Hair transplant is the best available solution to baldness. This procedure aims to cover bald spots with grafted hair. However, many patients feel their hair is growing back slower after the surgery. What to know about slow growth after a hair transplant? Is this phenomenon normal? Is it possible to fasten hair growth after a hair transplant?
Let’s look at the hair life cycle to understand why patients feel their hair is growing back slower after a hair transplant.
The hair life cycle counts three phases. It lasts from two to 7 years, depending on individuals and their genetics.
The anagen phase
First, the anagen phase is when the hair is growing. Hair follicles produce hair. Every hair follicle has its life cycle and develops independently. Hopefully, our hair does not synch with each other; otherwise, there would be a moment all our hair would fall simultaneously, and we would be bald.
The anagen phase lasts for one to four years. During this phase, hair follicles produce keratine, and the hair grows. Hair grows one centimeter (0.40 inches) per month.
The catagen phase
The anagen phase leads to the catagen phase, which lasts for 2 to 3 weeks. The keratine production stops. Follicles retract to the surface of the scalp and get ready for the resting stage.
The telogen phase
It is the rest phase of the hair. The follicles do not produce any keratine, so hair does not grow. However, it stays attached to the hair follicles for about three months. At the end of this phase, the hair falls, and the cycle starts over.
The crucial role of the hair life cycle in slow growth after a hair transplant
Knowing the hair life cycle makes it easier to understand why hair grows slowly after a hair transplant. Right after the surgery, follicles enter the telogen phase, meaning they do not produce any keratine. The hair does not grow, and the grafted hair falls about three months after the surgery. It is a normal phenomenon; there is no reason to worry!
As said above, when the hair falls, the cycle starts over. After three months of the telogen phase, the follicles are back in the anagen phase. Follicles produce keratine; the hair grows back. However, this new hair needs one or two months to be visible.
What can we do about slow growth after a hair transplant?
We cannot change the hair life cycle. Nothing can shorten the telogen phase and make the hair grow back earlier. The follicles need to rest before they can produce hair again.
However, it is possible to act on the anagen phase to help follicles produce more keratine so the hair will grow faster.
Give your hair follicles what they need
Follicles do not produce hair out of anywhere! They use nutrients from the blood. Eating a healthy, vitamin-loaded diet helps hair to grow faster. Make sure you have a proper vitamines and minerals intake every day. Hair follicles need all the vitamins from the B vitamin type to grow correctly. Supplements or enriched foods, such as nutritional yeast, may help to grow hair faster.
As the blood brings those nutrients to the hair follicles, increasing blood circulation in the scalp may help to increase hair growth. A jet of cold water on the scalp at the end of a shower is an excellent way to boost blood circulation. A daily massage of the scalp is also efficient.
Avoid what harm your follicles
Some activities or habits harm the body and the hair follicles. Smoking is terrible for many reasons, but it is harmful to hair growth because it reduces blood circulation. A poor diet with too much oil or salt reduces hair growth as it clogs the arteries and does not bring the needed nutrients.