How to wash your hair after a hair transplant: a step-by-step guide
Hair transplants can offer a fantastic way to regain both your hair and your confidence1, but only when they are maintained correctly.
Whether you’ve had a follicular unit transplant (FUT) or follicular unit excision (FUE), looking after hair properly post-transplant is critical to allowing the newly grafted hairs to thrive.
Using the wrong techniques or types of products when washing your hair could damage your hair grafts, leading to potential complications and side effects2.
In this article, we’ll guide you through which techniques you should be using, outlining the essential steps to wash your hair in a way that not only promotes healing but also encourages hair growth.
Why does proper hair washing matter?
After having a hair transplant, it’s important to be mindful of the immediate and short-term effects of the procedure.
Directly after the transplant, for example, your scalp will often be particularly sensitive to being touched. Therefore, to avoid damaging the hair roots, you should avoid touching or wetting this area for at least three days.
Learning how to wash your hair properly can be vital to preventing damage and ensuring your transplant is successful. Not only that, it also ensures that the transplanted area is kept clean, reducing the risk of any unexpected complications, scarring or infections3.
Understanding which types of products you should be using or avoiding can also make a big difference to the overall health and quality of your transplanted hair grafts.
When can you wash your hair after a hair transplant?
Timing the first post-transplant hair wash is a crucial step in the recovery process.
While many clinics may state different suggested timings, here at The Treatment Rooms London, we recommend that your first hair wash should be on day four following your surgery (surgery day being day 0). This should give enough time for the transplanted hair roots to be suitably anchored in place.
However, since everyone’s circumstances are different, your surgeon will be able to advise you on when you should plan for your initial post-transplant hair wash.
Preparing for the first hair wash
To prepare for your first hair wash, there are a few items and supplies we would recommend having easily available and within reach. These include:
- Low-pressure water source – being gentle is crucial during your first post-transplant hair wash so make sure to have a low-pressure shower head setting available, or use cups to gently pour water over your head.
- A gentle shampoo – this can be provided as part of your aftercare and recovery package along with detailed instructions from your surgeon on how to use it effectively.
How to wash your hair after a hair transplant
When it comes to washing your hair for the first time after your hair transplant, there are certain steps and techniques you will need to follow.
While your surgeon will be able to provide you with tailored advice, the general process will typically involve the following steps.
Step 1: Pre-wash preparation
Approximately 30 – 45 minutes before you get started, apply a moisturising spray or lotion to your scalp4 and make sure your supplies (cups, shampoo) are readily available.
Step 2: Gently wet your hair
Don’t put your head directly under strong shower jets, as this could dislodge the hair grafts. Instead, use a low-pressure water source or cups to gently wet your hair.
Step 3: Apply the recommended shampoo (or saline solution)
Using the palms of your hands, fingertips or a combination of both, gently massage or tap-in your surgeon-recommended shampoo into your scalp.
Step 4: Gently rinse the scalp
Once your scalp has been suitably covered with shampoo, let it soak in for 5 minutes and then use the same low-pressure source of lukewarm water or cups to gently rinse it away.
Step 5: Allow time to dry
After the shampoo has been sufficiently rinsed off, let your hair naturally air dry.
How often should you wash your hair after a hair transplant?
During the first two weeks after your hair transplant procedure, it is essential to wash your hair on a daily basis and ideally twice a day. This is to help remove dried blood and scabs while keeping the transplanted area as clean and healthy as possible.
After these initial two weeks are over, all of your scabs should have disappeared and your transplanted hair grafts should have anchored themselves a lot more strongly into your scalp. At this point, you can then go back to your regular hair-washing routine using standard products.
However, we would recommend following the advice in your aftercare package. This will provide you with recommendations on the best hair products to use to ensure your hair transplant remains successful over the long term, including specialist shampoos that can reduce issues like scalp itchiness5.
Additional hair transplant aftercare tips
In addition to washing your hair correctly, there are several other things to consider during your aftercare to maximise your hair transplant’s success. These include:
- Follow the surgeon’s aftercare instructions – your surgeon will be able to provide tailored advice and recommendations based on factors like your age and medical history. Sticking to their advice and guidance is crucial for achieving a successful outcome.
- Take prescribed medications – certain medications, like finasteride, minoxidil or a combination of both, can help reduce hair loss and support hair growth6. Therefore, it’s vital to follow any medication regimen your surgeon prescribes.
- Avoid strenuous activities – you will need to refrain from working out for at least 2 weeks after your hair transplant to give your scalp enough time to recover and allow the grafts to strengthen.
- Allow time for recovery – after your procedure, it’s important to avoid anything that could increase your risk of infection, such as commuting on public transport or allowing home pets to come close to the area of surgery. As such, give yourself enough recovery time by either working from home or taking one or two weeks off work.
- Protect your head from the sun – when going out and about, protecting your head from sun exposure is crucial to avoiding UV damage7, safeguarding your hair grafts and promoting the healing process7.
Get in touch for further advice
Here at The Treatment Rooms London, we specialise in helping patients with a wide variety of hair loss concerns, including post-transplant hair washing.
Our dedicated team can provide you with personalised advice to ensure your post-transplant hair care journey gets you back to looking and feeling your best.
Simply book a consultation with us to get started.
- Liu, F., Miao, Y., Xingdong, L., et al. (2018) The relationship between self-esteem and hair transplantation satisfaction in male androgenetic alopecia patients. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 18(5): 1441 – 1447. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jocd.12839
- Garg, A. & Garg, S. (2021) Complications of Hair Transplant Procedures—Causes and Management. Indian J Plast Surg. 54(4): 477 – 482. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8719980/
- Kerure, A. & Patwardhan, N. (2018) Complications in Hair Transplantation. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 11(4): 182 – 189. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6371733/
- Küçüktaş M (2017) Complications of Hair Transplantation. Hair and Scalp Disorders. InTech. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/66838
- Schweiger, D., Schoelermann, A., Filbry, A., et al. (2015) Highly efficient and compatible shampoo for use after hair transplant. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 8: 355 – 360. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26229498/
- Chen, L., Zhang, J., Wang, L., et al. (2020) The Efficacy and Safety of Finasteride Combined with Topical Minoxidil for Androgenetic Alopecia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Aesthet Plast Surg. 44(3): 962 – 970. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32166351/
- Sebetić, K., Masnec, I., Cavka, V. (2008) UV damage of the hair. Coll Antropol. 32(2): 163 – 165. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19138021/
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