Hair restoration refers to the restoration of thinning hair and hair loss, the restoration of the natural hairline and thicker hair. Hair restoration can be accomplished in one of several ways, some methods are surgical while others can be done without going under the knife.
Here’s a list of some of the current hair restoration procedures.
- Follicular Unit Transplant, or better known as FUT.
- Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE.
- Laser Hair Therapy.
- Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP.
- Scalp Micropigmentation.
- Medications that are topical or oral for hair regrowth such as Rogaine or Propecia.
The type of treatment for hair restoration determines the type of hair restoration recovery – and what to do or not do.
FUT Vs. FUE Surgical Hair Restoration
FUT hair restoration is also called a strip hair restoration. FUE isn't a method of removing strips but instead, it’s where anywhere from 1-4 hair follicles are removed at one time and placed in the new location.
The surgical treatments of FUT and FUE will require that you get local anesthetic. Hair follicles will be taken from different donor sites and the site where those hair follicles will go will need to be properly prepared. A horizontal surgical scar will remain at the donation site for FUT, although it won't necessarily be visible after new hair grows in.
With the FUT method, there’s a greater number of follicles transplanted during one treatment than what is taken for the Follicular Unit Extraction method. In fact, you can expect an FUT treatment to graft up to 9000 total follicles within about four hours.
The FUE method takes about 10 hours and results in up to 2000 grafts. It doesn't leave a linear scar because individual hair follicles are transplanted. Thus, the recovery time for FUT is longer than that of FUE. In fact, additional treatment sessions of the FUE method may be performed on consecutive days.
Here are some of the guidelines for FUT aftercare:
- Use the first two days of downtime productively.
- Don't wash your hair/scalp for the first three days after treatment.
- Don't get your head wet for the first three days after treatment. Water and moisturizer may be used on the head afterwards.
- Avoid running, weight lifting or any other type of cardio activities for the first three days. Avoid swimming in a pool for the first 30 days.
- Avoid doing any activity that will make you sweat until the tenth day after your treatment.
- A foil shaver may be used (Remington R91) on day four but don't shave off any scabs. It’s preferable to wait until day 10 after treatment.
- Expect full results to appear at the six-month mark, and an increase in hair density within a year.
- Whenever you go outside in the sunshine, make sure you avoid sunburns. You'll need at lease SPF 15 on your head.
The guidelines for FUE aftercare are the same as FUT's.
Scalp micropigmentation is an alternative to surgery and is often used in addition to FUT or FUE.
The Scalp micropigmentation method delivers immediate results because a pigment (that's close to your normal hair color) is injected into the scalp. It gives the appearance of thicker hair and a more natural-looking hairline. It’s a cosmetic solution.
There won't be any scarring and there's no maintenance needed for the treatment. It’s a permanent solution to hair loss. The results look like the hair has simply been cropped short to the head. It looks clean and sharp.
You don’t regain your hair with this method so it’s technically not a hair restoration method. However, scalp micropigmentation makes it look like you have a natural hairline and hair; you just made a decision to keep it very short.
The aftercare instructions are the same as for FUT and FUE. Especially avoid tanning beds because they can cause fading of the pigmentation.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Vs. Laser Hair Therapy
Platelet Rich Plasma is the use of the body’s own growth factors that stimulate hair regrowth. These growth factors are found in the platelet part of the bloodstream, and once a blood sample is taken from the patient, these growth factors may be concentrated. This concentrated portion of the blood is then called PRP.
Platelet-rich plasma is injected into the area where there has been hair loss or surgery but only after an anesthetic cream is used first to reduce pain. Hair regrowth appears after 1-1.5 months. PRP is denied to those who are smokers, abuse alcohol or drugs, are on blood thinners, have cancer, chronic liver disease, metabolic disorders, or skin disorders or have low levels of fibrinogen in their blood.
PRP injections can actually increase the diameter of the hair. In one study of seven men and three women, the mean caliber of the hair was 37.3 um but after PRP injections, that number went up to 52.3 um. This increase was equal to 27.5 percent in men and 31.3 percent in women.
The procedure takes up to two hours.
After-care guidelines include:
- Apply cold compresses to the scalp if tender.
- Massaging your scalp after the treatment and for the next few days will help distribute the PRP to the scalp.
- Avoid dyeing your hair or using any type of chemicals on your hair for at least three days.
- You can resume normal activities even heavy exercise after the procedure within 24 hours.
- Don’t color your hair for at least five days.
- Avoid hair spray for 24 hours after treatment.
- Avoid direct sun exposure for 7-10 days after the procedure.
Low Level Laser Therapy is approved by the US FDA to stop hair loss and reverse it. It’s often used in conjunction with other options for hair restoration.The method can stimulate hair follicles in the resting phase come back to life and remember the hair growth cycle they used to be accustomed with.
This treatment doesn't damage any hair follicles you have that are still alive. The laser goes down to the level of the epidermis and by increasing blood flow, will also increase metabolism inside the cells. The better blood flow also brings detoxification to the dihydrotestosterone that can be a direct cause of male pattern hair loss. The treatment makes topical applications of hair restoration treatments more effective.
There are no specific guidelines for aftercare but taking precaution in the sun is always a good strategy.
Medications for Hair Regrowth
There's no downtime or aftercare needed after you begin taking medications for hair loss and/or hair regrowth.
With all the new treatments for hair loss you have lots of options. It’s time to get treatments and since the aftercare instructions are easy to deal with, go through with them.