One question we hear a lot from our patients is if they can go on holiday after their hair transplant. As looking overseas for cut-price transplants has become more popular in recent years, many clinics try to reel in potential patients with the promise of sun, sea and sand straight after their surgery.
However, if you have had an FUE or FUT hair transplant, good aftercare is crucial to ensure that you get the best results from your surgery and, surprisingly, the sun and sea can do more harm than good if you don’t follow the necessary precautions.
Can I sunbathe following a hair transplant?
Unfortunately for any sun-seekers out there, we advise against sunbathing for the first few weeks after a hair transplant, for several reasons.
After an FUE or FUT hair transplant, your scalp will have surgical incisions that need time to heal. Exposing the incisions to sunlight can hinder the healing process and damage the deeper layers of the scalp tissue, potentially leading to scarring and damaged follicles.
Your scalp also may feel slightly numb after your surgery, meaning that if your scalp starts to burn under the sun’s harmful rays, you might not notice in time to protect yourself from sunburn. Although it is unlikely to impact the long-term results of your surgery, it can be painful and slow down the recovery process.
If you must sit in the sun, wear a loose sun hat that doesn’t rub against your scalp too much, and, once the incisions have healed, use sunscreen on your scalp to protect your skin.
Will sweating affect my hair transplant?
If you are planning on jetting off to sunnier climes, the hot weather will also cause you to sweat more. Just after a hair transplant, your scalp is more sensitive than usual, so perspiration can irritate the scalp and hair follicles. Sweating can cause a build-up of bacteria on the skin, potentially leading to infections.
To help keep cool, make sure you stay in the shade whenever possible and avoid any strenuous activities that can lead to increased perspiration, such as running, for around a week after your surgery.
Keeping your scalp clean can lower your risk of infection, so you can start washing your hair again 48 hours after your transplant, using lukewarm water and being careful not to rub your scalp. Steer clear of power showers for the first few day’s post-surgery, as the pressure of the water can cause irritation.
Can I go swimming after hair transplant surgery?
Although the first thing many of us want to do on our holidays is take a dip in the pool, chlorine is notoriously drying to the hair, making it more brittle and fragile. To avoid any potential damage to your new grafts, wait until your scalp is healed before exposing it to unnecessary chemicals.
Salt water may be healing, but unfortunately there is no way to be sure how clean the ocean is or what pollutants may be lurking in the water, so swimming in the sea during the healing process is also not advised. Everyone heals at different rates, but for the first two weeks post-surgery, it’s better to be too cautious!
How long should I wait to go on holiday?
Ultimately, it is at the patient’s discretion if they choose to go on holiday immediately after hair transplant surgery, but many of the indulgences that come with going abroad can potentially compromise the results of your hair transplant.
It may feel like an inconvenience when you would rather be sitting in the sun but following medical advice will give you the best chance to heal. Your new head of hair will be worth it!
To find out more about hair transplants and what your options are, get in touch with Crown Clinic to book your consultation with Dr Shahmalak.