A hair transplant can provide a long-term solution to reversing hair loss. However, a hair transplant is not a quick fix, and the results can take up to a year to develop. Following a hair transplant procedure, it is critical to be patient and adhere to your surgeon’s hair transplant aftercare and recovery guidelines. We provide a detailed timeline of what growth you can expect after a hair transplant in this article.
Before we get into the recovery timeline after a hair transplant, it’s important to understand how hair grows. Hair grows in stages, and the cycle of hair growth and loss is divided into four distinct stages. They are as follows:
. Anagen (growth phase)
. Catagen (transition phase)
. Telogen (resting phase)
. Exogen (hair shedding phase)
Let’s look at the four phases in more detail:
. Anagen – anagen is the growth phase and the longest of the four phases. Hairs are in anagen for approximately three to five years. However, some hairs can keep growing for seven years. During anagen, hairs are pushed out by the hair follicles and grow until they have reached the end of their lifespan. Scalp hairs have a longer anagen phase than facial or pubic hairs.
. Catagen – this is the transitional phase that follows the anagen phase. Over a ten-day period, growth slows and the hair follicles shrink. The hair separates from the hair follicle but stays in place on the scalp for its final days of growth. Around 3-5% of hairs are in the catagen phase at any one time.
. Telogen – telogen is the resting phase that follows the transitional catagen phase. For approximately three months after a hair has stopped growing, it will remain in place. During this time, new hairs are being formed in the hair follicles. At any given time, around 10-15% of hairs are in the telogen phase.
. Exogen – the exogen phase can be seen as an extension of the preceding telogen phase. It lasts from two to five months. During exogen, hair that is separated from the follicle and isn’t growing will fall out. Hair shedding can happen when you sleep, wash, or brush your hair. As old hairs fall out during the exogen phase, new hairs are already growing in the hair follicles.
We will now begin the hair transplant timeline, beginning with what to expect immediately following a transplant and progressing to the seven-day mark.
Following your hair transplant, the donor (from which the hair grafts are taken) and recipient (from which your new hair will grow) areas will heal. These areas will be bandaged, and it is normal to feel some ache, followed by itching as scabs form and fall off. It is critical that you follow the aftercare instructions provided by your clinic during this time.
In the first seven days after your hair transplant, you should use over-the-counter pain medication if you experience discomfort or have trouble sleeping, and wear a hat (or headwear provided to you by your clinic) when you go outside to protect yourself from environmental factors. You also shouldn’t wash your hair until instructed to do so (this is typically after five days following your hair transplant), rub your hair with towels, scratch your scalp, or engage in any intense physical activity for two weeks.
Two weeks after your hair transplant, you’ll have experienced some more changes. While the healing process will be well underway, you may still experience some redness and itchiness as scabs fall off naturally. Exercising will reduce the risk of irritating your scalp, and you should be able to sleep in any position without much discomfort.
Around this time, you may notice some hair shedding from the recipient area, which is completely normal as part of the hair growth cycle. In the follicles, new hair is forming and will eventually begin to grow. You should resume your normal activities, get some exercise, and soak your head in the bath to help the scabs wash away. You should avoid picking any remaining scabs.
More hair will enter the resting (telogen) phase and eventually fall out in the recipient area (exogen). This is the primary underlying process that causes shedding following a hair transplant. Because hairs in the recipient area are at different stages of the growth cycle, this area of your scalp may appear patchy in growth, which is normal. New hair should have grown and covered the donor site by now. You should contact your clinic if you see any signs of persistent inflammation (skin remaining very red and hot touch). You shouldn’t worry about your transplanted hair falling out – this is a natural part of the recovery process.
At two months, you will see the continuation of the hair growth cycle and shedding process described in the section above. The speed at which this takes place will vary from person to person. You should remain patient, and you shouldn’t be concerned about any patchiness in your scalp, as different parts of the recipient area will be in different phases of the hair growth cycle.
At month 3, you can expect to see your new hairs emerge. These new hairs are likely to be ‘wispy’ in appearance, being thin and almost transparent. This is due to their lack of maturity. You should continue to be patient as your new hair slowly grows. You shouldn’t panic at the appearance of these new hairs, which can be similar to body hair in appearance. As time goes on, your hair will become thicker and stronger.
By month 4, more hair should have grown. The growth can still be patchy at first before becoming more uniform.
You are now past what some refer to as the ‘ugly duckling stage’. You’ll notice a significant growth spurt from your new hairs, with hairs becoming thicker and stronger. This will continue over the next few months. You should remember that growth rates are affected by many factors, including the location of the recipient area and the hair transplant technique. You shouldn’t expect to see the final result of your hair transplant by this stage.
During this stage, your hair will continue to thicken. This is also an exciting time to think about hairstyles. During the first year after their transplant, we advise our patients not to have their transplanted hair buzzed. However, scissor haircuts are completely acceptable beginning about a month after the transplant.
Note: The donor area can be styled or buzzed to your heart’s content as soon as 7-10 days after the transplant. Before you proceed, make sure that all scabs have healed and fallen off.
Between 1 year and 18 months after your hair transplant is when you can expect to see the final result. All your transplanted hairs should have penetrated through the scalp and matured, having thickened and darkened fully. You can treat and enjoy your new hair as you would do in any normal situation.
In reality, your hair may deviate from that schedule. The rate of growth varies from person to person. Many patients’ growth and thickening continue for 14-15 months after their procedure. It’s also worth noting that younger patients typically see results faster than older patients. Frontal areas, such as hairlines, typically grow faster than the crown.
Iranian surgery is an online medical tourism platform where you can find the best doctors and cosmetic surgeons in Iran. The price of Hair Transplant in Iran can vary according to each individual’s case and will be determined by an in-person assessment with the doctor.
For more information about the cost of Hair Transplant in Iran and to schedule an appointment in advance, you can contact Iranian Surgery consultants via WhatsApp number 0098 901 929 0946. This service is completely free.