For those considering a hair transplant, there are many unknowns and I understand that it can seem like a daunting process. A common question I get relates to your scalp, how it will feel, and what you can and can’t do immediately after the surgery, including rubbing your head.
These are perfectly fine concerns and as with any procedure you want to know what to expect afterwards. Below, I give an outline of the recovery process broken into phases, and answer the question, when can I rub my head after a hair transplant?
The Immediate Post-Transplant Period (0-14 Days)
Immediately after your hair transplant, you will be in recovery at the clinic so Dr. Yaman and the nurses can give you advice on what you can and cannot do. However, until the two-week mark, you should avoid rubbing your head.
Rubbing your head
From the moment your surgery is complete until around two weeks, the new hair grafts are unstable and can easily be dislodged. Therefore, if you rub your head, scratch it, or dry your hair harshly you can risk pulling the follicles out.
Washing your hair
You may wonder how you can wash your hair during this period. Usually, you have to be incredibly gentle and apply shampoo simply by patting into onto your hair. The shampoo and water are then rinsed off by gently pouring water over your head – not with a shower spray.
It is actually advised that you wash your hair regularly immediately after the transplant, typically starting after days 3-5. Washing it daily for 1-2 weeks after the transplant will help with the recovery process and keep your hair in good condition.
Scalp condition and pain
During the initial recovery period, your scalp may be swollen, red, and tender to the touch. You will also experience scabbing of the donor area as the skin heals where the follicles are extracted (for FUE and DHI surgery methods).
This is another reason why you really don’t want to rub your head after the hair transplant as it could be painful to do so aside from potentially ruining the grafts. You must resist the urge to scratch your scalp too as this will only inflame it more and make the healing process slower.
The Initial Recovery Phase (Weeks 2-3)
If you are asking, when can I rub my head after a hair transplant and you’ve hit the 2-3 weeks mark, there is a little more leeway. At this point, your scalp should hopefully be fully healed with any scabs dropping off. Your grafted hair follicles will also be much more stable and resistant.
I still don’t advise rubbing your head harshly during this period and you should still exercise caution and be gentle whenever touching your scalp, the donor site, and the graft sites. You can wear hats too, although beanie hats are something I advise staying clear of due to the tighter nature of the fabric.
Post-Transplant Care Beyond the First Month
After the first month is complete the recovery process is essentially finished. Please note that recovery times can vary from person to person, so you could recover quicker or slower than this.
However, if your recovery has proceeded as expected, you can rub your scalp after the first month. The hair grafts should be secure and your scalp should also be fully healed with the scabs gone and any swelling and redness long since dissipated.
This is also the point where you can start considering other things like contact sports and there really are no limitations on what you can and can’t do.
I always advise caution though and if you feel unsure about how your recovery is progressing, you should contact your hair transplant clinic for help. They should be able to assess your condition and provide you with an up-to-date action plan based on their findings and your input.
Tips to Protect Your Head After a Hair Transplant
Aside from the basic aftercare program, I want to impart some general advice relating to your head and how to protect it after your transplant:
- Avoid scratching your scalp and grafted hair until 1 month after your procedure.
- Use over-the-counter pain medication as and when needed to ease any discomfort.
- Wear a light-fitting hat outside for the first two weeks to protect the grafts and your scalp.
- Don’t rub your head with a towel – let it dry naturally.
- Don’t do any intense exercise for at least two weeks after your procedure.
- Don’t have any other scalp surgery or treatment for at least three months after your procedure.
Follow Your Surgeon’s Guidelines for the Best Post-Transplant Recovery
To summarize, you shouldn’t rub your head or touch the nearly grafted follicles for at least 14 days after your procedure. Until this point, the follicles won’t have stabilized properly and there is a risk they can fall out with excessive rubbing.