• 03-08-2009 12:23 AM
    Jeffrey Epstein, MD
    I may have a different assessment of this whole sun exposure issue. Practicing in south Florida (and NYC) for the past 15 years, I often encourage patients to obtain a bit of sun exposure once 8 weeks has transpired. I think it is a matter of how much sun, and discretion needs to be followed in terms of avoiding a sunburn which I agree can theoretically interfere with hair growth, although I must admit I have seen very little of this, unless the sunburn is associated with scarring due to prolonged (years, not months) of exposure. This approach is consistent with my less restrictive regimen on exercise and hair washing- two activities that I allow patients to resume in as soon as 6 days post-procedure, for they do not seem to interfere with the final outcome.
    A greater obstacle to hair growth is the wearing of hair pieces- for this is clearly associated with delayed and perhaps permanently impaired growth. There are changes to the scalp skin architecture that occurs with the wearing of a hairpiece- thinning and almost a shineyness to the skin- that is associated with poorer growth. In fact, in those patients who have worn a hairpiece for years, after their hair transplant I recommend not only that they minimize the amount of time the hairpiece is worn, but I also advise that they take some sun to promote circulation.

    Jeffrey Epstein, MD, FACS
    Miami and NYC
  • 03-10-2009 12:17 PM
    Thank you Dr. Feller, that was very helpful information and there are too many who are unaware it. Thanks Dr. Epstein for addressing stifled growth from wearing hair systems. I used to wear them myself.
  • 03-10-2009 12:25 PM
    [QUOTE=Skeptic1st;2355]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?


    Yes indeed there can still be strong UV present even with a cloud covering, and you'll hear weather people and derms warn about it. I am not sure what you are referring to about being in the car or truck because you are under cover when you are driving right? Lastly, use the sunblock with the highest block rating because the higher rating, the more protection. If you're in the pool, you will need to reapply it more often. Read the labeling of the product before you buy it and use it.
  • 03-10-2009 02:29 PM
    Thanks for the clarification Gil, your advice..."Post op...wear a hat or sunblock anytime outdoors regardless if its full sun or cloudy and overcast.
    The reason I was curious about protection even when in a vehicle because I thought of in-direct sunlight and direct sunlight or UV rays through your drivers window(but I agree with you,not often on top of your head).Like I said, Im am outdoors or in a vehicle at least 10 hours everyday.

    I know it sounds anal and maybe Im over concerned,but I really dont want to do any thing that could jeapordize the new growth, and Im someone who will play it way safe for this short period until my new hair comes in.
  • 03-20-2009 11:25 AM
    I cannot say that I completely agree with Dr. Straub. The problem with wearing sunscreen on the scalp and no hat is that you never know if you have enough coverage and adequate levels of block. In addition, our scalps tend to sweat with constant sun on them and the perspiration washes or diminishes the protection. With a hat, you are covered.

    IMHO, spending periods in direct sun post-op beyond 5-7 minutes is taking a risk without wearing a hat. The sunscreen/block is great for other parts of the body, and even then, the consumer is advised to re-apply when in the sun for extended periods.
  • 05-16-2009 10:43 AM
    I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, I was a victim of a sunburn and lost grafts as a result. After my sunburn 4 months post op, I noticed my new grafts start to shed. I thought maybe this was shock loss. I was away on vacation and when I came back home roughly 5 1/2 months post op, I was shocked by how thin my recipient area was, compared to when I left for my trip and when my new hairs were growing out. Things never really improved after that. I wasn't fully made aware of the damage sun could do to my scalp and my grafts. Temperatures in the 100+ degree range with extremely high UV are hair killers. I learned it the hard way and had to make up for it with another procedure, which ate up more of my donor :(
  • 05-16-2009 12:18 PM
    interesting post. what happens for people who live in warm sunny climates and who do not work in an office like me ? for example i am going to have a surgery soon. of course after the surgery i will wear a hat or something. when i go to work i go to my customers of my company, meaning i go with the car but i might spen 30-40 minutes in the sun.

    whould that be a problem ?
  • 05-16-2009 12:39 PM
    Well I would still wear a hat when you go to work. The sun hitting you from the car isn't that bad. But if you're out in the sun for 30-40 minutes (outdoors walking)... especially if you're in Greece as your profile states.. you should cover up in my opinion. It's just not worth irisking the hairs.
  • 05-16-2009 01:25 PM
    cant wear a hat there i have to wear a suit. yes in greece. i guess i will be trying to park the car in the shade lol
  • 05-16-2009 01:50 PM
    Paul Straub, MD
    Sun Exposure
    I agree with gil that the easiest and most effective way to protect against the sun is to wear a hat. I also agree that using sunscreen requires the patient to use repeated applications and some judgment relative to the time of exposure and the strength of the sunblock. Wearing a hat does not require this judgment. However I do not like to prohibit my patients from going into the pool or the ocean throughout a long hot summer. I have recommended heavy application of a strong waterproof sun block to my California surfers and frequent reapplication. I have never known of a growth problem among those who followed my advice.


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