January 29, 2020

What to expect after a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplant: Do’s and Don’ts

Congratulations if you have undergone Dr. Harold’s FUE hair transplant to restore your hair to its former glory! But if you haven't yet and are looking at potentially getting a hair transplant done, here's some useful information. 

FUE Hair Transplant Post-Operation Care

Right now you must be feeling rather excited, maybe even anxious about the next steps, how to look after the newly planted hairs, how to shampoo the area, what you can or cannot do, what you can or cannot eat, etc. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to look after the transplanted hairs, teach you basic scalp wound care so you get the best possible results out of your investment.

FUE First post-op day until week 1

On post-op day 1, we will carefully remove the bandages on your head and inspect the transplanted hairs and wounds. Usually, the transplanted area will appear slightly red and the new hairs will be held in place by scabs that form sort of like a tissue glue. They look like tiny brown dots around each stubble of hair. The wounds at the back of the scalp, where the FUE graft harvesting was performed, will appear like little tiny holes in the scalp, less than a millimeter in diameter.

Typically, the entire scalp will appear quite dry and clean. This is a good sign that your scalp is already starting to heal. We have heard patients comment they saw on the internet that some post-op wounds appear very bloody. This is not a good sign of quality work and surgery.

After removing the bandages and checking the grafts, we will proceed to give your scalp the very first hair wash. We use a special post-hair transplant recovery shampoo. This is formulated to be very gentle on the wound and scalp. It is self-foaming and has an anti-septic effect. It is also quite soothing on the wounds.

Most clients comment that the scalp still feels slightly numb and the donor area can feel a little sore to the touch, but it is not very painful. After a shampoo and rinse, it is time for the optional laser hair growth treatment: studies have shown that the hair growth laser aids wound healing, promotes blood circulation and gives a boost to the newly planted hair grafts.

If you are keen to get back to work or social commitments more quickly, this is highly recommended, and you may do this treatment weekly or monthly.

Home Treatments For Better Recovery after Hair Transplants

At home, we recommend that you shampoo your scalp in the following way:

  1. Wet the scalp with lukewarm water either pouring with a cup gently, or use very low pressure water from the shower head
  2. Use only finger tips gently, never use finger nails to avoid scratching out the grafts
  3. The pressure on the scalp should be a very light touch, almost hovering over the hairs, moving in a dabbing or light tapping action
  4. Take your time to shampoo, don’t rush through this process

After thoroughly shampooing, you may leave the shampoo suds on the scalp, allowing it to work its way into the hairs for a few minutes. This has a cleansing effect as well as to soften the scabs on the scalp through soaking action.

Meanwhile, you can soap the rest of your body. Once done, you can rinse off the shampoo suds, using either the cup method or the low water pressure shower head method. It is good to use one hand to shield the scalp from direct water impact.

Once all the suds are rinsed off completely, it is now time to dry your hair. The method of drying depends on whether your hair was trimmed very short for the hair transplant or left long. For short hair, it is very simple. All you have to do is dab the area with a soft cotton towel. Some may simply use a hair dryer to blow dry the hair without even touching the scalp.

For long hair, you have to be extra careful to dab dry the long hair without too much force on the scalp to avoid dislodging the grafts. Some may also choose to use a hair dryer. Do note that the scalp may be numb for a few weeks post hair transplant. This is normal and will resolve fully in time. However, as the scalp is numb, take care when using a hair dryer, not to burn the scalp.

Wondering if FUE is a good fit for you?

Get an appointment with us and we will be able to help you do a professional assessment and provide more details on your hair situation.

or learn more about FUE hair transplants here

​Hair Spray Solution To Keep New Grafts Moist and Clean

We provide a hair spray solution to keep the grafts moist and clean. Remember to spray the area every 2 hourly, during waking hours. This helps to irrigate the wounds and many find that it is soothing to do so. Some prefer to keep the solution in the fridge for an extra cooling effect. This is up to you. Use the spray for the first week.

Do not engage in strenuous activity for a week after a hair transplant. Try to keep sweating to a minimum. Light sweating is fine, but not profuse sweating. It is ok to expose the scalp to a bit of sunshine, for example when walking to the bus stop or waiting for a taxi, but do not stand under the hot sun for more than 15 minutes.

Use the bandana provided or your own cap to protect your scalp from the elements, pollution and dust. The bandana also serves as a reminder to be extra careful with your hair grafts. We have had patients bump into furniture, car doors, or accidentally scratch their scalp while deep in thought.

Itching, mild pain, numbness and tingling are all normal sensations you may feel from time to time.

From week 1 until 1 month after FUE Hair Transplant

After the first week, you may return to the gym, go running, etc. Sweating is fine at this point. You may also start to use hair products such as wax, gel, hair spray on your hair, where applicable. Be sure to wash off these products properly at the end of the day. As a rule of thumb, do not leave hair products in hair overnight.

At the 1 week mark, we recommend switching from the post hair transplant recovery shampoo to the Freia scalp care (men’s or women’s) shampoo. This is specially formulated for thinning hair, with deep cleansing action, anti-inflammatory properties and nourishing elements for proper hair growth. 

Some Pimples on Scalp Are Normal After A Hair Transplant

It is normal to have a bit of pimples appearing on the scalp, they usually go away on their own after 2 to 3 days. If it persists, you may need to use a warm compress or a pimple cream. Our doctor can advise you.

From 1 month onwards

After 1 month, you may resume all sports, including contact sports (rugby, boxing, muay thai, etc). There is now no restriction on your activities. Well done! You may even go for a head massage if you like. Some will start to colour the donor area, if they have a lot of grey hairs. It is ok to colour the back and sides of the scalp, but not to colour the recipient area until at least 2 months post op.

Growing and Shedding Of Hair from week 2 to 4. It's Normal!

Between the second and fourth week post op, you will find that a lot of the new hairs that were growing, have started to shed. Up to 90% of the planted hairs may shed, and as long as you did not deliberately scratch out the hairs, you do not have to worry. The hair is going through a normal hair-growth-shedding cycle.

The shed hairs have left behind a small seed in the scalp, which will hibernate for the next 4 to 5 months before re-growing. We call this the “winter phase” of hair transplant. “Spring” will arrive in 4 to 5 months, take comfort. It is not unusual to experience some pimples on the scalp, occasional tingling, itchy and even mild pain. This will go away completely by the second post op month.

You can trim your hair to the desired length. Some clients simply let their hair grow out while others choose to trim their hair short, waiting for the transplanted hairs to grow over the next few months before re-growing all the hair.

Hair Dye After 2 Months From Your Hair Transplant

After 2 months, you can use hair dye on the entire scalp if you wish. Colouring hair every 1 to 2 months, especially to cover greying hair or roots, is reasonable.

At this point in time, there is no restriction on what you can or cannot do, although we advise to treat your hair and scalp with respect and sensibility. Do not subject it to abuse, like not washing your hair for more than 2 days at a stretch, or tying it too tightly in a pony tail or braid. In sunny warm and humid Singapore, it is advisable to wash daily with a good quality shampoo like the Freia Men or Women’s scalp care shampoo.

How Long Does Transplanted Hair Take To Grow?

The newly transplanted hair takes time to grow: at a rate of 10% density every month. By 5 months, you roughly have about 50% growth. Remember that it takes up to 9 to 12 months to get full growth, so be patient. 

Enjoy the journey, do not be in a rush and before you know it, you will notice a thicker, fuller crown of hair. Often it grows so insidiously and naturally that people around you will not notice the difference. That is what our clients are grateful for: that no one seems to know why they look better, more youthful, or more confident.

Enjoy Your Hair Transplant Long-Term With Proper Maintenance

The transplanted hairs are expected to last for many years but we always emphasize the importance of maintenance treatments such as finasteride, minoxidil, laser hair and scalp treatments along with the hair transplant. This is to ensure that you do not continue to lose your existing hair, or else new gaps will show up. This is the best bet to protect your hair transplant results and enjoy full and thick hair for many years to come.

Think Hair, Think Dr. Harold

Still wondering if FUE is a good fit for you?

Get an appointment with us and find out if FUE Hair transplants will work best for your situation.

or learn more about FUE hair transplants here