How To Style Your Hair After A Hair Transplant (For Women)
Why would you need a hair transplant?
A common question we get at Eternal Dermatology, especially from women, is how to style your hair after a hair transplant procedure. We see many women who have long struggled with hair loss every year. Women (and men) experience hair loss for various reasons, including:
- Genetics: Some balding is hereditary, even in women.
- Hormone changes: Pregnancy and menopause, for instance, may lead to hair loss.
- Telogen effluvium: A stressful event, like pregnancy, job loss, or a death in the family, can lead to hair loss, which is often temporary.
- Anagen effluvium: The resulting hair loss from chemotherapy, radiation, or other toxic substances.
- Traction alopecia: Tight hairstyles like braids pull on the hairline, causing long-term damage.
- Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA): Permanent hair loss in the center or crown of the scalp happens in a circular pattern. CCCA is often caused by tight hairstyles, relaxers, extensions, hot combs, and other hair techniques that damage the hair follicles.
Hair transplants are helpful if supplementation and in-office procedures fail to help hair loss. The procedure involves installing hair follicles into the damaged areas of the scalp from another part of the scalp or body that has excellent hair growth.
Receiving a hair transplant can bring a new lease on life, especially after each follicle grows into healthy, new strands on your scalp or hairline. However, you’ll be concerned about how you can style your hair immediately after treatment and long term.
What should you expect during a hair transplant?
A hair transplant aims to transfer healthy follicles to spaces where the hair no longer grows due to scarring, damage, hormone issues, or genetics. The procedure requires patience, skill, and precision, taking several hours to complete. The procedure involves transferring follicles using Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).
- First, we identify the area we will extract the hair follicles. This area is shaved to access the follicles and will grow back over time. The surrounding hair covers the extraction spots.
- Next, using a special tool, we extract hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) of follicles from an area with healthy growth. Each graft is then separated and prepared for the transplant.
- We will numb the area and sanitize it for the transplant. The grafts are then implanted through tiny incisions in a specific order to promote even growth of the hair. This process can take several hours, or in some cases, multiple sessions to complete.
Hair transplants are growing in popularity and have a high success rate. However, aftercare is essential for a successful procedure. Not only is aftercare essential, but using the right hairstyles can impact the success of your transplant.
After a hair transplant – Dos and Don’ts
It can take between 6-18 months to see significant growth after the hair transplant. There are several dos and don’ts to ensure you get the best out of the procedure:
DOs after your transplant
- Practice care when washing your hair during the first 2-4 weeks of the procedure. Avoid scrubbing, extremely hot water, or shampoos high in sulfates and alcohol. You should not wash your hair within the first 48 hours after the transplant.
- As the scalp heals, there will be some welling immediately following the procedure. Sleep with your head elevated to reeduce swelling.
- Do keep your scalp cool and clear of any coverings for at least 7 days. This period gives your scalp time to form scabs which is an essential part of the healing process.
- Do expect some hair to fall out during the initial healing timeline. This is a good sign and part of your hair’s normal growth cycle.
DONT’s after your transplant
- Don’t sleep flat on your stomach or on your side for at least 7 days. Keep your head elevated to minimize swelling and prevent compromising the procedure.
- Don’t expose the transplant to the sun, especially within the first 2 weeks of the procedure. Along with sun damage, sweat can disrupt the results of the transplant.
- Additionally, heavy sweat from exercise or sauna use is not recommended as it can affect your results.
- Avoid scratching or touching your hair within 48 hours after the transplant. We will recommend gentle conditioners you can use to reduce itching in the days following the procedure.
- Don’t dye your hair, use tight styles, or use harsh chemicals that change the texture of your hair, especially in the weeks following your transplant.
How to style your hair
As we mentioned, in the days, months, and weeks following a hair transplant, you should be careful not to do anything to compromise your newly implanted hair follicles as they begin to grow. However, you’ll still want to style your hair for work or a special function. Taking some time out of the public eye to complete recovery helps but it is often unavoidable. As such, you want to rely on low to no-manipulation hairstyles. These hairstyles should not involve chemicals, relaxers, or any tight techniques.
Here are a few options to help you through this exciting but sensitive time:
#1 Headbands and headwraps have got you covered.
A gently placed headband or carefully tied head wrap will not pull or snag transplanted hairs for those with transplants at the hairline. A head wrap is a perfect solution for those with transplanted hairs in any area. It covers the entire head without pulling tightly on the hairs. It is easily removed at the end of the day to allow the hair and scalp to breathe. Be careful to tie the head wrap loosely to avoid tension on your hair and scalp.
#2 Glue-less wigs can help you get through the day.
This option can work for you regardless of where your transplanted hairs are, but you must be careful in placing any item near the edges of your hair and be sure to remove them at night to allow your scalp to breathe. These wigs come with gentle hair combs and adjustable elastic bands at the back of the head to help them stay on. There is no need to use harsh glue or hairspray to install the wig.
3. Tape-in hair extensions add length and no stress.
This option can work for those with longer hair on the perimeter and transplanted hair in the crown or middle of the head. Tape-in extensions are thin, lightweight tape wefts that get “sandwiched” together in between your own hair. They require no tools or chemicals to get applied, can last 8-12 weeks, and are reusable for up to three applications. Having a licensed hairstylist attach these to the longer parts of your hair, NOT the transplanted sections, and styling in a loose, natural-looking ponytail or bun will effectively cover the areas that need time to grow for weeks.
4. Consider wearing your hair short
Teenie weenie afro (TWA)? Twists? Wearing your curls? A fade? Why not!? After a hair transplant, you’ll want to prevent hair loss again. And one of the best ways to keep your hair healthy is to just let it be. You can let your hair grow out into an afro, let your natural locks fall, or twist your hair while it grows. Some women like to go to the barber and get a fade to make their twists or natural hair pop. We still recommend avoiding hair colors or dyes for several weeks so your hair transplant can grow undisturbed. More women are embracing their natural hair as more studies and evidence are revealing that haircare products and certain styles damage our hair. You can join the natural movement too.
How can I prevent hair loss in the future?
A hair transplant can make you feel like you have a new lease on life, and you won’t want a repeat of the issue. While avoiding tight hairstyles and harsh hair products can help, here are some other steps you can take to prevent further hair loss:
- Establish a healthier, balanced diet. Your diet should be rich in vitamins A, C, and B-12. These vitamins help with scalp health and keep your transplanted hair healthy and strong. Your diet should also contain sufficient protein. The amino acids are also essential for hair growth.
- Try a hair supplement like Nutrafol, which contains saw palmetto, ashwagandha, zinc, selenium, and iodine. This supplement ensures you have the right nutrition, reduces oxidative stress, and keeps your hair healthy.
- Stress can literally make your hair fall out, and that includes your new follicles. Try to keep your stress levels as low as possible. Practice mindfulness, journaling, or other stress-reduction techniques.
- Use a mild shampoo that also promotes healthy hair growth. Keeping your hair clean minimizes the chances of excess hair loss.
Enjoy your hair
Being gentle is key to using these styles to safeguard your transplanted hair. Don’t apply anything directly to the transplanted hairs. Allow your scalp and hair to breathe and most of all, be patient. This journey is about long-term results. Therefore, your chief concern should always be to allow your hair the time it needs to grow without any extra stress or manipulation.
At Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics, we pride ourselves in providing high-quality hair transplant services, especially for women of color. Our lead dermatologist, Ife Rodney, MD, FAAD, is committed to helping women regain confidence by correcting the damage caused by CCCA, traction alopecia, and other conditions. More importantly, the Eternal Dermatology team want women to enjoy and protect their hair for years to come.
If you’ve been struggling with hair loss, contact us today for a consultation. We have a range of services available to improve your hair, including FUE transplants. We serve patients in the DMV area, including Howard County, Fulton, Maryland, and others. Let’s help you restore your natural hair, starting today!