- Don’t scratch your scalp – itching is likely to occur, especially a week or two after the procedure. You must resist the temptation to scratch your scalp. Calendula oil or aloe vera can help to ease this itching — hydrating the scalp and helping you to heal.
- Diet – you may be recommended a diet rich in protein and vitamins, which can help to heal and encourage hair growth.
- Sleeping position – you would typically be advised to sleep on your back with your head elevated. This is to avoid touching the recipient area (the part of the scalp where your new hair will grow).
Your Surgeon will provide further guidance on hair transplant aftercare and recovery and be with you each step of the way in your hair growth journey.
Vitamins to take after hair transplant
Taking the right vitamins and minerals after a hair transplant can boost growth, as well as the thickness, strength and shine of your hair. Vitamins can also help to combat unhealthy hair, such as significant hair loss, dryness, brittleness, slow growth and dull hair.
Vitamins A, B, C, D and E are all understood to help with hair health, but each vitamin group has its own unique benefits.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most beneficial vitamins and minerals to take after a hair transplant.
B-complex vitamins after a hair transplant
B-complex vitamins have been shown to be important to the growth and structure of the hair. The role of these vitamins — which include B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12 — is to help with energy metabolism and assist clotting when wounds are healing.
Biotin or vitamin B7 is widely promoted as a supplement to prevent hair loss and promote the healthy growth of hair, nails, and skin. That being said, its deficiency has also been shown to cause problems like hair loss and skin issues. As one of the most used over-the-counter supplements for hair growth, it is believed to stimulate keratin production and increase the rate of follicle growth.
Vitamin B12 is important too — assisting the body in delivering nutrients and oxygen to the operated areas.
In addition to supplements, B-complex vitamins can be found in foods such as meat, brown rice, seafood, dairy products, eggs, nutritional yeast and avocados.
Zinc supplements after a hair transplant
Zinc is a trace mineral which is integral to how your body produces DNA, creates cells and builds proteins. It is also necessary for immunological function (how your immune system works) and skin integrity. If your body has a deficiency of zinc, this could lead to hair loss.
Zinc is important for the regulation of hormones such as DHT (a sex hormone which can contribute to hair loss). For this reason, you should ensure you are getting enough zinc in your diet. Zinc supplements for hair loss typically also contain other ingredients that help to combat hair loss, such as biotin, iron and vitamin C.
Vitamin C after a hair transplant
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants your body can ever get. If you are not aware, antioxidants are compounds that fight oxidative stress in the body, which occurs as a result of the activities of free radicals that have been shown by research to play a role in conditions like cancer and heart disease. So, in general, vitamin C promotes the well-being of our cells and protects them from damage.
Vitamin C can also accelerate the healing of your scalp, as it is involved in all the processes of wound healing. This means apart from playing a role in the apoptosis of neutrophils, it also stimulates the production of collagen — which is the protein that acts as a building block to stitch wounds back together.
To get vitamin C, one can eat fruits and vegetables, as they contain rich amounts of this vitamin. Citrus fruits, in particular, are known to be very rich in vitamin C. Alternatively, one can choose to get vitamin C from supplements. However, it must be taken in moderation, preferably under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Vitamin A after a hair transplant
Vitamin A is important for healthy hair because it supports sebum secretion. Sebum is the oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands which prevent hair from becoming too brittle leading to breakage.
The cells in our body need vitamin A in order to grow. So do our hair cells and scalp, especially after a hair transplant surgery, where it would be needed to promote tissue growth and regeneration. Vitamin A controls cell growth and division and is needed for important processes like reproduction, and bone remodelling. Research-based findings have shown that vitamin A is necessary for the healthy growth of the skin and hair. Its active metabolite, retinoic acid, regulates hair follicle stem cells, and influences the functioning of the hair cycle.
While vitamin A is, without doubt, a critical player when it comes to maintaining hair health, consuming too much of this vitamin has, on the contrary, been reported to cause hair loss.11 Thus, it is highly recommended that you keep your consumption of this vitamin within the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), which is about 900 micrograms for adult males, and 700 micrograms for women.
Vitamin E after a hair transplant
As a great antioxidant, vitamin E can protect the body from oxidative stress and the activities of free radicals — just what the body needs especially after a hair transplant. While the benefits of vitamin E on the skin have been well-documented, it is only recently that this vitamin’s possible benefits on the hair have begun to emerge.
A study published in Tropical Life Sciences Research Journal found that regular supplementation with vitamin E in people suffering from hair loss was able to improve hair growth by as much as 34.5% during a period of 8 months. The control group of the study, who were only given a placebo, had a 0.1% decrease in their hair growth at the end of the experiment. Thus, this study demonstrated a remarkable impact on hair growth by vitamin E, and concluded that observed hair growth effect was probably due to the antioxidant activity of vitamin E, as it was able to reduce lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress in the scalp — which are conditions that are often associated with alopecia.
Apart from the antioxidant effect of vitamin E, it is also said to benefit hair health by increasing blood supply to the scalp, which encourages hair growth. It also helps keep the hair well-moisturised by creating a protective barrier on the skin’s surface.
Some of the best food sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, olive oil, wheat germ oil, hazelnut oil, almonds, peanuts, salmon, rainbow trout, mango, and avocado.
Vitamin D after a hair transplant
Research-based findings have shown that vitamin D deficiency in the body can lead to hair loss or stunted hair growth. This is because this vitamin is involved in stimulating new and old hair follicles to grow.
While getting exposed to sunlight may be the easiest way to get vitamin D, there are supplements around that can easily provide your body with appropriate amounts. However, supplements should only be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
When can I start taking vitamins after a hair transplant?
You can use vitamin supplements the day after a hair transplant to help aid your hair’s recovery.
Do you need medication after a hair transplant?
After your hair transplant, the surgeon can prescribe pain medication and antibiotics to relieve discomfort during recovery and prevent infections. Medication to support hair growth and combat future hair loss may also be recommended depending on your requirements.
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