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The mental effects of hair loss

No matter the cause behind hair loss, it can be an emotionally distressing experience. Even temporary hair loss can be difficult to cope with, due to the toll it can take on a person’s self-esteem – and although many people associate hair loss primarily with older men, it can affect anyone of any age.

Why does hair loss affect our self-esteem?

Whether we realise it or not, our hair does affect our appearance – anyone who has ever ended up with a disastrous haircut can vouch for that. As a result, when people start to lose their hair, it can change the way that they see themselves and have a serious impact on their self-confidence.

Culturally and historically, a thick head of hair has been synonymous with youth, attractiveness and good health. This beauty standard still pervades, so hair loss may lead people to feel unattractive when they start to lose their hair. This is particularly true for women, whose hair is often considered their crowning glory. In fact, a study conducted by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology revealed that women are more likely to develop a negative body image as a result of their hair loss compared to men. However, 75% of men also reported they felt less confident about themselves after starting to lose their hair.

It’s not just concerns about self-image, either – many people who experience hair loss may worry about how they are perceived in the workplace, or by romantic partners, as they worry that they will no longer be considered attractive by others.

Can hair loss cause depression?

Hair loss can cause emotional trauma, and the subsequent impact on self-esteem and self-worth can be linked to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. In turn, some of the behaviours associated with depression – such as poor sleeping habits, a poor diet and increased alcohol intake – can make hair loss worse, making it a vicious cycle.

Coping with hair loss

If you are struggling with hair loss, you don’t need to suffer in silence – there are a number of ways to cope with hair loss.

Temporary hair loss

If you are experiencing hair loss caused by factors such as medication, pregnancy or weight loss, remember that the chances are it’s only a temporary form of hair loss known as telogen effluvium. Even if large amounts of hair fall out, the hair usually will grow back – although it can be hard to cope with, remember that it won’t last forever. It may be worth visiting your GP to check if there are any factors contributing to your hair loss.

Talk to someone

For anyone who is struggling with their mental health, it’s worth seeking treatment – there are plenty of professionals who will be able to support you through it. Talking therapies may be especially helpful if you’re finding that the emotional impact of hair loss is getting in the way of your daily life. Speaking to a professional about your struggles can teach you strategies to improve your confidence and self-esteem.

Surgical and non-surgical treatments

There may be no magic cure to hair loss, but there are plenty of treatments available to help restore your hair. From medications such as Propecia and Finasteride, to non-surgical scalp micropigmentation, all the way to permanent solutions such as hair transplants, there is sure to be a treatment to suit you.

Crown Clinic has been working with hair loss patients for years, offering them support and guidance to find a treatment that will work best for them. If you’d like to book a consultation to find out how we can help you, get in touch.

Our Surgeon

Dr. Asim Shahmalak

Dr Asim Shahmalak is a world-renowned hair transplant surgeon who performed the UK’s first eyelash transplant in 2009. He runs Crown Clinic – one of Britain’s most successful and best known hair transplant clinics. He has treated a number of high-profile industry leaders and celebrities including the medical broadcaster Dr Christian Jessen, best known for Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies.

Expert hair transplant surgery by Dr Shahmalak

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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 days post-surgery, as the pressure of the water can cause irritation.

 

Get in touch with Crown Clinic to find out more about hair transplants

Can I go swimming after hair transplant surgery?

The first thing many of us want to do on our holidays is to take a dip in the pool, of course, people want to know if you can swim with a hair transplant. However, chlorine is notorious for drying out your 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!

Can I wear a hat after a hair transplant?

After a hair transplant, you need to treat your scalp and the hair carefully, so it is important to avoid any kind of tight-fitting cap until after the grafts have been taken properly. Most would recommend that you wait at least 10 days before wearing any fitted caps or hats.

If being in the sun is unavoidable after your transplant, wear a loose sun hat or fishing hat that won’t rub against your scalp to allow the incisions to heal properly. If you have any concerns, make sure to contact us directly and talk about it when proper aftercare is discussed.

How long should I wait to go on holiday after my hair transplant?

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.

After undergoing FUT or FUE hair transplant surgery, you may be eager to get back to your day-to-day life as soon as possible, but it’s important that you don’t rush into anything that may affect your recovery. Exercise is undoubtedly very important to our overall health, but in the short term, your post-surgical recovery should be your main priority.

Both FUE surgery (Follicular Unit Extraction) and FUT surgery (Follicular Unit Transplantation) involve hair follicles being taken from a donor area at the back of the scalp and transplanted to areas that have been affected by hair loss. After the surgery, the newly transplanted hair grafts will need to be looked after correctly to ensure that the scalp can heal – so how long should you wait before exercising after a hair transplant?

What are the risks of exercising after a hair transplant?

The reason why it’s recommended that you avoid exercise soon after surgery is to protect your new hair grafts and reduce the risk of infections, to help promote healthy hair growth. Some of the potential issues associated with exercising after a transplant include:

  • Sweating – Sweating is unlikely to affect the results of your hair transplant but after surgery, the scalp can be very sensitive, and sweating can cause irritation. It can also potentially lead to infections around the surgical sites.
  • Stretching – Some types of exercise, such as sit-ups, can stretch and strain the back of the neck. If you have undergone FUT surgery, this is a particular risk, as the scar on the donor site will still be healing. The stitches may tear, which can lead to bleeding.
  • Blood pressure – Strenuous exercise increases your heart rate which, in turn, will raise your blood pressure. Increased blood flow to the scalp can lead to swelling and potentially bleeding.
  • Head injury  – Contact sports, such as rugby or boxing, put patients at a higher risk of head injury, which can damage the hair follicles and have an adverse effect on the outcome of your hair transplant.

 

Get a free consultation from Crown Clinic

 

When can I start exercising again after hair transplant surgery?

If you have had FUE surgery, you should be able to resume exercise as normal after two weeks, but it’s better to err on the side of caution and ease yourself back into it gently. For those patients who have undergone FUT surgery, you should generally wait around a month before returning to your normal exercise routine.

In the first 1-3 days after surgery, exercise should be kept to an absolute minimum – if possible, you should even avoid walking anywhere. During those first few days post-transplant, you should allow yourself to take things easy.

After the first week or so, you can start to re-introduce gentle exercise, such as walking. For the time being, avoid any type of exercise that will raise your heart rate or cause sweating.

For contact sports and weight training, four weeks post-surgery will usually be an acceptable time to start participating again. You can also start swimming again around this point, as the scalp will have healed enough for the risk of infection to be reduced.

It’s worth noting that everyone heals at different rates, so although there are general guidelines on when you can start exercising again after your transplant, it’s different for everyone, so make sure to speak to your doctor to discuss what is best for you.

Hair transplants – where hair from the back of the scalp is extracted and transplanted in balding areas – may be a well-known or even commonplace procedure nowadays, but did you know that body hair transplants are also possible? 

Body hair transplants are certainly a lesser-known procedure, but still one that can be viable for the right candidate – here’s what you should know. 

How do body hair transplants work? 

Body hair transplants work in a very similar way to traditional hair transplants, except that hair is extracted from – you guessed it – donor sites on the body. Patients seeking this type of transplant have typically undergone several hair transplants already and exhausted their supply of donor hair on their scalp. However, for some patients, a body hair transplant is a preferable option if they have naturally thin, patchy hair or if they have acquired a scalp injury that impacts the typical donor areas.

Generally, donor areas for body hair transplants are the abdomen, chest and back. Hair follicles on the arms and legs may be in abundant supply, but the hairs tend to be too fine to use on the scalp. 

The body hair transplant process itself closely mirrors traditional hair transplants. The donor area is shaved before the surgery, and during the procedure the hairs are extracted from the donor area under local anaesthetic, before being transplanted into the thinning areas of the scalp. The length of the procedure depends on how many grafts are needed and the recovery process is comparable to standard hair transplants. 

Can hair be transplanted from the head to the body? 

Body hair transplants can work the other way around, where hairs from the scalp are transplanted in other areas of the body. A common example of this is eyebrow transplants, but head hair can be transplanted in other areas such as the chest or pubic region. Although a less common form of surgery, it can be an option for people who have lost body hair through genetic or external factors such as chemotherapy or injury. 

What are the results of body hair transplants? 

It’s worth noting that often body hair transplants do have a lower success rate than typical hair transplants, partially due to the lower levels of compatibility between the hairs on the head and the hairs on the body and the different structures of the hairs. However, during your consultation you will be able to discuss any potential issues with your surgeon. 

To find out more about body hair transplants and to find out if you may be a suitable candidate for the surgery, get in touch with Crown Clinic.