• 02-26-2009 02:36 PM
    J_B_Davis
    Sun Exposure after Hair Transplant
    I am trying to schedule a hair transplant during my vacation time toward the end of the year and I was wondering how long after the hair transplant do I have to wait to go out in the sun without my head being covered? Would it be more than two weeks?

    Thanks.
  • 02-26-2009 06:01 PM
    SpencerKobren
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by J_B_Davis View Post
    I am trying to schedule a hair transplant during my vacation time toward the end of the year and I was wondering how long after the hair transplant do I have to wait to go out in the sun without my head being covered? Would it be more than two weeks?

    Thanks.

    Hey JB,

    I wouldn’t suggest getting any direct sunlight on the recipient area for at least four to six months after a hair transplant procedure. If it were me, I would avoid getting any sun on my scalp until the transplant reached full maturity.

    Some complain of scalp hypersensitivity to the sun for many months after their hair transplant. I have been in contact with a couple guys who believe that they caused permanent discoloration of their scalps because they exposed their heads to direct sunlight too soon after their procedure.

    I don't think getting a sun tan is worth risking the financial or emotional investment it takes to undergo surgical hair restoration.

    Hope this helps!
  • 02-27-2009 01:40 PM
    gillenator
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by J_B_Davis View Post
    I am trying to schedule a hair transplant during my vacation time toward the end of the year and I was wondering how long after the hair transplant do I have to wait to go out in the sun without my head being covered? Would it be more than two weeks?

    Thanks.

    JB,

    Glad to see you received some helpful, practical replies. This question comes up quite a bit.

    I just wanted to make a distinction. It's not that you can never expose your head to sunlight post-op, it's more how and the duration. I think it's a good idea to cover one's head if one decides to be in the direct sunlight for more than momentary, say five minutes or so. It's a good idea to cover your head whether you have HT surgery or not. That's why you hear the medical professionals state to never allow ANY skin to direct exposure to harmful UV rays without using adequate sun block products or in the case of the scalp, a hat.

    Let's say it's a bright sunny day in July and you decide to step out your front door to get your mail at the end of the driveway (100 feet) and come right back. Do you need to cover your head? Not really IMHO. But let's say you are going to cut your grass which is obviously going to expose your scalp much longer. WEAR A HAT.

    Dr. Feller, I have also heard that immdediate over-exposure to UV rays can prevent the transplanted follicles from establishing to their new blood supply and they can subsequently perish from this. Do you agree?
  • 03-02-2009 01:45 PM
    Dr. Glenn Charles
    Dr. Glenn Charles
    I get this question several times a week. Probably because I live and practice medicine in Florida. In the past I have always told patients not to allow any direct sun exposure to the scalpt until they can look in the mirror and not see any redness or discoloration from the procedure. Any time you expose already abnormally pigmented skin to direct sunlight you taking a risk that permanant changes will occur. Meaning there is a chance that there could be some degree of permanant redness. However, after having a similar experience with a patient that Dr. Feller had I now suggest to patients that they wait an additional 1-2 months to insure that the pigment of the skin immediatly surrounding the newly grafted tissue will repond in a similar fashion to the adjacent tissue.
  • 03-04-2009 05:43 AM
    bigmac
    Good informative post and very helpful.

    Dr Feller you said that what you noticed was that while the skin around the transplants became VERY red, the sites where the grafts were implanted were totally WHITE. This meant that the skin could darken to somewhat protect itself, but the skin of the grafts had not regained this protective ability yet.

    Could this be due to the skin where the grafts are placed is scar tissue however small and this tissue reacts differently to sun exposure.I may be totally wrong of course.

    Thanks bm.
  • 03-04-2009 02:51 PM
    Paul Straub, MD
    Paul Straub, MD FACS
    You should not get excessive sun on it until the hair grows. You don't have to bother for short intervals such as walking across the parking lot to your car but if you are going to sit out at a ball game or work in the yard or polish the car it must be protected. A serious sun burn may stop the new hair from growing. A suntan on the scalp may not look good. You won't be able to see the grafts but if you get a suntan there are tiny pieces of skin around the grafts which have never been exposed to sunlight, they sit in the skin on the to of your head which has probably had more sunlight than any other part of your body. When you get a suntan you will be able to see the grafts. the grafted area will take a mottled appearance. Later as time goes on the new skin will become used to the sunlight and this will not happen.

    You can protect the grafted area in several ways. Of course you can wear a cap. Many people have hair that they can comb over the grafts to protect from the sun. Or you can use sunscreen. You should be putting sunscreen on your face; just continue it over your head if you don't want to wear a cap. For example, if you go to the beach and want to go in the water, put a heavy coating of waterproof sunscreen on your face and head.
  • 03-04-2009 03:25 PM
    J_B_Davis
    Thanks!
    Thank you Dr. Feller, Dr. Charles, Gillenator, Dr. Straub and Spencer!

    I appreciate all of you taking time to provide your thoughtful answers.
  • 03-05-2009 04:24 AM
    bigmac
    Thanks Dr Feller for explaining that,maybe this thread should be a sticky as its very informative.
  • 03-06-2009 11:28 AM
    gillenator
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dr. Feller View Post
    "Dr. Feller, I have also heard that immdediate over-exposure to UV rays can prevent the transplanted follicles from establishing to their new blood supply and they can subsequently perish from this. Do you agree?"

    I've never heard that Gil.
    I doubt it's true.

    Dr. F

    Thanks, I received an e-mail from a guy who went to S. Florida immediately post-op from a 2300 strip and went out on a launch for four hours without his head covered, bad sunburn throughout recipient area and subsequently had virtually no yield. He went to a well known reputable surgeon so it was not a question of the surgeon's skills, and this was his second HT. The first he had was 1500 grafts with good re-growth.

    He did not have the pics from when he first got sunburn, he did not contact me until 15 months post-op. He thinks it was from the sunburn because he said he had some blistering on his scalp the next day and lots of pain. He said he had some existing hair in the recipient area so he did not know he had that intense suburn until they came into shore and he went inside.

    I don't know what else it could be other than his newly transplanted follicles were damaged, his exisitng hair and the hair from his first HT are still there. He says he feels looks the same if not a little worse than his pre-op pics which he did e-maill to me along with his 15 month post-op pics and I have to agree with him that he did not gain anything in visual coverage.

    When I saw this thread, it reminded me of his case.
  • 03-06-2009 02:16 PM
    Skeptic1st
    I am fortunate I found this particular thread,and Im a little upset because my HT doctor didnt mention a single thing about sun exposure in both his verbal and written post op instructions,and considering that I work outdoors for a living,I would think that information should of been provided.Im only a month and a half post op now so I dont think I was careless enough in the sun to do any damage yet, but there were several days I was outdoors with no hat.I only wore a hat most of those past days because of the cold weather here in NJ so I guess I lucked out.I would like to pose a little more specific question for everyone.. you,ve all agreed that no "direct sun" on the scalp is good,except for short periods like 10 minutes or less.What about days that are overcast with no sun, or rainy days?There are still UV rays present through clouds correct?and sometimes it can be very bright outdoors even without the sun. And what about when Im driving in my car, or work truck, too risky?If I go in the pool with my kids,Ill probably use sun screen although I hate any creams, or gels in my hair. What level SPF would be safe?
    Thank you again guys for raising this topic and answering it thoroughly, you saved me a lot of grief in an area I was completely ingnorant.

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