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Hair fall is considered a normal function of the body, unless you’re shedding more than 50-100 hair strands a day. However, if you’ve undergone a hair transplant procedure, it is important to clearly distinguish between normal shedding and the post-operative shedding of transplanted hair grafts. The causes of hair loss vary depending on a number of factors, including genetics (this is often what causes baldness or alopecia), illness (such as thyroid disease), and medications people may be taking.
To calm your worries around hair fall after a hair transplant procedure, HealthShots spoke to Dr Pradeep Sethi, Hair expert and hair restoration surgeon.
“Factors such as stress, exposure to chemicals or UV rays, smoking, and consuming alcohol can also play a role in triggering or exacerbating the loss of hair.” says Sethi, who is also the co-founder at Eugenix Hair Sciences.
This condition is analogous to what is experienced in men, and is also the most common cause of hair loss in women. It also results from hair miniaturization. However, men tend to experience hair loss in the frontal hairline and vertex. But, women usually retain their frontal hairline and instead have a loss of density in the frontal one to two-thirds of the scalp.
This is the most common form of hair loss in men. With male-pattern baldness, a hormone called DHT causes hair follicles to shrink. Eventually, they get so small that no hair can grow in them. It is characterized by miniaturization of scalp hairs, where thick terminal hairs are replaced by finer, thinner versions of themselves.
Hair goes through a cycle of growth and shedding made up of the anagen, catagen, and telogen stages. This cycle is completely random, and a varying number of hair can be in any one of these phases at any given time.
The anagen phase is otherwise known as the active phase of hair and lasts for about 2-6 years. During this phase, hair grows about 1cm every 28 days. The catagen phase is referred to as the ‘transitional phase’, and lasts for 2-3 weeks.
At any given time, about 3 percent of all hair is in this phase. The telogen phase, otherwise known as the ‘resting’ phase, is where most shedding occurs. About 6-8 percent of all hair can be in the telogen phase, and can last for about 100 days. During this time, as much as 50-100 hair strands are shed.
A hair transplant procedure is the movement and individual placement of genetically resistant hair from the donor area (located at the back of the head) to the areas where the scalp is losing hair. Tiny openings are created—otherwise referred to as ‘stab incisions’—wherein the individual grafts are placed. The procedure is stressful for the scalp and the surrounding hair, which leads to temporary shedding of grafts and existing hair. This occurrence is called ‘effluvium’, and is sometimes referred to as shock loss.
Shedding of hair grafts after a hair transplant can be noticed anywhere between 1-5 weeks after the hair transplant procedure and is expected. However, a few months after the procedure; they eventually grow again. Shock loss is a normal part of the hair restoration process and is not indicative of any permanent damage to the hair. Though it is unavoidable, it is also temporary. New hair will take time to mature and will grow at different rates.
Medications such as minoxidil or finasteride can reduce post-operative hair fall, but it is always advisable to consult a doctor. A qualified doctor will be able to recommend among the two, based on your case.
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