When should you resume sports after a hair transplant?


Hair transplantation demands a significant recovery phase to guarantee successful hair regrowth. While sports offer numerous health advantages, they can also present risks post-hair transplant. This article highlights the necessity of pausing physical activities after undergoing a hair transplant and suggests a safe, progressive approach to resuming them.

Reasons to Avoid Sports After a Hair Transplant

Risk of Graft Displacement

Following a hair transplant, the grafts enter a crucial phase of healing and anchoring in the initial months. Engaging in sports can lead to abrupt movements, risking the dislocation of these grafts before they fully implant.

Higher Likelihood of Sweat-Induced Infections

Intense exercise often leads to excessive sweating, heightening the risk of infections in the treated scalp area. With its mineral salts, sweat irritates the healing scalp and dehydrates the grafts.

Rise in Blood Pressure

Vigorous physical activities elevate blood pressure. This increase stresses the blood vessels that feed the grafts, potentially leading to bleeding, swelling, or even the death of the transplanted tissues.

Gradual Resumption of Sports After a Hair Transplant

Careful planning is crucial for resuming sports post-hair transplant to ensure optimal healing and graft integration. Below is a breakdown of the different recovery phases:

Healing Phase (Days 1 to 5)

Avoid all sports activities. This period is critical for the proper anchoring of the grafts. No matter how mild, any form of physical exertion could jeopardise graft stability or cause bleeding. This restriction extends to sports and also includes abstaining from sexual activity.

Early Consolidation Phase (Days 6 to 20)

Light physical activities are permissible: consider short, gentle walks lasting 5 to 10 minutes, once or twice daily. Such light exercise enhances blood circulation without causing excessive sweating, which might aggravate the transplanted area. Gentle yoga, light stretching, and relaxation methods are also beneficial, provided they do not strain the grafted area.

Advanced Consolidation Phase (3 Weeks to 2 Months)

From the third week, incorporate low-intensity exercises like using an elliptical machine, limiting sessions to 10-20 minutes.

After one month, swimming is allowed, but wear a swim cap to protect the grafts.

Muscle Strengthening: Starting at six weeks, gradually integrate bodyweight exercises for strength building.

Return to Normal Activity Phase (> 2 Months)

From two months onward, you can begin lightweight training, being cautious of exercises that exert excessive strain on the trapezius muscles.

Three months post-operation, you can start cautiously reintroducing more vigorous activities like running paying attention to any reactions in the transplanted area.

After four months, engaging in contact sports is permissible, but ensure adequate head protection to reduce the risk of damaging the grafts.

Which sports should be absolutely avoided after a hair transplant?

Contact Sports, Extreme Sports, and Board Sports

Activities such as rugby, boxing, hockey, or board sports like skiing, snowboarding, and surfing, which include direct physical contact or intense vibrations, are discouraged after a hair transplant. Even minor bumps to the scalp can disrupt or harm the newly placed grafts that are still healing.

A waiting period of at least 4 to 6 months is suggested before you consider slowly easing back into these sports.

Intense Weight Training

After undergoing a hair transplant, avoiding vigorous weight training sessions focusing on heavy lifting, such as weightlifting or CrossFit, is best. The elevated blood pressure during these exercises may lead to bruising and bleeding of the newly implanted grafts.

Scuba Diving

Due to the substantial changes in pressure, activities like scuba diving or free diving can negatively impact recovery post-hair transplant. It’s crucial to wait at least 6 months before resuming these activities to prevent potential harm to the grafts caused by pressure fluctuations.

Tips for Guarding Grafts While Engaging in Sports

As you slowly reintegrate exercise into your routine following a hair transplant, safeguarding your grafts is key. Consider these guidelines:

  • Adorn a sufficiently broad headband: This can be a protective barrier for your grafts.
  • Hydrate and keep your scalp moisturized: Maintaining adequate hydration is beneficial both internally and for the scalp’s surface.
  • Limit sun exposure: The grafts are vulnerable to the damaging effects of UV rays, so it’s advisable to keep them shielded.
  • Refrain from scratching your scalp: Avoid the urge to scratch, which can compromise the integrity of the grafts.

Sources universitaires :

Wang E, Qiang X, Li J, Zhu S, Wang P. The in Vitro Immune-Modulating Properties of a Sweat Gland-Derived Antimicrobial Peptide Dermcidin. Shock. 2016 Jan;45(1):28-32. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000000488. PMID: 26529659; PMCID: PMC4684748.

Garg AK, Garg S. Complications of Hair Transplant Procedures-Causes and Management. Indian J Plast Surg. 2021 Dec 31;54(4):477-482. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1739255. PMID: 34984088; PMCID: PMC8719980.

Dua A, Dua K. Follicular unit extraction hair transplant. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2010 May;3(2):76-81. doi: 10.4103/0974-2077.69015. PMID: 21031064; PMCID: PMC2956961.

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