The first step to hair loss has to be accepting that there is something going wrong – there could be an underlying health condition or it could be due to some incorrect lifestyle choices. If the hair loss is severe, you will want to talk to an expert, who will suggest whether or not you should consider a hair transplant or not. Now let’s say you are eligible for a transplant, there are several things that could go downhill, very easily – a good clinic will give you a variety of instructions that you need to follow before and after the procedure and if you want the transplant to be successful, it is imperative that you follow them to the T.
Here are some of the things that you can do to ensure that you have the kind of results you expect from your transplant:
How you sleep:
You might be used to sleeping on a really thin pillow, but post the procedure, for at least one week, you will be asked to sleep with your head elevated (the ideal elevation for your head should be at around a 45 degree angle). This means that you will have to use extra pillows for the said time period – this is actually suggested to keep the swelling down. As a matter of fact, if there is swelling, then you could even consider sleeping on a recliner for a few days, or just until the swelling reduces. Similarly, there are people who have the habit of tossing and turning in their sleep – if you sleep on your stomach, you might end up rubbing the new hairline on the pillow and that is sure to hurt the grafts.
Whenever you get hurt or have an injury, in most cases, you will be asked to apply ice to the affected area, as the cold temperature can help reduce swelling. The same goes for a hair transplant procedure as well – however, the common mistake that most people make is that they ice the scalp directly. Kapil Dua, a highly experienced transplant surgeon and founder of AK Clinics says, “It is best that you not touch the surgical area for at least 48-72 hours.” When you are icing, you need to make sure that you ice away from the grafts – you can ice above the eyebrows and below the hairline.
Sweating it out:
No matter how much of a fitness enthusiast you are, it is best that you keep away from any and all strenuous activities. It doesn’t matter if you are training for the marathon or you can’t live without hitting the gym every single day; in the days following the surgery, it is imperative that you not exert yourself. There is nothing wrong in mild or moderate activity, such as walking or doing light yoga, but nothing that could put too much pressure on your heart or increase your heart rate. Dua suggests that you avoid all activities that could lead to heavy sweating, including going to steam or sauna rooms. And no matter how much you love your favourite sporting team, try to keep away from their team cap for a few days. The tight cap could lead to your grafts falling out or the pressure on the scalp area could restrict the blood flow.
Washing the hair:
You will obviously asked not to wash your hair for the first 48 hours and even though you will be allowed to wash your hair on the third day, there are some rules that you need to keep in mind. first of all, do not stand under a shower – the strong pulse of the water could dislodge the grafts. Use a mug and pour the water very gently on your head. Do not use very hot or very cold water on the head – room temperature or very slightly warm water is the best choice. Massage the shampoo very gently and ensure that you do not wash it off aggressively. In case there is too much itching, you can use a mild conditioner as well and Dr. Dua suggests using shampoos and conditioners prescribed or suggested by the surgeon.
Smoking or drinking:
These are both habits that you might be asked to give for a few days before and after the hair transplant– ideally, you should try and quit smoking a few months before the procedure, because it is known to increase the blood pressure. When you quit smoking, the blood flow in the body will be better and new grafts need a steady and proper blood supply. Alcohol on the other hand will make you want to urinate regularly and if that causes dehydration in the body, it could lead to the grafts drying out too.
Hydrate and eat healthy:
Water is of utmost importance and it is essential that you drink plenty of water in the days before and following the procedure. The most you hydrate the faster you will recover and faster the healing will be – drink upto 10 glasses of water, each day and you should be fine. Eating right is also important – even if you love fast food and processed food, try to stay away from them for a while – choose plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and greens for your daily diet.
If you are getting a hair transplant, it is important that you ask your doctor all such precautions and methods to improve your transplant results and follow them religiously.