How Should I Wash My Hair After a Hair Transplant?

Fri 28 Dec 2007

I am 7 days out from a hair transplant and want to know how gentle or aggressive I should be with the follicular unit grafts when washing my hair in order to work off the scabs.

Keep in mind  that every hair transplant clinic has their own hair restoration postoperative instructions and they vary.   Therefore it is always best to get detailed postoperative hair washing instructions directly from the hair transplant surgeon.

That being said, I thought I’d share my personal experience with hair washing after hair transplant surgery that worked well for me.

Day 0: (day of  hair restoration  surgery): Just relax.   Do not wash your hair at all.

Day 1: If at all possible, visit your hair restoration clinic for a postoperative hair wash.   If not, fill a cup with water mixed with shampoo and pour it gently over your head several times.   Gently massage the shampoo into the donor area, cleaning the area around the scar.  

Day 2 and 3: Fill a cup with water mixed with shampoo and pour it gently over your head several times.   Gently massage the shampoo into the donor area, cleaning the area around the scar.   Wash donor area normally working around the scar with care to work off any dried blood.   Apply as much pressure as needed however, avoid using so much pressure that it causes pain.  

Day 4: Assuming that your shower pressure is reasonable and not too harsh – let the water from the shower head hit your head normally.   Massage shampoo in your hands until it  lathers.   Gently touch the grafts with the shampoo in the palm of your hands and gently touch with your finger tips.   Avoid any massaging of the transplanted hair at this point.   Continue washing donor area normally from this point on paying extra attention around the scar as to work off any dried blood and keep the area clean.

Day 5: Repeat the instructions from day 4 however,  add very gentle back and forth motions with your finger tips  through the transplanted hair.   Avoid using your nails at all costs.

Day 6:   Resume normal hair washing but be extra gentle with the hair grafts.

Day 7+:   Begin showering twice a day normally however, use a little extra care of the follicuar unit grafts.   Spend 10 extra minutes in the shower both in the morning and evening massaging with shampoo the hair grafts in a circular motion  with your fingertips in order to start working off the scabs.   Avoid using your fingernails at all costs.   Do not apply a lot of pressure.   The trick is to apply  a constant circular motion to gradually work off the scabs rather than simply picking them off.   Picking the scabs should be avoided at all costs.   Whatever scabs don’t come off in the shower will come off after subsequent showers and circular massaging.   Additionally, when you come out of the shower and after looking in the mirror see some loose scabs, feel free to perform additional soft circular massaging over the scabs in front of the mirror to work off loose scabs.   Scabs still tightly secured to the scalp should not be worked too much.   These scabs will come off after subsequent showers in the coming days.  Patience is important and don’t force anything off.  

I have found that by using the above method, scabs typically come off between 8-12 days.

Bill Seemiller
Associate Publisher of the Hair Transplant Network and the Hair Loss Learning Center
View my Hair Loss Weblog

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20 Comments so far:

  1. captainobvious says:

    I agree with this method 100%. 7th day is the day to start lightly massaging, anything earlier is dangerous to graft and later is keeping scabs on too long(the ones that are read to fall out)

  2. captainobvious,

    Thanks for your comment. I have found that physicians vary on their postoperative washing instructions, but the above method worked well for me, especially for my third hair transplant.

    Have you had a hair transplant before?

    Best wishes,

    Bill
    Associate Publisher

  3. captainobvious says:

    Had my 3rd last week, i’m 32. 1410 grafts this time, 1518 on first (march 2005), 1770 on 2nd (oct. 2006). This one was a little work on crown and some in-between work to fatten up. Will do a scar revision in 6 months, my HT doc says he usually gets 100-200 grafts out of a revision, you can’t beat free grafts (especially after what I paid for the first 5000)

    I really appreciate all you do to help spread knowledge about this procedure, especially with all the snakes out there who convince people the transplants today are the same as 15 years ago and ppl spend money but most important time on something that won’t work. 90% of my friends have no idea I’ve ever had one, let alone 3. The ones who know only know b/c I told them, and a few have had HT b/c of my results.

    I’d love to post more to other forums but I only have gmail and the mods have the sites pretty locked down for the snakes, which I totally understand. I’ll keep posting here, keep up all your good work, it really is reaching people, even 3 time vets of the HT like myself are still learning from you

  4. captainobvious,

    Congratulations again on your recent hair transplant. I appreciate the encouragement and am glad that our sites have been helpful to you.

    By the way, if you are interested in interacting on our forum, you can find it at http://www.hair-restoration-info.com/eve.

    Hope to see you on the forums as well as our blog site :)

    Bill
    Associate Publisher

  5. John says:

    Kindly let me know what kind of medicine i need to use after one month of surgery

  6. John,

    Can you specify a bit? What type of ailment are you seeking to treat with this medication? If it’s hair loss or maintaining hair after your transplantation, I would suggest investigating minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia). I hope this helps! Feel free to clarify or ask any additional questions.

    Blake (Future_HT_Doc)

  7. Ajay Pal says:

    Hi, Nice information my dr. said the same instructions to do i am now on my 12th day after transplant and still have scabs on the transplanted area till now they are falling but at slow pace… is it important to get rid of them as quick as posible or other wise they will effect the growth result..

  8. Ronnie says:

    Hi Team,

    I just had my 1st HT a week ago from today’s posting
    I was advised to take 1 shower/day & I see those dark patchy/scabs area on the Transplanted region

    is that Normal, How long will it take to clean up the area!

  9. sammy riz says:

    One day in the shower, I noticed a larger amount of hair in the bottom of the tub than usual. For about a month, every time I showered, my hair loss got worse. With some research, I stumbled across Shielo and decided to give the Shielo Volume Shampoo a try. I’ve been using this for about two weeks now and it’s made SUCH a big difference. It’s improved the look and feel of my hair, even the dryness I get in my scalp.

  10. Emerson says:

    After 7days,what shampoo is recomended?

  11. Ajay,

    The scabs should not affect the final result. These can normally be gently removed by washing, but it is not imperative to forcefully pull them off the scalp at any point.

    Blake (Future_HT_Doc)
    Editorial Assistant

  12. Ronnie,

    At 7 days post-op, the grafts are likely anchored and washing will not cause any sort of damage to the newly implanted grafts. Around day 7 you can start gently working the scabs off the scalp by gently massaging your scalp with shampoo in the shower. Make sure you aren’t using your nails when you do this. If some scabs aren’t falling off with this method, keep repeating for the next 5 days. Normally, most scabs are gone between days 8-12.

    Additionally, make sure to review your clinic’s post-operative instructions to see if they have any specific timeline/methods for hair washing and scab removal.

    Good luck!

    Blake (Future_HT_Doc)
    Editorial Assistant

  13. Emerson,

    Check to see if your clinic recommends anything specific. If not, you can simply use a shampoo that is mild for the scalp. Keep in mind that by day 7, the grafts should be mostly anchored and any regular shampoo should be appropriate. If you want to be very safe, some patients have reported success with baby shampoo for the first few weeks after surgery.

    Good luck!

    Blake (Future_HT_Doc)
    Editorial Assistant

  14. yash says:

    i got hair plantation on 2nd april 2013. on 17th april my dr rub the grafts by the cotton to remove the scabs i m afraid ,wether it damage the root of grafts ?

  15. Yash,

    By post-operative day 15, your grafts will fully implanted, and rubbing off the scabs gently with cotton will not damage the transplanted follicles.

    Good luck!

    Blake (Future_HT_Doc)
    Editorial Assistant

  16. Syed says:

    Hi, can you please tell me what happens if we pull out scap forcefully, will there be any problem . Thanks

  17. Bill - Managing Publisher says:

    Syed,

    Please do not pull hair out of your scalp. Doing so can cause permanent hair loss and scarring on your scalp.

    If you feel this is becoming an issue for you, I suggest consulting with a physician.

    Best wishes,

    Bill – Managing Publisher of this Community

  18. Naval says:

    I got my first HT done by strip method 3 yrs back. I got fair results on this procedure and that inspired me to go for another session. This time I have opted for FUE method from another clinic. They have grafted approx 700 follicles and have suggested me not to shampoo my hair unlike the first time till 12th day..!! I have not opted for the full shaving of the hair so this is becoming very messy with my existing hairs becoz of ointment. Pls suggest is it really necessary not to wash the hair??

  19. pratik walhe says:

    Hello sir,
    I had a hair transplant suregery on 12th february. But i have one question that how often i should wash my hair. Do i wash it dialy basis or twice a week. Please recommemnd me the best ans and also some helpfull suggestion to take care of hair transplant.

  20. Venki says:

    Hello ,

    I had (2500 grafts)hair transplant surgery on 28th Nov and today is 7th day. My doctor advised me to use mild shampoo to clean and due to sweaty head my doc advised to wash twice a day. Is that recommended to take twice head bath ? Kindly also suggest a ointment/lotion/shampoo to use only on Donor area skin because most of the times its itchy. I use mupirocin ointment as now.

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