Itching is common after having a hair transplant. It affects the donor and recipient areas and can occur as early as 2 weeks after surgery. The condition is benign and generally self-resolves- however it can be uncomfortable. In this guide, we explore the symptom and what you can do to help it.
Are you suffering from itching after having a hair transplant?
Itching is a common symptom after a hair transplant, but rest assured it will go away! There are simple things you can do at home to reduce the itchy sensation and make yourself feel comfortable. At The Treatment Rooms London we have perfected our treatments to soothe the irritating itching feeling and in this blog we will give you some key tips.
Why Is my scalp itchy after having a hair transplant?
After having an FUE hair transplant you may realise your donor and recipient areas of your head become very itchy. This is due to the healing process your scalp goes through in order to repair itself following hair extraction and implantation. As part of this healing process, the scalp releases chemicals (histamines) that cause itching making you want to scratch.
How long does itchiness last after an FUE hair transplant?
Itching following hair transplantation tends to last one week but can in rare cases last up to four weeks. Itching can be particularly worse in the four-to-five days after hair transplantation where you are unable to wash the top of your head. You will notice a big improvement after you wash this area for the first time.
Treatment For Itching After Hair Transplant Surgery
Feeling itchy is incredibly uncomfortable and it tends to be worse at night. Below are some treatments and tips that you can use at different times during your recovery as part of your hair transplant aftercare programme.
1. Do not scratch the itch!
2. Salt water spray
3. Taking an anti-histamine
4. Medicated shampoo
5. Steroid scalp solution
Do not scratch the itch!
At The Treatment Rooms London we understand how tempting it can be to itch your head after a hair transplant. It is important that you avoid this entirely. If you scratch your implanted hairs you risk introducing a skin infection or hair follicle infection (folliculitis). In the worst case you may pull out transplanted hairs entirely, this could have a detrimental impact on your FUE hair transplant results. We advise you wait 14 days until you start using anything but the flats of your hands when touching your hair.
Salt water spray
For four-to-five days after your procedure you won’t be able to wash your transplanted hair. Your clinic should provide you with a salt water spray to use during this period. This not only helps nourish the hairs but also clears away debris and dry skin which may contribute to the itchiness. Spray your scalp as copiously as you want to help soothe the transplanted area. Ensure the water comes out in a spread out burst rather than a single jet as this can damage hairs.
Taking an anti-histamine
Histamines are chemicals released when the scalp goes through its repair and healing process. It is this chemical that creates an itchy sensation. By taking an anti-histamine you reduce the histamines that are released in your scalp and therefore you feel less itchy after having a hair transplant. There are many anti-histamines you can buy over the counter at any local pharmacy.
At The Treatment Rooms London we recommend a long acting anti-histamine that is non-drowsy and an extra short-lasting anti-histamine that makes you feel sleepy at night.
One regimen we recommend to our patients as The Treatment Rooms London Anti-Itch Plan is a combination of Cetirizine and Chlorphenamine (Piriton®).
Cetirizine– acts to fight the histamine for 24 hours and does not cause drowsiness
Chlorphenamine – this lasts for a shorter duration of time and makes you feel sleepy. This is the perfect medication to take at night to reduce the itchiness in your scalp and help you get to sleep easier. Be careful- we advise you not to take this medication if you are about to drive or work with machinery as you can feel sleepy and we don’t want any accidents!
Sticking to our Anti-Itch Plan will help you get through the first 7-14 days of itching. After this period you will likely not have any further scalp itching.
A small number of people may have ongoing itching two weeks after their hair transplant. They should continue with their anti-histamine treatment above. However, for extra comfort we provide them with a Ketoconazole shampoo . This is a medicated shampoo which also helps reduce itchiness. Stronger forms of this shampoo are available by prescription only so you should speak to your surgeon if this is something you think you might need. Shampooing your head twice a week for 2-4 weeks should help nip the itching in a bud!
Steroid scalp solution
In rare cases where itching lasts longer than 3-4 weeks we may decide to use a steroid scalp solution which treats and reduces the itch almost within a day! Applying the solution for seven days helps to cure the itching and any remaining inflammation in your scalp after having a hair transplant. Again this medication is prescription only and you would need to see our Hair Loss Doctors and Surgeons in clinic to start this treatment.