How To Wash Your Hair After Surgery – Easy Guide

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Want to know how to wash your hair after surgery? This is an important part of the recovery process. In this guide, we’ll tell you the exact steps to take to make the experience as comfortable as possible.

How To Wash Hair After Surgery

You should rinse your hair gently with lukewarm water, then apply a gentle shampoo like baby shampoo on your scalp using the palms of your hands. Massage the area slowly, then rinse the shampoo off after a few minutes and air dry your hair.

Read on to discover more about how to wash your hair after surgery. Also find out what hair products you can use, how you should dry your hair, and how often you should wash it. 

What are the types of hair transplant surgery?

Hair transplant surgery is of two types: the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method and the Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) method.

The FUE method involves harvesting each follicle from the scalp.

The hairs from the donor area are removed from random and scattered spots so that the area doesn’t seem devoid of hairs.

In the FUT method, a piece of skin is removed from the back of your head to cover the bald areas.

The size of the strip depends on the number of hair follicles that are needed to cover the bald areas on your head. 

This method of hair transplantation is generally quicker than the FUE method.

What happens after you get hair transplant surgery? 

The hair transplant process can hurt and cause some discomfort. To counter the pain, patients are usually given anesthetics to help relax them throughout the procedure.

After the surgery, it is quite common to experience pain for a few days and even up to a couple of weeks. This is the time it takes your scalp to heal and for your new hair follicles to grow hair.     

Patients report having pain, swelling, and itchiness in the recipient part as well as the donor part in the days following the surgery. 

The pain and swelling can be reduced by taking oral medicines prescribed by your doctor. You should be careful not to wash your head or bump or rub the affected area during this phase.

How long should you wait after surgery before washing your hair?

How long should you wait after surgery before washing your hair

The time it takes for individuals to recover from hair transplant surgery varies greatly. Some report having no pain or pain or swelling 2-3 days after surgery, while for others, recovery can take as long as a couple of weeks.

As a general rule, you should wash your hair no earlier than 10 to 14 days after your surgery. 

This gives your scalp enough time to recover, for the scabs to heal, and for any blood to dry.

However, the best option is to regularly stay in touch with your doctor or dermatologist so that they can monitor your recovery process and advise you on the best time to wash your hair.

How to wash your hair after hair transplant surgery

Washing your hair for the first time after surgery is something that should be done with extreme care and caution. 

Here are some instructions to guide you:

Washing the recipient area

  1. Pour lukewarm water lightly over the recipient area using either a cup or the showerhead.
  2. Once your hair is fully wet, apply a gentle shampoo like baby shampoo and massage it thoroughly but gently using your palms.
  3. Rinse gently after a few minutes using water and get all the shampoo out.
  4. Air dry your hair. Don’t use a blower or a towel.
  5. Re-bandage the area if necessary.

Washing the donor area

  1. Pour lukewarm water lightly over your head using either a cup or the showerhead.
  2. Once your hair is fully wet, apply a gentle shampoo like baby shampoo and massage it thoroughly but gently using your palms. Avoid scraping your nails against the recipient area.
  3. Rinse gently after a few minutes using water and get all the shampoo out.
  4. Air dry your hair. Don’t use a blower or a towel.

What hair products should you use when washing hair post-surgery?

When you wash your hair for the first time (washing after 10-14 days is recommended), you must be mindful of the hair products you use as your scalp would still be healing. 

As we previously mentioned, a very mild shampoo should be used for the first wash.

Conditioner can also be used after your first wash. It can help with the healing process and may also reduce itching in some cases.

Hair sprays and gels aren’t usually gentle and must be used at least 3 weeks after your surgery. Some hair products contain even stronger chemicals and must be applied 4 weeks after surgery.

How should you dry your hair after washing it post-surgery?

How you dry your hair after the first wash post-surgery is important and must be taken seriously.

Usually, we don’t think much about how we dry our hair, using a towel or blower in most cases. 

But if you’ve had hair transplant surgery recently, both of these methods of drying your hair can adversely affect your newly transplanted follicles and may prolong the healing process.

Air drying your hair is the best method in this case. It ensures the recipient and donor areas aren’t affected by blowing or rubbing. Patting your head gently with a towel is also safe and effective.

How frequently should you wash after surgery?

How frequently should you wash after surgery

Once you’ve washed your hair for the first time after hair transplant surgery, you might want to know how often you should wash it. 

You can wash it daily if you want, or once every two days.

You can revert to your previous washing routine, but you should continue using a gentle shampoo for a few weeks more.

By doing this, you give your scalp ample time to recover before you start using a stronger shampoo.

Once again, consulting your dermatologist isn’t a bad idea. They’ll give you the best advice on how frequently you should wash and when you can switch to other shampoos and conditioners.

When should you get a haircut after hair transplant surgery?

A few days after having your hair surgery, you might think of getting a haircut and may be unsure when to get one.

Doctors usually recommend getting a haircut after waiting at least a month following surgery.

For haircuts that involve a shaving machine instead of a scissor, you need to wait at least 5 to 6 months. 

This is because a shaving machine cuts your hair close to the scalp and may cause pain and complications if it’s done too soon after your surgery.

When can you dye your hair after hair transplant surgery?

Here’s a fact: hair dyes contain strong chemicals. 

So, applying hair dye in the days following the hair transplant procedure is not a good idea and may irritations and other potentially serious complications.

To dye your hair safely and avoid any problems, it is best to wait at least 5 to 6 weeks before dyeing your hair.

You must also make sure there are no open incisions on your scalp and that all scabs and blood crusts have been cleared.

Pay a visit to your dermatologist to get a professional opinion on the matter. This way, they can warn you if it is too early to dye your hair.

Final thoughts

Washing your hair for the first time after surgery is something that must be done very carefully. You have to be mindful of the hair products you use and the way you dry your hair, besides other important considerations. 

But if done correctly, the washing process will go smoothly and you’ll have no trouble at all.

Before taking any decision about your hair after surgery, consulting your dermatologist is an advisable course of action.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What happens if I wash my hair soon after getting hair surgery?

Washing too soon after surgery can negatively impact the newly transplanted hair follicles and can also displace the grafts.

When can I start washing my hair normally and quit worrying about it after surgery?

To be safe, you can start washing your hair normally 2 weeks after your surgery. This ensures there are no crusts of dried blood on your scalp and the follicles are healthy.

The swelling and itchiness on my scalp won’t go away after hair surgery. What should I do? 

Swelling and itching on your scalp for a few days to a week after surgery is normal. If, however, the condition persists, you should consult your dermatologist as soon as you can.

Washing my hair after hair surgery stings. Is that bad?

When you wash your hair for the first time after surgery, it may sting. It is normal. But as the days go by and your scalp recovers, washing shouldn’t hurt.

References

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Dee

Dee is the founder of Loved By Curls and in-house Curly Girl expert. She loves natural haircare and has tried and tested her share of CGM products. She's always happy to recommend you her favorites.