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Recovering from Facial Hair Transplants

Recovering from Facial Hair Transplants
May 05,2022

With technological advancements in hair transplant processes, more men are seeking options to improve facial hair growth. For example, beard transplant has become more common for men with difficulty growing a beard to fill patchy spots or those that want a permanent facial hair pattern.

A Beard transplant is also suitable for men struggling with facial hair growth to cover burns and scars. If you want to undergo a beard hair transplant, understanding what to expect after the procedure can help calm your nerves.

The recovery period for beard hair transplant is short and involves little or no discomfort. Most men who undergo beard hair transplants can resume their regular activities within a few days. Here is all you need to know about the recovery process after a beard transplant.

An outpatient procedure

An upside of a beard hair transplant is that it is an outpatient procedure, meaning you don't have to be in the medical facility overnight, and someone can drive you home afterwards. Generally, outpatient procedures are less invasive and have fewer risks than inpatient procedures.

Beard hair transplants are safe, especially when done by an experienced hair transplant surgeon, and you don't need to be under observation for long after the procedure.

How does the beard hair transplant technique affect recovery?

The technique used by a hair transplant surgeon for your beard transplant can affect the recovery process. The two main techniques for hair transplants include follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation/follicular unit grafting (FUT/FUG).

These techniques describe the method for harvesting the hair follicles from the donor area, usually the back of the scalp. After the hair follicles extraction, the next steps are the same. After the surgeon removes hair follicles from the scalp, they create small incisions in the recipient area.

An experienced surgeon will ensure the placement of the hair follicles in the correct angles for a natural-looking result. After the hair follicles settle in the new area, they will fill the spaces in the beard.

FUE hair transplant

FUE hair transplant is the most common technique for beard and head transplants. This procedure is less invasive than the traditional FUT method. It involves removing small groups of individual hair follicles using a small punch tool.

The FUE method ensures minimal scarring, and the extraction process results in several tiny, circular scars that even short hairstyles can cover. The recovery process is less discomforting and short.

Most patients can resume their regular activities shortly after their hair transplant. Since the incisions are small, they heal quickly without significant discomfort.

FUT (strip) hair transplant

FUT procedure is the more traditional hair transplant option but has become less common in the past few years. In an FUT hair transplant, the surgeon will remove a strip of skin with hair from the back of the head.

The strip will contain a large number of hair follicles which the surgeon will separate and implant on the beard area.

The major downside of the FUT hair transplant is the large scars it leaves on the back of the head. Men who undergo FUT transplants have a long, thin scar that needs long hairstyles to cover it. Although FUT has its downsides, it is a more suitable method for men who need a full beard and needs a higher number of grafts. It is the best method for high-volume transplants.

The recovery process for FUT takes longer. You will have sutures during the procedure, which the doctor will remove after ten days, except they use dissolving stitches. Physical activities in the first couple of weeks will be restricted.

Recovery from anaesthesia

In many cases, hair transplants do not need general anaesthesia, including beard hair transplants. The surgeon will administer local anaesthesia to the donor and recipient area to prevent pain. They may also administer a sedative for calmness and comfort during the procedure.

General anaesthesia for a hair transplant has some risks and is unnecessary. If administered, the patient will be asleep and need breathing tubes during the procedure. This may cause drowsiness afterwards and a longer recovery time.

Even for nervous patients, sedation and local anaesthesia are safer and make the recovery process easier. Your surgeon will explain the procedure to help ease your mind.

Although local anaesthesia is safer than general anaesthesia, driving home after the procedure is not advisable. Ensure you arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home after the hair transplant surgery.

Caring for the recipient and donor area

After your hair transplant surgery, the scalp and face need special care. The first care advice is to avoid touching the area within the first few days, even if dried blood is present, the area itches, or you notice crusting.

Scratching the recipient area can cause damage to the transplanted hair, so avoid touching or contact with water for the first five days. After this period, you can gently clean the area with water and soap. Consult your surgeon if the area is itchy and you have a strong urge to touch the area.

Day-by-day recovery from beard transplant

Everyone has a different experience during recovery from a beard transplant, but most people's recovery follows the standard timeline. Below is a rough timeline for what to expect during the recovery period.

  • Phase 1 – immediately after beard transplant

You may feel dizzy from the sedative, so do not drive home after the procedure. Your doctor will apply antibiotic ointment on the donor area to aid healing and prevent infection. Ensure you avoid touching your face or getting it wet at this point.

Resting after the procedure is important to give your body time to recover. Taking your medications will also help with the discomfort or pain.

  • Phase 2 – the first few days post-surgery

You will start feeling better, but the beard area may still feel itchy. Little crusts will form around the transplanted hair, indicating that you are healing. Preventing water from touching your face is also important. Ensure you avoid bending, lifting, or any activity that might make you sweat.

  • Phase 3 – the first two weeks

After the fifth day, you can wash your face with water and soap. Ensure you are gentle while washing your face and use lukewarm water. After washing your face, pat your skin dry, but don't rub the graft.

The crusting will be gone by day seven, and you can shave by day ten. If you had an FUT procedure and have a linear scar, the doctor will remove your stitches.

  • Phase 4 – waiting for results

After two weeks, the transplanted hair will start falling out, which is normal. The follicles will be in shock during this period and remain dormant for a while. You'll have to wait for the transplanted hair follicles to grow hair again.

Growing hair after beard transplant

Most men who undergo beard transplants have part or all of the head shaved before extracting the grafts. Depending on how long you wear your hair, you may need a lot of patience, but shaving your hair before the procedure makes the process easier and faster.

What to expect with new beard growth

Some men do not know their transplanted hair will fall out first and take a while to grow back. When the hair starts growing, the growth will be permanent. Most people notice new beard growth after a few months.

In the sixth month, the beard will actively grow, and by one year, you should see the full result. As the beard begins to grow, you can style it anyway. The result will look natural even if the transplanted hair is from your scalp with a slightly different hair texture and colour. After the long growth phase, the result of your transplant will look nice and should meet your expectation.

Tips for recovery

Having a smooth recovery is necessary for a successful beard transplant. When grafts fail, you can have a poor result with loss of hair follicles. Taking certain steps to prepare for your recovery and ensuring you heal properly will increase the chances of the grafts surviving.

To avoid compromising the result of your beard transplant, ensure you take the recovery process seriously. The following tips will minimise the risk of complications and maximise your result.

  • Take a few days off work

A beard transplant is minimally invasive, particularly the FUE hair transplant. This makes many patients feel they don't need some time off work after the procedure, especially people that work from home.

Although the procedure doesn't need you to take weeks off work to recover, you have to give yourself time to rest and recover. Reducing your stress level in the first few days following a beard transplant will enhance healing. 

If possible, take one week off to rest or the time recommended by your surgeon. Generally, small incisions from FUE can heal within five days. You can afford to take only a few days off work if you have a desk job, but it's best to give yourself extra time to recover and heal.

If you undergo an FUT hair transplant, you will need one or two weeks off work. The surgeon will remove your stitches by day ten.

  • Prepare for recovery

You can plan for your procedure and recovery to maximise the period. An example is setting up a comfortable chair at home to relax during your recovery. If you have children or pets, you can arrange for someone to take care of them for a few days to reduce your stress.

Ensure you carry out important errands before your surgery. This prevents running errands immediately after your beard transplant.

  • Avoid touching your beard

Graft failure may occur if you touch your face. Not touching your face in the first few days of recovery is important, except advised otherwise by your surgeon. During this period, your grafts will be sensitive, and touching the area may introduce bacteria to the area, increasing the risk of infection.

  • Give your body enough fuel

Ensure you have enough healthy food during your recovery period. If you are tempted to have junk and takeout food, resist the urge because these food options will not help your recovery.

Opt for vegetables, healthy fats, and fruits instead of high-sodium and high-fat foods. Preparing your meals in advance may be a good idea. The procedure usually takes a long time, and you may not feel like doing much when you get home after the transplant.

  • Stay hydrated

Like eating healthy meals, you need to hydrate your body during recovery. Take at least eight glasses of water daily. Drinking enough water helps your body heal faster and aids in quicker recovery. Avoid sugary drinks because they won't make you feel better.

  • Avoid unhealthy behaviours

If you smoke, your hair transplant surgeon will likely ask you to quit for some weeks before the procedure. During recovery, you still have to avoid smoking for several weeks until you heal fully. Different chemicals in a cigarette, including nicotine, can negatively affect healing, increasing the risk of complications.

Risking the chances of a successful beard transplant for a cigarette is a bad idea. Avoiding alcohol for at least two weeks post-surgery is also advisable. Alcohol increases the risk of bleeding and acts as a blood thinner. Staying away from unhealthy habits will improve your recovery and make your treatment worth the time and money.

  • Avoid sweating

Engaging in strenuous activities after your beard transplant isn't advisable. Exercise increases blood pressure and heart rate, leading to excessive swelling, bleeding, and other complications. You may not have to worry about large incisions except you had FUT surgery, but you are still at risk of issues such as folliculitis.

Most people recover quickly but ask your doctor when it is safe to engage in strenuous physical activities. Light activities like walking will suffice during your recovery. In most cases, you can resume exercise after two weeks, but patients who undergo FUT may have to wait a longer period.

  • Take the prescribed medications

A Beard transplant doesn't always need a large incision, and minimal discomfort may only be for a few days. The discomfort may include itching and pain, but it doesn't usually require prescription pain medication.

If the doctor prescribes pain medication, take it as directed, but if they recommend OTC pain medication, ensure you ask for instructions for when to take them and the required amount. Reducing pain is the goal, but the soreness will only last a few days after the FUE procedure.

  • Wear comfortable clothes, but avoid pullovers

The areas with the new grafts will be sensitive in the first week post-beard transplant. During the transplant, the surgeon will implant each hair follicle for a natural result, but the hair follicles will take a while to settle into the inserted spot.

You have to protect the new grafts, so certain clothes will remain in your wardrobe during the healing process. During recovery, you have to wear comfortable clothes, but pullover shirts can displace the grafts while you put on the cloth.

Sweaters, sweatshirts, and T-shirts may be comfortable but can affect your result. Opt for zip-up or button-up shirts during the healing period.

  • Keep your face dry and avoid steamy things

Ensure you avoid wetting your face in the first five days after a beard transplant. You will notice small crusts surrounding the transplanted follicles during this period, but avoid washing them off.

After the fifth day, you can wash your face gently using water and soap. In the initial recovery period, avoid saunas, hot tubs, or anything that produces steam or causes you to sweat. Avoid swimming until your doctor approves it.

  • Sleep on your back

You may need to change your sleeping position to sleeping on your back after the beard transplant. Sleeping on your sides or facing the bed will put pressure on the graft. To avoid turning while sleeping is to sleep on a recliner.

Sleeping with your head elevated can help reduce facial swelling and prevent disturbance on the transplanted hair grafts.

  • Have a realistic expectation

You won't have a full beard after a few days, and although you can shave by day 10, you may not have much to shave. Your new hair follicles will go into shock and remain dormant for a while.

Patience during the recovery process is important. The full result may be visible after a year. Your hair transplant surgeon can help set expectations during your consultation.

  • Report complications immediately

Complications rarely occur while recovering from a beard transplant, but you should wait to consult your doctor if you notice troubling signs. Asking several questions about your symptoms is better than waiting until the symptoms compromise your result and health.

  • Attend follow-up appointments

Feeling healthy or noticing good results shouldn't prevent you from attending your follow-up appointments. During your visits, the surgeon will determine your progress, and you can ask questions regarding your healing.

  • Ask questions

If you do not understand the aftercare instructions, ask questions. Ask questions to know whether your discomfort is normal or a sign of an issue. Asking questions for clarification is always better than making assumptions.

Your hair transplant surgeon is in the best position to clarify your doubts and has gone through years of training, so you shouldn't feel embarrassed to ask questions. 

  • Follow all instructions from your surgeon

A smooth recovery will be impossible if you do not follow your surgeon's instructions. Ensure you follow all pre and post-surgery instructions for your beard transplant, including those that seem insignificant. Adhering to the instructions will improve the success of your surgery.

Choosing the right surgeon for a beard transplant

Choosing the right beard transplant surgeon can prevent complications and enhance comfort during recovery. This procedure is relatively new and requires ample experience, skill, and finesse.

An important aspect of finding the right surgeon for a beard transplant is finding a qualified surgeon with experience. Although many hair transplant surgeons are available, only a few have experience creating natural-looking beards.

A doctor who makes you feel comfortable and at ease is also important. Before and after your beard transplant, you should feel comfortable asking questions and get personalised instructions during the consultation for a good result.

You can start by checking for experienced beard transplant surgeons and request before-and-after photos of their patients. You should also check for reviews from patients. You may spend a while searching for the right beard transplant surgeon, but it will be worth your time.

Undergoing hair transplant surgery from an experienced beard transplant surgeon will reduce risks and provide a natural-looking result.

You can visit Turkey Hair Transplant for a consultation with an experienced beard transplant surgeon. We are available on 020 7371 9175 to schedule a beard transplant.


Frequently asked questions on beard transplant recovery

How long does it take to recover from a beard transplant?

Many people can resume work a couple of days after an FUE hair transplant, except the job is strenuous. Healing takes about 10 – 14 days. However, recovery varies between persons.

When can I shave after a beard transplant?

You can shave after day ten, but you may need to wait longer to shave if you have a little facial hair. New hair growth takes several months.

Will I need more than a beard transplant session?

Most people can have their desired hair restoration in one session lasting 2 – 8 hours, depending on the number of grafts needed. Generally, people who want to cover a small scar or fill patchy areas will need fewer hair grafts than someone who needs a full beard.

Patients that need more grafts may need a second session, but this is rare. This makes being upfront about your expectations with the surgeon important. It helps determine if the result you want is realistic with your available donor hair.

In some cases, patients request a second procedure to have a fuller or new facial hair pattern. You can consult your surgeon to determine the number of grafts required to achieve your goals.

What is the difference in recovery depending on the number of transplanted grafts?

If you undergo the FUE hair transplant, recovery will likely be the same regardless of how many transplanted grafts. The transplant will need small incisions, which don't cause a significant change in recovery.

If you need more grafts and use the FUT procedure, recovery may be different because the FUT procedure requires long incisions and more intensive recovery. Most people heal within 1 – 2 weeks instead of a few days needed for FUE transplant recovery.

When can I start exercising after a beard transplant?

Recovery from beard transplant varies for patients, but many people resume exercising after two weeks. While you can engage in light activities to aid healing, running or lifting weights can affect your recovery. Your surgeon will inform you when exercising is safe.

Exercising after FUT may take a longer period. Ensure you consult your surgeon before going to the gym or engaging in strenuous activity.

Will I experience intense pain after the procedure, and how long will the pain in the donor site last after the beard transplant?

FUE hair transplant involves making tiny incisions less than 1mm. These incisions are barely noticeable, and you may experience minor discomfort or soreness after the procedure. The soreness will subside within a week.

On the other hand, FUT is more painful because the incision on the donor area is larger. FUT recovery requires more pain management, but your surgeon will recommend options to minimise the pain, such as pain medications or home remedies.

What is the recovery duration for the donor area following a beard transplant?

The donor area for FUE hair transplant takes about five days, but for FUT, the surgeon will remove the stitches after ten days, and healing takes up to a few weeks.

Can I take supplements after the beard transplant?

Your surgeon may advise taking certain supplements for some weeks before and after the beard transplant. Some natural supplements and medications can cause different issues, including excess bleeding.

After a beard transplant, you may have to avoid supplements containing vitamin E until healing is complete. Ensure you inform your surgeon of the supplements you take during the consultation.

Your hair transplant surgeon may give you a list of things to avoid and discuss available alternatives to the supplements or medications.

How do I treat redness after my beard transplant?

Redness after a beard transplant is a common side effect and will subside within a few days.

Do I need someone to be with me after a beard transplant?

Most doctors recommend having someone be with you after any surgery if you need help. A beard transplant can take several hours, and you will likely be tired afterwards, so having someone to drive you home is a good idea.

You can decide to have someone to stay with you after the procedure or not. However, it's best for someone to help you with some chores in the first few days.

How do I know normal symptoms after an FUE beard transplant?

Healing following a beard transplant is different for everyone but being able to identify the common signs of an infection and complications is necessary. Your surgeon can provide you with photos of the recovery process to help you know the daily recovery process.

For example, you can see photos of what to expect after week one and different weeks to prepare for your healing process.

What should I eat after my beard transplant?

Your diet after a beard transplant is vital for successful recovery. Eating foods rich in nutrients will enhance your recovery. Fruits, vegetables, protein, and healthy fat should constitute your diet. Avoid sugar and salt.

Comfort food may not be a good choice. Instead, opt for healthy foods during your recovery.

How soon will I notice hair growth after a beard transplant?

Your hair should start growing at the transplanted site within 2 – 3 months.