This question was posed by a hair loss sufferer seeking hair loss help on our hair restoration forum and answered by Dr. Steven Gabel of Hillsboro, OR who is an elite member of the Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians. His professional answer is below.
I believe that the first two weeks following hair transplant surgery are the most critical. And it is important to understand that each person heals at different speeds; some balding men and women look amazing after one week while others take a little more time to look the same way.
For the incision, it is important not to stretch it or put any undo forces opposing the edges of the incision. This will just lead to more collagen formation, and ultimately, a larger scar. I tell all my hair replacement patients to allow the incision to heal well before any strenuous activity.
Hair grafts: After two weeks, the follicular unit grafts are seeded pretty well. Again, I ask my hair restoration patients not to put any undo stress on the transplanted hair for about a month or when they start to shed. I do this for a couple reasons; one: that is a healing area and I don’t want anything to compromise the healing process. Living in the Northwest, I’ve had several hair transplant patients ask me if they can go skiing with helmets on 2 weeks after surgery (especially this season with fantastic snow). I let them know that I think it is still too early to allow anything to be rubbing on that area. Usually when the grafts start to shed, then I believe they can resume their normal activity. The second reason is that every hair transplant patient has put a lot of effort into the surgical procedure, not just the time of the procedure, but the time after the procedure caring for the surgical sites. Having them wait a couple extra weeks to insure that the grafts are completely seeded and will not be damaged by outside factors is worth the wait.
Steven Gabel, M.D.