You’ve decided to go for hair transplant surgery, congratulations! Having hair restoration surgery at a reputable clinic like ours here in Antalya in Turkey means that you’re in safe hands. Your surgeon and surgical team will know exactly what it will take to give you a natural looking hair line and a renewed confidence, so plan to sit back and relax once you’re in the surgical chair.
But a successful hair transplant isn’t just down to a good surgical team and well-respected clinic. You need to play your part in caring for your newly transplanted hair follicles too. So here’s our top tips for a successful and transformative hair transplant…
The Best Diet for Hair Growth
Eating well is the key to good health in all areas. Healthy eating helps to keep our cholesterol levels under control, our weight in a healthy range, our immune system strong so that it defends us against bugs and all of our bodily functions running smoothly. So it’s understandable then, that to have the best outcome from a hair transplant, we have to eat our way to recovery.
There is no ‘ideal’ diet for recovering from hair restoration surgery, but there are things we can eat, and avoid, for optimal scalp and hair health. This involves making sure you eat plenty of omega 3 fatty acids, lean protein and vitamin rich fruits and vegetables and saying no to junk, fast, fried, fatty and sugary foods.
Omega 3 – The most well-known sources of omega 3 fatty acids are oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. If you’re a vegan, or you don’t eat fish, then there are still plenty of plant-based sources of omega 3. Flax seeds (also know as linseeds), walnuts and pumpkin seeds are all rich in omega 3. Omega 3 doesn’t directly affect scalp health and hair growth, but it does help to prevent inflammation within the body and support the immune system, crucial factors in having a healthy head of hair.
Protein – As well as being needed for energy and muscle growth, the body needs a plentiful supply of protein for hair follicle development and hair growth. If you’re lacking in dietary protein, your body will take it from its lean muscle reserves, and hair growth will take a back seat whilst the body uses what protein it does have for more crucial processes. Good protein sources are lean meat, poultry and fish, plus beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, peas and whole wheat pasta and bread.
Vitamins and minerals – All fruits and vegetables are packed with health giving vitamins, minerals and antioxidants essential for a healthy scalp and strong hair growth. But some are more beneficial for promoting hair growth than others. Strawberries and pomegranates are high in a nutrient called ellagic acid which helps to stimulate and promote thicker, stronger hair growth. Iron is another crucial nutrient so make sure your post-op diet contains plenty of iron rich spinach, whole grains, dried fruits, nuts, seeds and fortified cereals.
The Question of Smoking and Drinking
You should refrain from smoking or drinking excess amounts of alcohol in any case, but in the first seven days after a hair transplant, both should be completely avoided. Both, but especially smoking, can affect wound healing which can delay your recovery. Smoking also restricts the oxygen that’s able to reach the tiny blood vessels of the scalp which also delays would healing and can lead to an increased infection risk.
Lifestyle and Exercise After a Hair Transplant
In the first few days after a hair transplant, you’ll probably be feeling a little bruised and physically and mentally delicate. Take it easy during these first few days. The most you’ll want to be doing is short walks at a slow to moderate pace, or some other very low impact physical activity.
During the first month you will need to avoid strenuous activity such as team sports, weight lifting, high impact sports such as running or tennis, and most definitely swimming. The reason for avoiding these is twofold – firstly, avoiding situations where you can bump or unnecessarily make contact with your scalp is advisable because of physical injury to the delicate newly transplanted follicles, and secondly, it keeps excessive sweating to a minimum. Sweating during a time when washing your scalp needs to be done carefully could cause a build up of grime that could lead to an infection at the recipient or donor site. Sunbathing and using sunbeds is also best avoided for the first three months.
It’s recommended that you avoid all kinds of sexual activity for the first seven days after hair transplant surgery, also for these reasons. As a general rule, if something feels too strenuous in the first month or so, don’t do it.
Hair loss Medications and Pain Relief
After your hair loss surgery, your surgeon will give you some prescribed drugs that are important for your successful recovery. Some will be pain relief that you should take for as long as you need, usually only a few days.
Depending on your level and rate of hair loss, your surgeon may also recommend that you take a hair loss prevention medication called Propecia (sometimes known by its drug name, finasteride). This medication is known as a ‘DHT blocker’ which means that it blocks the effect of the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, that is responsible for male pattern baldness.
Some medications, such as blood thinning medications should be stopped shortly before and after a surgical hair loss procedure. But this should never be done without the supervision of a doctor, so make sure you mention any medication you’re taking to your surgeon at your pre-op consultation to be on the safe side.
Shampooing, Brushing and Styling your Hair Post Hair Transplant
How you treat our scalp in the crucial days and weeks after a hair transplant is possibly the most important aspect of your recovery. Your surgeon will supply you with a selection of shampoos, lotions and / or moisturising sprays and detailed instructions on how to use them.
As a general rule, you should have your first hair wash after two or three days during a visit to your hair loss clinic. The professionals are best placed to perform this first wash. At around day six, you will need to carefully wash your hair in a gentle stream of lukewarm water using your special shampoo. Use gentle pressure and allow your hair and scalp to dry naturally without using a towel or hair dryer. Your special shampoos and lotions should be used thereafter until day 14. You should avoid any brushing or styling of your hair during this time.
We’re all individuals, and no two hair transplants are the same. Your surgeon will give you all the advice that applies specifically to you and combining that with our advice above will give you the best chance of a successful hair transplant.
Take heed of your surgeon’s advice, especially regarding shampooing your hair after your hair transplant surgery, what to do about your bandages, how to wear a hat and how to generally touch your scalp. And remember, no question is a silly question when it comes to the health of your scalp, so always contact your clinic if you have any questions or doubts at all. Better that, than put your hair transplant at risk. All that’s left for us is to wish you the best of luck!
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