What Can You Do About Hair Transplant Scarring?
Surgical hair transplant techniques have vastly improved since hair plugs were first introduced. Unfortunately, scarring is still a risk with any type of surgery. For some men, living with the scar is worse than living with thinning hair. Those looking for a way to hide a hair transplant scar sometimes turn to a hairline tattoo, but is it really a solution?
Hair Transplant Scarring—the Cause
Today there are two main types of surgical techniques used for hair transplant. Each carries the risk of scarring, and each produces a different type of scar. Whether or not a scar will be noticeable depends on the transplant technique and your surgeon’s skill. But it also depends on the health of your skin and its ability to heal well. It’s possible for your surgeon to do everything right and still leave a scar.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT) are the two techniques.
FUE involves extracting hundreds or even thousands of hair follicles. Each extraction leaves a small scar that looks like a tiny white dot after healing. After extracting, the hairs are grafted into the scalp with small incisions for each individual scar.
FUT requires the removal of a strip of scalp where hair is abundant, usually from the back of the head. After removal, the area is stitched back together. Depending on the size of the hair strip that was removed, the scar can be quite long, even extending from ear to ear.
Can Hair Transplant Scars be Removed?
There are a few options for concealing or removing hair transplant scars. In most cases, success isn’t guaranteed and some scarring will probably still be visible.
Surgery to reduce the scar is possible, but the procedure can also cause more complications. The scalp naturally begins to sag with age, and that can cause a scalp reduction scar to become wider or more visible.
Using the FUE method of hair transplant to hide a FUT scar can be effective. Success depends, in part, on the thickness of the scar. Keep in mind that grafts don’t hold as well on scarred skin as they do on healthy skin.
Your doctor may recommend a topical prescription or over-the-counter medication. Ointments and gels may help lighten and fade some scars. They are easy to use and many brands are affordable—though some are expensive. However, there is no guarantee that medications will actually improve the look of a transplant scar, especially if the scar is severe enough to bother you to begin with.
Laser treatments are another option that may help improve the look of a transplant scar. Special lasers target and remove the damaged skin from the scar’s top layers. This method also helps stimulate collagen production, which can increase skin’s elasticity and overall appearance. However, laser treatment may not be the best choice for people who are prone to developing keloid scars.
Will A Hairline Tattoo Cover My Transplant Scar?
Unlike other treatments that attempt to soften or fade the scar itself, scalp micropigmentation actually hides the scar in plain sight.
The reason transplant scars are so obvious is because scar tissue cannot regrow hair. The only way to hide the scar is to grow hair long enough to conceal it. But there are several problems with this:
- Transplants aren’t always successful enough to ensure there’ll be enough hair to cover the scar.
- Hiding a transplant scar places limitations on the ability to change hairstyles
- The scar is exposed during physical activities or anytime your hair isn’t perfectly groomed.
- The skin on the scalp sags and changes with age and so will the scar.
Scalp micropigmentation addresses all of these problems because it offers a permanent solution.
Pigments inserted during the tattoo process mimic the look of very short hair growing from a hair follicle. A micropigmentation technician can artfully place pigment into and around the transplant scar to blend and conceal the scar with a natural appearance. Even after just one session, the scar will be much less noticeable. During the second appointment, the technician will add the finishing touches that help make the scar become almost invisible.
Using the hairline tattoo method to camouflage a transplant scar lets you regain versatility and confidence. If a scar is making you feel self-conscious, you’re not alone. Scalp Micro USA reports that 30% of their clients make an initial consultation because of transplant scars.
Micropigmentation is the only non-surgical hair transplant scar treatment that offers a permanent and measurable result.