There can be so many reasons for hair loss, regardless of your gender. Hair can start to thin or fall out because of age, hormonal disorders, stress, nutritional deficiencies, conditions such as alopecia, or genetics. There are lots of ways to treat hair loss; at Oxford Biolabs we know this well, because preventing and treating hair loss is one of our specialties. Still, no matter why hair falls out, when people are having difficulty fixing the issue, they may feel inclined to turn to more drastic measures, such as getting a hair transplant.
However, generally speaking, hair transplants are only suitable for those with permanent, genetic baldness. If you are suffering from a condition such as alopecia areata (when hair falls out in patches), unfortunately the procedure won’t be suitable for you. It is usually more prudent to use other hair regrowth treatments for temporary hair loss.
Do hair transplants work? With this being a relatively complex procedure - and one that hair transplant patients don’t always openly discuss - it is no surprise that people find themselves asking whether hair transplants really work. We are here to help you understand what to expect from a hair transplant, so that you can decide if it is the right procedure for you.
There are two different types of hair transplant
If you’re thinking about having this procedure, it may help to know that it can be done in two ways. The first is called ‘follicular unit transplantation’, and the second is ‘follicular unit extraction’.
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT)
This is sometimes called the strip method, since it consists of a thin strip of skin with follicles being taken from the back of the head. This skin is split into smaller pieces. Next, your transplant specialist will make little cuts in the scalp in the areas where you lost your hair. The final stage is to place the smaller pieces into the little cuts.
Note that you hair won’t need to be shaved, and where the skin is removed you’ll receive stitches. Although there will be a scar, it shouldn’t be noticeable unless your hair is particularly short.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
This type of transplant consists of the specialist shaving the back of your head, and removing hairs one at a time to make individual grafts. Again, little cuts will be made in the scalp where you lost your hair, and the grafts placed into the little cuts. Although this will create scars, they will be very difficult to spot.
What does a hair transplant involve?
Here are the important details to know about hair transplants:
- Hair transplants can cost as little as £1000, or as much as £30,000 (depending on the clinic, the treatment type and the size of the transplant)
- The procedure takes around one day to complete (no overnight stay required)
- You will be given local anaesthetic and offered a sedative so that you won’t feel pain, even though you’ll be awake
- After the procedure you will bandaged; you should keep these on for between 2 and 5 days
- Within 3 to 4 days, you should be fit to return to work if necessary
- After approximately 6 days you should be able to wash your hair (with great care!)
- If you had stitches, these can be removed around 2 weeks later
- Depending on the severity of your hair loss, you may need at least one more session, usually several months later
- Hair transplants are usually safe, but there is a slight risk of infection, or reaction to the anaesthetic or sedatives
- Although noticeable scarring is unlikely, there is a small possibility of it
- In rare instances, the transplant does not take and the hair drops out
It is important to be very gentle with your scalp for the first couple of weeks after the procedure, so as not to accidentally damage your new grafts. You might notice some scabs – which of course you shouldn’t touch – and there may be a little tightness and soreness in the scalp in the first days after the treatment.
If you notice hair falling out after the first few weeks, don’t panic – this is normal. The transplanted hair does drop out, but because you had the follicles transplanted, it will grow back in alignment with your usual hair cycle. That means that at around 6 months you should have new hair, and by the end of the first year (or up to 18 months for some), you should have a full new head of hair.
Other treatments for hair loss
As we mentioned at the start of this article, hair transplants are not suitable for everybody. Some people will simply need to find the best hair regrowth products or protocols for their issue. For example, many people benefit from introducing the vitamin biotin into their diet, since it helps strengthen hair shafts, stops thinning hair, and restores hair texture.
For an all round wonder product, you might benefit from using a food supplement for strong hair, TRX2® Molecular Food Supplement for Hair. It contains biotin, zinc, selenium, and other vitamins and minerals that support strong, healthy hair, and encourage extra thickness and density. You can expect visible results after 3-5 months of use, and consistent improvement for every subsequent month of usage.
To conclude, although hair transplants usually do work, it may not be the most suitable procedure for you. Unless you suffer from permanent, genetic baldness, you should be able to find viable alternative ways to regrow your hair.